Explore eBooks MN Summit: A CMLE Scholarship

ebook-mn5The following post was submitted by CMLE scholarship recipient Maria Burnham, Sauk Rapids Rice High School Library Media Specialist.

Explore eBooks MN Summit

In August, I attended the Explore eBooks MN Summit at the College of St. Catherine.  I attended as a hopeful high school media specialist, hoping to learn more about a possible statewide plan for eBook purchasing.

The day started with a talk from Deb Hoadley, the woman who coordinated the statewide eBook project for Massachusetts.  She spoke about the process of the project, the current pitfalls, and the future of the project.  I was impressed with the thoughtfulness of each step along the way as well as the implementation process.

After hearing from Deb, we moved in to small mixed groups and discussed eBooks in Minnesota.  I was in a group that included: academic librarians, public librarians, the director of Minitex, as well as library technical services professionals.  We each had a chance to talk about library needs and the possible hurdles in a statewide eBook project.  At this point in the day, I was still hopeful.

However, after lunch, we shared our small group discussions in a large group setting, and the doubt from the group started to seep in.  Originally I had thought that one person (the MN version of Deb Hoadley) would be named or nominated as our statewide eBook project manager, and the crowd would wildly applaud this person’s upcoming task.

The day did NOT end that way.

There is no movement on a statewide eBook project in Minnesota, and I, for one, am disappointed.  However, not all was lost that day.  Good conversation was had across library types.  But I still have many questions regarding eBooks.

I am in a 1:1 laptop school.  Why would I buy eBooks for my students when they can access materials via the public library?  Why not, in a sense, pool our resources?  If I do decide to purchase, which platform do I choose? How do I manage these materials?  And then how do I show my students how to access these materials?

My list of questions goes on and on.  I still have not jumped on to the eBook wagon.  It just seems so disorganized and confusing—platforms, vendors, management rights, contracts, etc.  Ugh.

At some point I’ll have to make the leap. But I was hoping to leap with guidance from the state.  I’m still hoping but not holding my breath.


Did you miss the Explore ebooks MN series of webinars? Not able to make it to the Explore ebooks MN Summit? Not to worry, all content from the webinars and summit are available at the Explore ebooks MN website.