For the last four months, the library/media center at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia has been lending out ten Kindle e-readers to its students. Librarian Buffy Hamilton has posted a summary of the results to the library’s blog, The Unquiet Library.
With the exception of one student (who does not consider herself a reader), every student who has tried the devices has been very happy about the program. Students enjoyed the ability to customize the font size and page view of the Kindle, and the way the library would purchase books they wanted to read. They have been very good about returning the devices within their one-week checkout period, and as the library adds more devices it plans to extend the period to two weeks.
Cataloging the books has presented a problem, as the way their on-line card catalog and checkout system is set up means they cannot list the Kindle e-books in it. They purchase the devices and e-books through a corporate account, and have been using AMEX gift cards to buy the books themselves (but are looking at switching to using Amazon gift cards from their local CVS Pharmacy instead).
One thing that’s a little puzzling is that Hamilton seems to be under the impression that she can’t legally purchase e-books from other places than Amazon to load onto the Kindle. Of course if she assumes the only places to buy e-books are Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other DRM-restricted stores, that’s correct, but Baen sells its e-books DRM-free and includes instructions on how to load them onto Kindles. Likewise, there are plenty of free public-domain e-book resources such as Project Gutenberg that make e-books available in a variety of DRM-free formats. I’d have thought an e-book-using librarian would have been better informed.