By CARA LORELLO
A new technology feature has just been introduced at Eastern Washington University's JFK Library and, ironically, it involves reading, but not books—technically speaking.
It just so happens the library is “testing the waters” with a new mini-project of preloaded young adult and children's
audiobooks on iPod Shuffles, now available for seven-day checkouts at the library's lower-level media service desk.
The iPod Shuffle program, library media specialist Nadean Meyer said, is a fairly new concept that's being tried on for
size at other libraries and education institutions as a new learning model of children's literature.
“We're really targeting students and people studying children's literature with this project.
What's great about (the iPod Shuffle) is it's a tool that provides them a real model for reading aloud, which is something they're likely going to be doing in their profession later on,” Meyer said.
Currently, there are 26 uploaded book titles on iPod software, and four more are expected to come in soon.
Most people typically associate music with iPods, Meyer said, and due to the fact that the majority of audio books are adult literature, it took a month for the library to locate enough children and teen books that were available on audio CD.
“Basically anything on audio that you can convert to an MP3
file, you can also upload to an iPod, which most people, of course, use for music. So this is a fairly new idea we're doing,” Meyer said.
Among the list of uploaded titles include contemporary children and teen classics such as “Maniac Magee,” “Julie of the Wolves,” “The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses,”
“The People Who Could Fly,” and the Newbery Award-winning “Bud, Not Buddy.”
A complete list of titles can be found on the library website at http://ewu.edu/library, under the EWU library catalog heading, keyword “ipod.”
Apart from providing a unique service to students studying in the education and social fields, Meyer said, in selecting titles
the library looked to find subjects with multicultural content and themes to expand readers' literary repertoire in subject matter they may already be familiar with.
“You'll see we have a great bunch of literature in the Hispanic, Asian, African and Native American groups.
It's those three groups—child, young adult and multicultural categories -- that we really went after in our selection,” Meyer said.
“And it isn't just students who can enjoy it; people may want to check them out for their own kids to listen to.”
Anyone with an active EWU student card, or community member card can check out Shuffles for up to one week, with no renewals.
Both the library and EWU Foundation's mini-grant program are funding the iPod Shuffle project, which is scheduled for an
evaluation at the end of April, after which the project may or may not become eligible to receive another mini grant for
Individuals who check out iPod Shuffles are encouraged to provide feedback on the service by filling out a question survey, available at the library media service desk.
iPod Shuffle titles may be checked out or viewed online at the JFK EWU Libraries A-Z Database homepage at http://ewu.edu/library.
Shuffles can also be checked out in person in the lower level of the library at the media service desk.
Cara Lorello can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org