By Colleen Sparks
Sunnyslope High School students recently dove into a digital library when an unusual bus filled with interactive tools came to their campus.
Digital Bookmobile, a nationally touring interactive experience, came to the campus to help students explore ebooks and audio books they can access through the school library and city of Phoenix public libraries. The 53-foot-long traveling bus offers devices, internet connectivity and expert help to local libraries’ digital collections of ebooks and audio books. It offers interactive workstations with video tutorials, touchscreen activities, devices and other tools to help students learn how to access materials and read them on laptops, mobile phones and other devices.
More than 90-percent of public libraries in the United States and Canada use these products produced by OverDrive, a retailer of ebooks and audio books, said Joe Skelley, marketing and events specialist with OverDrive.
The digital collection of all nine of Glendale Union High School District’s libraries are accessible through OverDrive, said Patty Jimenez, media center director at Sunnyslope High School. Faculty and staff members at the nine high schools also may read ebooks and listen to audio books via OverDrive, she said. It has created a more dynamic library for the school and allows Sunnyslope to provide the newest books to students to read faster than a regular hardcover collection would allow, Jimenez said. The digital library helps students become comfortable with reading digital material and “interacting with digital text,” which they will need to do in college and careers, she said.
OverDrive offers great tools including one that helps those who have dyslexia read materials and one that lets readers obtain a definition of words in the text that they may export to their Google drive, print and share with teachers. About 700 students at Sunnyslope, in English classes, visited the Digital Bookmobile.
“It’s a little unusual for school districts to have a digital library and so it’s great we can offer that to our students,” Jimenez said.
Because of the Coronavirus, the Digital Bookmobile paused its recent tour, cancelling events planned from March 12 to April 18. It hoped to visit Florida on April 20. To learn more about the Digital Bookmobile, visit digitalbookmobile.com.