500 E-Books and Counting!

Amanda Navarro, Staff Writer

Did anyone receive a new Kindle, Nook, or other e-reader over the break? Or have you been stalking the Kindle daily deals to get a book for the tempting price of $1.99? Looking for any free books to add to your shelf?

You are in luck because Mrs. Mandel, the school’s librarian, has recently devoted her time to adding 500 electronic books to the school’s library. She is enthusiastic about her three-week project, and recounts the many advantages to her new venture. “A great aspect of the e-books is you can read the books simultaneously. Also, you can read the electronic books on an e-reader, iPad, a phone, or any device that can connect to the web. There is everything from Chinese poems, books in German, French, Spanish, and Latin to Swedish fairy tales and audio books, ” Ms. Mandel states.

If interested, go to the ODA website. Find the Academics tab. Under Academics, find Library, and click on the Upper School Library Catalog. You can type a keyword or the title of a book in the search bar. You can also specify the type of book you want, including an e-book under the search bar. Once you click on your desired book, scroll down the page and click on the ebook link, and you can then download your chosen book to any device. You can pick the specific format, however HTML formal is recommended since it is just the text. If the formatting is confusing, ask Mrs. Mandel for help.

Mrs. Mandel states some of these recently added e-books come from a website called Project Gutenberg, a public website that has over 40,000 free e-books. “People just don’t know about it. But it is a great service that it is public and available to anyone. There are recipe, sports, and language books.”

Mrs. Mandel says that 25%-45% of reference books are currently available as e-books. For instance, the Encyclopedia of World Biography is now accessible via the library catalog. “This is a great resource since a lot of people use it. Another great aspect of is you can save a portion of a book as a PDF and print it, which I know most students enjoy. You can make yourself a citation as well,” Mrs. Mandel says.

Alternately, you can download the book to an mp3 player or any other device and listen to it if you prefer audio. If the book has the megaphone icon on the page, you can download the full text of the audio. “Shakespeare is meant to be acted and heard in a play, so this could really help students that are reading the text while listening to the audio,” states Mrs. Mandel.

Despite all the uses and advantages of obtaining one of these online books, Mrs. Mandel still strives to provide print books for classics and especially for fiction. “My goal is to try and make reference electronically, but as far as classics I would like to have one in print one as an e-book. I want to try to maintain the fiction books in print for the next three to five years for young readers.”

However, Mrs. Mandel is eager about obtaining e-books to bring to the ODA community. “It really bumps up our offerings and takes up a lot less room,” she says. Despite the frenzy to go 100% electronic, Ms. Mandel states “people still need to learn how to use an index. However, I do believe it is equally important to expose people to different formats, while being aware of books and knowing how to value them. There are some books that still have value but will never get into electronic format. I love having electronic books, but I love having print books too.”

So whether you are pro-print or pro-electronic or otherwise, the e-books Ms. Mandel has to offer can be advantageous to every student and are worth checking out. Enjoy loading up your e-reader!