Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Books, books, and more books! (Thing #12)

All of these apps would be awesome...IF my problem was not enough books, rather than too many books!

As it is, I can see some awesome uses for these apps in libraries.

First of all, I downloaded and signed up for this app, expecting it to be all no-name authors, similar to the dozens of self-published books our patrons write and donate to us every year.  I didn't expect to recognize a single name.  Most of it is that, of course.  But I was shocked.  There are also reputable and well known authors who are using Wattpad as a place to launch and explore new storylines or short stories, share teasers to upcoming books, or just to communicate with their readers.  Margaret Atwood, Ally Carter, Amanda Hocking, Kim Harrison, Marissa Meyer.  Just a few I stumbled across in the first couple minutes of browsing!

As a reader, I don't see the social media aspect as very functional or useful.

More importantly, is what I DO see this app useful for: NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month). And Wattpad agrees:  Wattpad Loves NaNoWriMo. Many libraries are active in NaNoWriMo in supporting local authors.  They host write-ins, open mics, roundtables, receptions, workshops, and more.  Recommending Wattpad as a resource for NaNoWriMo authors to share their work with each other is a great idea!  Fellow writers can edit and critique their work by commenting in-line throughout the story.

We all attended the awesome session at MLA 2013 by Kathy Kleckner about Screen Time and Early Literacy Development, right? No?  Well the session talked about how parents who believe media is educational are more likely to use it.  And children don't as well from a screen.  American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for those 0-2.  They also recommend no more than 1-2 hours per day for ages 3-5 (which sounds like a LOT to me).  Media has no proven added value for children and early literacy.  Bottom line, don't replace "real world experience" with technology for children.  And the "real world experience" of handling a book is a key component of early literacy.

58% of parents say they use their device as a babysitter.  That said, if they are using their device as a babysitter, this isn't the worst app they could use, especially for children a little older, preschool or early elementary aged.  The stories are educational stories including stories about science, biographies, folklore and fairy tales, with printed text and audio narration.

I would be careful about recommending this app.  In a pinch, if you don't have a book handy and mom is busy talking to say a doctor or checking out in the grocery line, it will do (for those older than 2!). Still, it doesn't replace the early literacy practices that our beloved AV sets/Book & Bag kits offer.

Free Books & Audiobooks
Both apps are especially awesome for libraries that don't have a digital collection of their own.  Libraries with OverDrive powered digital libraries already have easy access to the "classic" eBooks via Project Gutenberg.  Libraries with OneClickdigital powered digital libraries already have a subscription to the most popular eAudiobook "classic" titles.   Both are max access in the same way the apps are.  Plus, that way they give us those crucial stats we need and love!  I can especially see school and academic libraries using these apps for classes, or even public libraries with Classics book clubs.

My favorite feature of Free Books is the "Surprise Me" option!  Because sometimes, who doesn't need a little serendipity?

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