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Montana School Libraries Adjusting to the Times

As reported on KAJ-18.com Kalispell, MT News:

BONNER – Before the Internet, the library was the place to go to “google” information. While that’s changed, it doesn’t mean the school library is becoming obsolete.

You might think that with iPads, Kindles and other e-readers that school libraries may get smaller – or lose their usefulness – but as we found out, it’s likely to be the opposite.

Some people may remember libraries when they had card catalogs – not computers – and when the Dewey Decimal System was your guide on the bookshelves.

“When I was growing up I feel like it was more about…I just went it and we read books,” Bonner School Librarian Katie Dvarshkis recalled.

But technology has changed that landscape drastically. Fifth grade students like Katie Kohler, who grew up using computers, may not exactly realize this.

Kohler and students at Bonner School can pretty much find a book on their own, using an online search. But how much longer will they still be checking-out books? Some books, you don’t have to check out so much as find online – and that includes various textbooks.

“And there’s almost any kind of math problem in here,” said Kohler.

As more students gain access to devices like laptops, tablets, and mobile device the library has helped to facilitate electronic materials. But changes don’t happen overnight.

Dvarshkis tells us she’s constantly working to keep up. “We’re trying to push for more of an e-library so the kids can check out even when they’re not in school.

“Sometimes research wasn’t as much fun on the computer, cause it was always kind of a pain to find everything, and then if you went into a book, it was all right there,” said Kohler.

Surprisingly there are some downsides to going electronic as well. But Dvarshkis thinks the role of school library will only continue to expand with technology.

The other thing about using mobile devices at Bonner is that the school has had to step up its efforts to prevent computer viruses. Currently only supplied laptops and equipment are approved for use.

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