Kindles in the Library

We have 15 Kindles (Wi-Fi) for students and faculty (5 are not yet cataloged).  Since we serve both the Middle and Upper School, we have Kindles designated for MS students and Kindles designated for US students.  This way we don’t have to worry about a MS student getting a Kindle with “inappropriate” books.  The Wi-Fi Kindles work for us.  We don’t see the need here for the ones with the 3G+Wi-Fi.  At least not yet.

Selection Policies

Right now we don’t have any selection policies in place for what we purchase for the Kindles.  We purchase popular MS titles, because it makes fiscal sense.  One can put multiple copies of a Kindle edition on multiple devices for one price.

The Kindles don’t seem to be as popular with US students.  I think this is because they don’t have as much time for leisurely reading and because we haven’t really promoted them with the US yet.  The Kindles are very popular with faculty, so we add a lot of faculty requests to the Kindles.

Cataloging Kindles and Kindle Editions

I have a lot of questions about the cataloging of Kindles and Kindle editions.  We’ve tried a few different methods, and nothing seems to work perfectly.  We have the physical devices cataloged like we would catalog any piece of equipment.  When a student asks for a Kindle or Kindle book, we check out a Kindle to him/her.  None of the individual Kindle Edition titles are attached to the MARC record for the Kindle device.  Each Kindle Edition has its own MARC record, and here’s where it gets complicated (perhaps more complicated than it needs to be).

Here’s what a user sees if he/she is looking at a list of Ebooks in the catalog:

You can see that the catalog says that “1 of 1 available,” which suggests to the library user that there’s a copy of that Ebook in.  A digital copy may be available, but a device may not be.  This has the potential to be confusing.  MS kids see this, and think that they can get a physical copy of the book, so we have to end up explaining that it’s an Ebook.  We have to end up explaining this a lot.

For Destiny (our catalog) to say that we have “1 of 1 available,” I have to “add a copy” during the cataloging process.  So I pull a barcode, and place it in a notebook of our Kindle editions.  I’ll scan the barcodes in this notebook when we do inventory so that our Kindle Editions don’t come up with a “missing” or “lost” status.

We just recently upgraded to Destiny.  We were using an old Follett library management system, and if we didn’t “add a copy” during the catalog process, there was no note in the user catalog.  The user didn’t get the “1 of 1 available” message.  That was helpful.  I didn’t have to worry about keeping barcodes in a notebook.  However, if we don’t add copies in Destiny, the user gets a “0 copies available” message, which could be confusing as well.  So it’s either a “1 of 1 copies available” even if a Kindle is checked out or a “0 copies available” even if a Kindle is here.  We haven’t decided which route to take yet.  Perhaps there’s another option that I haven’t even considered.  If there is, please share!

Here’s a MARC record for one of our Kindle editions just for fun:

I can see having to “add a copy” for all Ebooks (whether their Kindle editions or Ebooks from something like Ebrary) getting out of hand, so I’m thinking the “0 copies available” may be the best option.  But I dunno.  Perhaps Follett Tech Support has some suggestions.  I haven’t talked to them yet.

I do have a sneaking suspicion that there has to be a better way.

You can search our catalog if you want to take a closer look my methods of madness.  I’m open to any suggestions/criticism.

Amazon’s Lending Policies

It looks like some books are available to lend for 14 days.  A student/faculty member could come in with their own device, and you could lend out a Kindle edition to him/her.  Of course this means that you wouldn’t have access to the book for 14 days (or until the person returned the loaned item).

I’ve read that Cushing will register student/faculty devices to Cushing’s Amazon account.  This way Cushing librarians can load a Cushing purchased book onto someone’s personal device.  However, if one can load a book onto 6 devices, that personal device would count as one of the six.

Other Issues

Out of the 15 Kindles that we’ve had, 3 have broken.  Two have had screens freeze and one was unable to connect to any wireless network.  Amazon has been great about replacing these Kindles.  I think they’ll replace a broken device (assuming that it’s not broken because someone threw it across a room or ran over it with a car or something) within a year of its purchase.  So far we haven’t had any students damage any devices.


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