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Thursday, November 6 • 2:15pm - 3:00pm
Are We There Yet? A Longitudinal Study of the Student E-Book Experience

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Academic libraries continue to increase e-book holdings, but what do our users think of them? Are they eagerly embracing e-books, slowly getting more comfortable with them, or only reluctantly using them when necessary? How can we enhance the value of these collections for our users?At the 2012 Charleston Conference, the CTW Library Consortium (Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University) presented the results of a 2011 ethnographic study of students using e-books. To monitor changes over time, Wesleyan has repeated this study annually, and we are currently gathering our fourth year of data. We also implemented a campus-wide survey of undergraduates to supplement our qualitative findings with quantitative data. While some findings have remained consistent, we have found interesting changes and shifting trends. More students are aware of and have used e-books, but that has not translated into increased sophistication of use. When we started our study, students were approaching e-books analogously to print books; now they tend to approach e-books more as they do online journal articles, which has affected what they expect to be able to do with e-books. Most students still start our interviews with a strong preference for print books over e-books, but that gap narrows significantly by the end of our sessions, indicating that a guided use of e-books would likely enhance their experience of and ability to use e-books. We will discuss how our findings have assisted our efforts to market our e-book collection, develop effective instruction strategies on using e-books, make appropriate selections from available alternatives, and inform vendors of our users’ needs and preferences. Since the application of these findings is context-specific, we will invite the audience to share their experiences and hypothesize how these findings might apply in their situations.

avatar for Kendall Hobbs

Kendall Hobbs

Reference and Instruction Librarian, Wesleyan University
Kendall Hobbs has been a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut since 1997. He has a BA in philosophy from Vanderbilt University, an MA in philosophy from Emory University, and an MLS from SUNY Buffalo.
avatar for Diane Klare

Diane Klare

Head of Reference Services, Wesleyan University
Diane Klare is Head of Reference Services/Interim Manager of Technical Services at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She joined Wesleyan in 2002 and has served as Head of Reference services since 2006. From 2014 until 2016, she held the position of Interim University... Read More →

Thursday November 6, 2014 2:15pm - 3:00pm EST
Gold Ballroom, Francis Marion Hotel 387 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403