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Program to Provide Thousands of Digital Books to Communities

Program to Provide Thousands of Digital Books to Communities

Communities around the country will be provided with thousands of free e-books as a result of an initiative to get more books in the hands of disadvantaged children and will also join the president's challenge to get more children to sign up for library cards.

The move is in connection with President Obama's ConnectEd program, which will put an estimated $10 billion to expanding access to digital materials and technologies over the next five years.

"The free books and a push to put more library cards into the hands of children were just part of last week’s announcement. It also included efforts to make sure the digital books are easy to reach and attractive," according to the HechingerReport.org.

Advocates believe these efforts to update digital versions of texts will increase children's interest in reading them, and note that investing in digital books for the future would be exponentially cheaper for schools and libraries everywhere.

Some, however, are skeptical that digital books' requirement of a digital device and Internet access will only further put low-income communities at a disadvantage.

"About 70 percent of public libraries report they are the only source of a free Internet connection in their community, according to the White House announcement about the new digital books," the article said.

However, as more communities are brainstorming ways to provide students without Internet access alternatives like Wi-Fi equipped buses and free Wi-Fi for housing developments, this might not be a huge problem moving forward.

The program is expected to offer 10,000 books to children but as of now there is no timeline for when they will be made available.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/06/2015

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