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RHS library adds electronic fiction to its collection

The Rosemount High School library is adding some new resources in an effort to keep up with the times.

The library -- the instructional media center if we're keeping things modern -- recently added a catalog of 47 young-adult fiction titles students can read online or on iPads and Android tablets.

The IMC has had electronic resources for years, but they've been limited to reference books that are available online.

"We never have really had the platform to provide young adult fiction titles to our students that they could either download or check out online," said Michael O'Sullivan, Rosemount's IMC specialist.

Overdrive, a system used until recently by the Dakota County Library system, is too expensive for school districts. And O'Sullivan said there were no other options available. But that changed recently when Follett, the school's library automation vendor, introduced a new system for handling electronic books. Readers can highlight, post notes to a specific passage and bookmark where they leave off. Follett also has an app for iPad and Android tablets that will take students right to the books that are available.

O'Sullivan is just starting to get the word out about the new offerings.

"We just pretty much launched it last week," O'Sullivan said. "We'll hopefully be able to see the usage of it. I started off with about 47 young adult fiction titles, and fairly current ones like The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, that whole series."

O'Sullivan will be able to monitor eBook borrowing just like he does physical books. He'll keep track to see whether the new system gets used and what books are popular.

The library's print fiction collection gets limited use from students. O'Sullivan is trying to encourage students to check out more books. He hasn't heard a significant demand from students for electronic books, but as reading habits change and students lean more toward electronics than paper and ink, O'Sullivan wants to be ready.

"It's just nice to be able to say, 'Hey, our materials are also available (electronically) and they can be checked out,'" O'Sullivan said. "We're just trying to make sure we don't get left in the dust."