Print AND Digital

Love booksPrint

I love books. Of course, I am librarian! I think each book is a treasure, a gift.

I enjoy the tactile experience, the paper softness, its smell.

I can lend a book, give it forward, I remember who gifted me which book, I may hug it even!

Their materiality give them context, a significance, therefore a stronger memory.

Most importantly, I love reading books. I enjoy diving into the pages in precious dedicated times. Losing myself in a book, forgetting time, living someone else life, being rocked by the rhythm of the words…

I also read print (alias a knowledge book) to learn a subject in depth, exploring all its aspects and nuances, often re-reading a difficult or important part to take it in. Oh! And they don’t have advertising!

Reading onlineDigital

I am an avid online reader too. But I can’t say I love it.

Online is where I get a lot of information, everything I want to know and more.

I explore the world and worldviews, I get news and weather of course. I keep contact with my friends, my community, and read many things I do not need.

Snippets, snapshots. Quick. Easy.

I read articles too, I skim-read the page to see if it’s what I want to read, then click away or continue skim reading. I tend to skip the end when articles are too long. Or my phone beeps and off I am.

Online reading has great advantages: ability to read in the dark, my phone of lighter than most books, it’s easy to find the information I want, it’s perfect when travelling and even saving paper!

As librarian, I witness first-hand how books in print are less and less used.  Is it a problem?

Reading Brain

Maryanne Wolf is a reading specialist. In her latest book, “The Reading Brain in a Digital World” she questions the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection as we switch to online technologies.

Studies have shown that 85% of students multitask (=get distracted) in an online environment but only 26% when reading print.

Analyses of movements of the eyes when reading show that we scan through a screen (in the shape of an F) whereas eyes follow lines in a book. Trained to search and find words fast on webpages, we unconsciously practice speed-reading on a screen. So we read e-books faster! We look for the meaning, the plot, but miss the implicit, the depth and the literary expression.

Learning impact

So what about thinking, analyzing, evaluating? What does it mean for learning?

A study by Geoff Kaufman and Mary Flanagan says that for abstract (inference-based) questions, the print participants scored higher, on average, with 66 percent correct compared to the digital participants with just 48 percent correct. For concrete questions, digital participants out-scored the print participants: 73 percent correct versus 58 percent.

This study shows screens do not make us dumber as some people fear or blame.  But it does show that brains do not work the same way with print or screen.


I invite you to reflect on your reading habits, be aware of the differences print or digital offer and choose your reading medium accordingly.

It turns out that it’s no longer a Print VS Online debate, it is a Print AND Online world. We have to be bi-literate.

How do YOU read?


Hi everyone,

On the Mount Aspiring College parent portal, there is a library tab and parents can see if you have any book overdue but they cannot see the title. This is to protect your privacy, as you may not want them to know that you are reading “Is anyone’s family as mad as mine” !

Parent portal

The item title doesn’t show. It means they can’t help you find it if you’ve lost it. It also means they do not know what you read and can’t prompt interesting conversations with you about your books and reading choices.

We are reviewing this and seek your feedback to make a decision. Feel free to leave a comment or talk with the librarian about it.

Should the parent portal show the titles of the books you have borrowed from the college library? 

Book Club term 2 book

This year, MAC Book Club students are fans of Skulduggery Pleasant and the first term was happily spent creating a trailer for the series. Unfortunately, most of the footage went lost when a device died and the project aborted.

Term 2 has been enlightened by the reading of the Young Elites, by Marie Lu, which also features a strong adventurous female character in a hostile fantasy world.

Adelina is a malfetto scarred by blood fever many years ago. But when she is accused of her father’s murder and sentenced to death by Teren, the King’s inquisition leader, she is rescued by a mysterious Enzo, the Young Elites leader who seems even more dangerous than her jailers. Not knowing who to trust, Adelina must manipulate Teren in order to save her sister and the Young Elites.

It’s a story of family, love and loyalty and ultimately a rebellion against prejudice, a quest for justice and freedom. Full of surprising special powers and action, this fantasy thriller is also a suspenseful romance.

It is difficult to relate to the heroine as she holds as much good as evil. We rated the book 4 out of 5.

What does the library look like in the future?

As part of the QLDC public libraries review, our students were invited to answer to 3 questions:

  • What do you value the most about a library service?
  • What would encourage you to use the library more often?
  • What does the library look like in the future?

To the latter, the 107 students answers are (some students gave several answers):

  • More technology (includes more ebooks, more computers, more e-readers): 33
  • Bigger place: 16
  • More books: 12
  • More comfortable seats: 9
  • EBooks instead of books: 8
  • Same as today: 7
  • Movies: 4
  • Other (talking books, research facility, games): 3
  • Less popular: 2

That’s less than 5% seeing a future without books.

Reading to succeed

 UK School Minister Mr Gibb said: “Children should always have a book on the go. The difference in achievement between children who read for half an hour a day in their spare time and those who do not is huge – as much as a year’s education by the time they are 15.” From The Telegraph 8th Feb 2012

So come to the library, choose a book you will like (you can ask the librarian for help) and enjoy reading!

If you would like a specific book that you can’t find, fill in a “Student Title Request” at the issue desk, and it will be ordered for you.

Or fill in the form below:

MACLIC Book Club

Meeting Thursdays lunchtime in the library.

We love books, we love talking books… For the first meeting of the year, we have designed bookmarks while talking about our future projects:

  • Display design,
  • Choosing books for the library,
  • Book reviews on the blog and in Assembly,
  • And the famous “book club sleepover”…

Lots of fun ahead!

And we have talked about our favourite books and found one,  that we all feel like reading but did not read yet.

Not too late to join! Looking forward to meet you in the library next Thursday lunchtime!

Overcoming the “summer slide”

Studies have been carried out about the “summer slide”, the decline in reading achievement children suffer just from being away from school and formal literacy instruction. Sadly it is often the students who can least afford to lose the reading gains they’ve achieved during the school year who fall the furthest behind when they return to school after a summer break. It’s characterized as “the Harry Potter divide”, and the effects are cumulative and long-term.

Even just 10 minutes reading a day by or to children will maintain & develop the children’s reading skills, habit and enthusiasm. It is important that the parents support their children, to reap the powerful benefits of reading.

An easy way to do it is to offer books for Christmas. Cherub, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Hunger Games series are all winners. Children will love owning their own book. Book shop sellers would be able to make further recommendations.

If you choose to shop online, I recommend Wheelers website because their range of books is huge (6.7 million books!), it is well organised and easy to use and the prices are very competitive. Plus, this will raise funds for the college’s library. Click here to learn more…

Some teachers will give some “good reads” lists to their students and there are many more book lists on this blog.

Another great and simple way to encourage reading is to visit the Town Library. There is a well-stocked children and separate Young Adult section. Every summer, a “Reading challenge” is organised with lots of prices, so check it out. Children need a parental consent to get their free card, so parents need to accompany them, at least the first time, and could grab a book for themselves too, to enjoy and to be a role model!

Book sharing online

WEB 2.0 is about interacting with other users. Explore two great book sharing websites.

Library thingLibrarything is an online cataloguing tool. You can:

  • Catalogue your own library (up to 250 entries for free); Just type the title and retrieve the full record with good tags, first sentences, etc.
  • Check out who else likes the same books and what other books they like, great to choose your next read;
  • Get involved in a book discussion group

There is a very interesting Zeitgeist page which provides statistics showing the top books, top authors (Currently the top 10 are: J. K. Rowling, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, J. R. R. Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, C. S. Lewis, William Shakespeare, Nora Roberts, Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, surprising no!), most reviewed books, etc. Good reads

Good Reads is less detailed but more friendly. It allows you to share book recommendations with your friends, find books from great lists, keep track of what you’ve read and what you’d like to read, or form a book club, answer book trivia, collect your favourite quotes…

Books and Internet are good friends!

How much should we read?

Pile of books (clipart)A student willing to get into higher education knows an average of 80,000 words. Assume that the period of vocabulary acquisition of our high school senior is the 15 years between age 2 and 17, our student needs to learn an average of fifteen words a day, more than 5,000 words per year.

So how much? Research shows that if children read 1 million words, at least 1,000 words will be added to their vocabulary. 1 millions words represents approximately:

  • 20 books of 200 pages
  • 40 books of 100 pages 
  • 500 comics or newspaper feature
  • 300 magazine articles
  • 1000 encyclopedia definitions
  • And any combination of these…

This is not going to happen in school alone. “Most vocabulary words,” Mr Hirsch argues, result “incidentally, from massive immersion in the world of language and knowledge.”

“The Power of reading” (Heinemann, 2004), Stephen Krashen

From a NZ National Library workshop, Dunedin, 2008