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Title: The Malta libraries online e-book library : extending adoption through outreach within the Maltese population
Authors: Grima Duca, Michelle
Keywords: Electronic books -- Malta
Library outreach programs -- Malta
Digital libraries -- Malta
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: E-books are a relatively modern phenomenon brought about by technological forces and the increasing value attributed both to mobility and accessibility. E-books are amongst the novelties that have redefined the role of libraries. This study adopts the definition proposed by Armstrong and Lonsdale (2011), in that an e-book comprises any content that is recognisably ‘book-like’ and made available electronically for reference or reading on any device that includes a screen. Nurturing a reading culture is desired in an environment characterised with a relatively low level of reading literacy. Meticulous outreach within the Maltese population is a fruitful approach offered by Malta Libraries through its various services. E-books could be considered as one of the tools to fostering a much-needed reading culture, deliver library services to those individuals unable to reach the library premises or finding difficulty in reading conventional books, promote inclusion and also fulfilling portability needs of users. This study focuses on how Malta Libraries is utilising the potential of community outreach to extend adoption of e-books within the Maltese population. E-books could exploit the keenness that the Maltese population has for technology, including heavy use of smart-phones, tablets, laptops and the social media. In fact, e-books are having their fair share of success since their launch in 2016, with approximately 350 monthly e-book loans. A qualitative case study approach was employed for this study. Three face-to-face semi-structured interviews were held with senior officials at the Malta Libraries to obtain a practical overview of the strategic thoughts on e-books, the future prospects and outreach techniques being explored to extend adoption within the Maltese population. These interviews complement the reviewed literature on ebooks and the revamped role of memory institutions. This study also comprises a Strength/Weakness/Opportunities/Threats (SWOT) analysis of the e-books project at Malta Libraries, thereby reinforcing the importance of providing a strategic approach to e-books and outreach activities. It transpires that the most promising segment for e-books is ‘children’. Thus, executing outreach efforts in schools and related institutions could be highly beneficial. Story-telling, educational activities/events, informative leaflets, the internet and particularly social media have been found to be the principal outreach methods adopted by Malta Libraries. Amongst the critical recommendations, one could mention the importance of having a proper collection development policy for e-books, broaden the variety of titles, and follow best practices on community outreach for e-books by strengthening cooperation with other foreign public libraries and local stakeholders. The potential of OverDrive’s marketing and outreach materials should also be fully utilised. The most important element that could extend adoption of e-books within the Maltese population is the mindset of the library staff itself. Librarians at Malta Libraries must realise that the role of libraries is being redefined and thereby their roles and responsibilities must be redefined accordingly.
Description: DIP.L.I.S.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacMKS - 2017
Dissertations - FacMKSLIAS - 2017

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