The School Library System of the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP), a New York Board of Cooperative Educational Services, has announced the launch this week of “Here Be Fiction,” a site devoted to the discovery of fiction ebooks available with school library friendly licensing terms, with over 500 ebooks from 17 participating publishers.
The site—which is a collaboration with Mackin Educational Resources and School Library Journal—aims to provides a comprehensive “summer reading style” program where registered school librarians will read and review books. The site will remain open to all visitors to help even more schools and libraries with book selection using a wishlist feature. Here Be Fiction will also allow librarians to access books for free during future school vacation times.
The site was built by GVEP’s school library system to help bring affordable ebooks to the 22 small, rural districts and 23,000 students of the Genesee Valley region of western New York. Christopher Harris, coordinator of the system, initially developed the idea to help member librarians explore fiction ebooks to add to an existing digital library of reference and informational books.
“Our libraries may be rural,” Harris notes in the site’s official announcement, “but by working together the incredible school librarians of the Genesee Valley are providing a wealth of digital resources to their students. As the librarians continued to ask for fiction, we needed to find a way to discover ebooks with terms that could work for us.”
The books are being delivered using the secure MackinVIA platform. Readers can access the books in Here Be Fiction online or by using one of the free iOS or Android phone/tablet MackinVIA apps. School Library Journal is supporting the project with editorial content on best practices for using ebooks in classrooms and school libraries.
Participating publishers have agreed to license these ebooks with terms supporting classroom and school library use. The terms include a discount for multiple reader purchases to support class novels or book clubs, allowing offline access to the books to support home use in areas with limited broadband, and enabling text-to-speech reading of the book when possible to support readers with special needs.
“These are established, well-respected publishers who we have worked with for years,” says Kitty Heise, co-owner of Mackin Educational Resources, in the announcement. “It is wonderful to see the publishers enthusiastically support Here be Fiction, and we are excited about the opportunity to give these great fiction ebooks the attention they deserve.”