eBook use data chart

Our Virtual Library Program Celebrated an Outstanding Fall 2020

Kathleen Ross, Somerville High School Librarian

Somerville High School library ranked #1 statewide for new users of the Commonwealth eBook Collection among comparable high schools this fall. For the period September 2020 through December 2020, Somerville High added 387 new users! Second and third place schools were Old Rochester Regional (247) and Cambridge Rindge and Latin (235). Somerville High students checked out over 1,500 titles during this time period and we circulated 249 titles during the same time. #highlandersread!

This is our second year of membership in the Commonwealth eBook Collection through the Massachusetts Library System. Students access the collection on the internet or download for reading in the Sora App or Overdrive. The collection includes over 20,000 tiles in ebook and e-audiobook format. The collection is primarily in English and Spanish, and has titles across many grade levels and interest areas. 

The increase in the number of ebook users is tied to virtual collaborations. This is my fourth year as a Somerville High School librarian and I was thankful to be able to rely on established library–classroom partnerships as we transitioned to remote learning. Throughout the fall of 2020, I visited academic classrooms to work with students on their research and library skills. These sessions included lessons that involve specialized ebook lists that took advantage of our access to the eBook Collection.

Library–classroom collaborations this year included investigating Global Warming research with Ms. Quigley’s Environmental History class, researching art for Digital Art Journals with Ms. Chau’s classes, creating book covers with Ms. Howard’s classes, and programming presentations with an expert for Hour of Code. I also visited English classes to educate students about how to use and access ebooks through the Sora App. Some classroom teachers have used the eBook collection to create reading assignments and promote independent reading. Additonally, I have seen increased traffic to the new Somerville High School Library Website which includes course guides and subject-specific pages with curated ebook collections. All of these factors combined to fuel the rapid increase in the number of our ebook users.

To learn more about librarians and remote learning, check out this resource from the American Association of School Librarians. The library has utilized this document in designing its work during pandemic learning conditions. The library is grateful for the support of District Supervisor of Library Media Services Charlie LaFauci and the collaborative SHS community for the success of this valuable resource.

eBook login

Check out some popular reads and listens so far this year:

Popular Audiobooks

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman

Popular Fiction

Gate 76 by Andrew Diamond
Twelfth Night by WIlliam Shakespeare

Popular Non-Fiction

How to Become and Accidental Genius by Elizabeth MacLeod and Frieda Wishinsky
Lionel Messi by David Machajewski

Graphic Novels

Kiss of Rose Princess Series by Aya Shouoto
Assassination Classroom by Yūsei Matsui


Harry Potter Series in Spanish and French
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations by Ukyo Kodachi


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