Tech for Tomorrow's Teachers

The best of children's literature is now a swipe away at the library

Library College of Education, Health and Aviation

For many adults, the joy and beauty of children's literature is a distant memory. For teachers, and soon-to-be-teachers, quality children's literature is an important educational and professional resource.

Future teachers at Oklahoma State University can now hold 113 award-winning children's books in the palms of their hands thanks to a recent library purchase, which brings together technology and traditional library services.

The Mary L. Williams Education and Teaching Library, a branch of the OSU Libraries, has purchased four Kindle Fires. The devices are loaded with prize-winning children's books, including winners of 77 Newberry and 32 Caldecott medals, and 18 others from recent book awards.

The project was made possible with funds from the Dean and Carol Stringer Endowment. The gift provides annual funds for library projects, which are approved at the discretion of the dean of libraries.

Sheila Johnson, dean of libraries, was eager to announce this latest acquisition from the Stringer Endowment.

"Carol told me when she signed the agreement, 'Books. Remember books. Books are important,'" Johnson says.

If you want students to love books, their teachers need to love books. The Mary L. Williams Education and Teaching Library serves faculty, researchers and students working in instruction and literacy. The ETL also serves as a statewide resource, providing educational materials and information to Oklahoma teachers and administrators.

Students of OSU's College of Education are some of the ETL's primary users. These future educators will be working in K-12, playing a vital role in literacy education. It's important they have access to literature for that age group. These books are used to enhance language skills and develop critical thinking.

"When her grandchildren were little, Carol always had a shelf in her library that they could reach that she kept stocked with books," Johnson recalls. "I thought this project was a nice combination of new technology with Carol's interest in reading and children."

Electronic books are a regular acquisition of today's libraries. Unfortunately, when librarians attempted to purchase these award-winning children's books in e-format, they discovered that our existing e-book vendors didn't offer a broad selection of literature for a younger audience.

Using the Kindles actually solved two issues. First, almost all the Newberry and Caldecott winning books were available for purchase on the devices. Secondly, and just as important, full-color displays on devices like the Kindle Fire provide users with the full experience of children's literature. The artwork in these books is a key component of the storytelling.

The OSU Libraries have numerous projects that use technology to find new ways to deliver services and resources to our students. Gifts like the Dean and Carol Stringer Endowment help the library continue to innovate.

Endowed gifts are invested and earn interest in perpetuity. A percentage of the interest funds projects designated by the donor. The remainder is reinvested, allowing the initial gift to grow in impact over time.

Ten, 20, even 100 years from now, the Dean and Carol Stringer Endowment will be making projects possible that we can't even imagine today.

If you are interested in supporting the library, contact Jill Johnson at or (405) 385-0733.