Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, e-books are a good way to keep up reading habits. (Photo by Andrew Hsieh)
Fountain Valley High School

What to expect from the upcoming HBUHSD e-book system

With the remainder of the semester being entirely online, the Huntington Beach Union High School District plans to release a district-wide e-book system. District librarian Elizabeth Taireh said that the district hopes to give students access to the system, which includes over 800 e-books and nearly 50 audiobooks, by the second semester.

HBUHSD will be using MackinVIA as the carrier platform for the new e-library. MackinVIA will be accessible through Canvas, and students can download the MackinVIA app as well.

Students will also have access to a wide variety of resources in addition to e-books and audio-books. The system will include a database called ComicPlus that will be available through the MackinVIA platform.

“[ComicPlus includes] access to a bunch of different graphic novels, comics and some manga, so that will be so people will be able to use that as well,” Taireh said.

The e-book platform will be fully integrated into Canvas, meaning students will be able to go straight to the site from Canvas without having to log in every time. Teachers can also assign reading through MackinVIA, which will carry many of HBUHSD schools’ required readings.

MackinVIA comes with a variety of helpful functions, including the ability to change font size and color along with background color. The platform also provides a font designed for people who have a difficult time reading books, and students will be able to mark highlighted portions of text to refer to later or to import into their Google Drive. Taireh noted that this function is particularly helpful when students are reading assigned literature.

The majority of the books that HBUHSD has chosen to purchase for district-wide use on MackinVIA are perpetual access e-books, meaning that they will be available as long as HBUHSD continues its MackinVIA account. Many books were also purchased in what Taireh referred to as “a book club format” where many people can check out the same book at one time.

Taireh also utilized specific guidelines when selecting books to offer.

“We [chose] mostly diverse books and modern books, or things that [we knew] were definitely taught within the classroom,” Taireh said.

The e-library will also include a variety of what Taireh called “fan favorites” such as the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson series. Students, teachers, clubs and other organizations will be able to purchase books they would like to see in the e-library as well.

“What’s really phenomenal, about the platform that we’re on is that there’s a lot of flexibility for building collections, and for other people to get involved, to help support their causes,” Taireh said.

Students will also be able to publish their work on MackinVIA for district-wide viewing. Anyone in the district will be able to access student publications.

Taireh anticipates that the new system will be helpful for the wide variety of student learning styles. Auditory learners will have access to the audio versions of many assigned readings, and students who prefer to keep their learning and reading digital will enjoy the virtual tools unique to the MackinVIA platform.

In the meantime, Fountain Valley High School will continue to offer curbside pickup along with a hefty list of digital resources currently available to students. For more information on currently available services, students can visit the HBUHSD Library page found under the “Help” tab of their Canvas account.

In trend with the library’s COVID adaptability, the district’s e-book system will be a significant addition to the pandemic-era resources that the library has provided.

“E-books have never been more appropriate than during a pandemic,”  Taireh said. “It’s kind of amazing to me, because … we have been working on this for a very long time.”