To encyclopaedia, or not encyclopaedia?

In other matters: I want to buy an encyclopedia set before Christmas.  I did post this to the Oztl discussion list a while back and received a mixed response, including the following gem:

ningbo worldbook

Our library has been challenged as to whether any encyclopedia is necessary, as we have access to wikipedia. This from someone at the head of educational policy here!!!!! TL – NSW

Gar.  I have had a few challenges to the idea, the first from the Principal who wanted to know why we needed one when we had internet access.  Another teacher thought it would be unecessary expense.  Interestingly this teacher was from lower primary.  Other teachers – especially those in the senior classes, are really keen for any reference material in the library.

This is one of my main reasons for pursuing this.  We currently have so little in Non-Fiction/Reference that no matter how many books I purchase I will still just be scratching the surface.  With changes in teachers we also face changes in topics.  An encyclopedia is the best way I can think to cover everything and do it quickly.  From that base we can continue to build up other resources.

I’m also keen (when computers do make their way into the library) to provide access to an online encyclopedia – another version, so kids can see the differences in coverage and viewpoint.

I am also keen to demonstrate to kids that the computer is not the font of all wisdom.  I anticipate these encyclopedias being pretty popular.  It will be interesting to see how long it is before they start wandering upstairs…

I’m leaning towards World Book as that is what my last school were using.  I seem to recall their 2009 copy costing thousands but I’ve found a 2009 set on Amazon for about $900.  I think we have a copy of Encarta floating around somewhere so maybe that will be our online version…


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