Whilst e-libraries have been around for long while, the devices upon which students were able to consume their information more easily have only recently proliferated through the education market in the past couple of years. Whilst we see a lot of schools giving every child a tablet to learn from, more and more, and we see teachers rely on digital media more and more, it seems odd to think that the course-books relied upon would be aren't as forward thinking. We tend to either see physical textbooks, or information from source material which teachers have had to scan themselves to try to send around the class. The teacher may have had to send the files out by themselves to every student, and the whole process would eat up great amounts of time. The e-library manages to solve these issues, and there has never been a better time for e-libraries to come and stake their place in the market.
The medium of choice for universities
Universities have employed the use of e-libraries for a very long time, using projects such as JSTOR, Digital Media Depository, Librivox and many others. This wasn't so much out of choice, but necessity. The amount of literature needed by the modern university surpasses that which even the largest library can offer. Universities will often subscribe to particular e-libraries, which will in turn allow their students access to a wealth of extra content. The ease of searching, and the ease of reading, has always been fantastic, but the whole process has been slightly let down by the ability to then take that work away with you. You were always relegated to sitting in front of the computer you accessed the e-library from, and working from there. In this respect, the physical copy had a lot going for it.
The proliferation of tablets, smartphones, and other devices, now allows e-libraries the chance to capture the education sector in a much larger way. By offering a more diverse range of reading material, e-libraries can come and corner a market normally dominated by heavy textbooks, with non-current information.
Physical textbooks have always suffered a morose fate in the school system, whereby the textbook itself eventually becomes obsolete (particularly in the sciences where this is a lot more common). With e-libraries, the ability for the textbook manufacturer to simply release an update to their book becomes a huge step for helping educational establishments make financial savings. They will also help to reduce waste, and reduce the frustration of the admins all over the world who are put in charge of the organising the school's source material. The immediacy by which all this is done is just as impressive. You could be researching the best new textbook for your field, and minutes later have it on all your classroom devices. It seems the education sector is ready for the e-library to start coming into its own.