Posted in Colchester High School, Colchester Middle School, General, Grants, Malletts Bay School, Porters Point School, Primer Series, Programs, Union Memorial School

CSD Libraries Offer Highly Accessible Resources, Research Skills Development, and More

Colchester School District’s libraries are wonderful resources, and they are a great deal more than simply vast book repositories. Increasingly celebrated as twenty-first-century learning environments, school libraries serve vastly important purposes in education. Along with teaching and empowering students to distinguish relevant, quality information from erroneous materials they might find on the Internet, they also serve as powerful sources of technology implementation and investigative collaboration in students’ daily lives. Interested? Read on.

CSD’s Information Technology department installed and set up Destiny® Library Manager™—a software product from Follett Software Company—earlier this year. The program, which is called CSD Reads, replaced the district’s former library software, and it is used in all of the district’s school libraries.

Why is CSD Reads good for parents and students?

A significant advantage of CSD Reads is its accessibility to the entire community; it is an online catalog which can be accessed using any Internet-ready device—and this facilitates searching the inventories of any of the five schools’ libraries rather than having to contact individual librarians to request information about specific titles. This makes CSD’s libraries’ inventories considerably more accessible to parents and students; it is a great resource for parents to manipulate in order to have at-home discussions with students about book selections. CSD Reads further assists students in locating the books in which they are interested, and it is also further integrated with PowerSchool, which allows for more up-to-date information in patron records.

Why is CSD Reads good for teachers?

Teachers use CSD Reads from their classrooms as they prepare for lessons, quickly and easily ascertaining whether the books in which they are interested are available and planning their lessons accordingly. Teachers can also far more easily reserve books across all schools in the district, which in turn allows for improved use of the district’s library materials.

What are some other library-related resources and skills development opportunities?

CSD Reads is not the only fabulous library software in use in the district. At Colchester High School, librarian Christine Eldred uses an online research software widely used in colleges and universities called LibGuides that allows for the integration of a variety of resources to support assignments and projects, including embedded video, e-books, recommended websites, research databases, documents, images, maps, primary sources, RSS feeds, Twitter feeds, podcasts, current news, online exhibits, and more. The LibGuides software helps the library to further support curriculum and student learning while also connecting the library to the classroom.

In addition to the dynamic software programs is the educational component of their use; at CHS, for example, Ms. Eldred works with teachers to help students develop excellent research and inquiry skills, including basic research and online searching; media bias; using online databases and other specialized research tools; social bookmarking; creating citations; and understanding the differences between paraphrasing, quoting, and summarizing. She has also created a number of helpful guides to facilitate research; to view them, click here.

Colchester Middle School’s library is a buzz of activity, including a recently organized hands-on experience with civic responsibility.

Malletts Bay School’s library, with the help of librarian Lynn Hebert (read her blog here!) and a generous grant from the Robert T. Stafford Memorial Enrichment Grant, has acquired a number of NOOK and NOOK Color™ e-readers to facilitate special education initiatives. (If you would like to read more about our students’ use of NOOK readers and their associated benefits, please click here.)

Both Porters Point School and Union Memorial School’s libraries host the Red Clover event every year—an event cosponsored by the Vermont Center for the Book/Mother Goose Programs, the Vermont Department of Education, and the State of Vermont Department of Libraries that seeks to encourage young children’s appreciation for writing and illustration. More than twenty thousand K–4 students enjoy the annual list of nominated books. “My first goal is to help students become lifelong readers and find the library as an inviting place,” said PPS librarian Mary Ann Kadish (read her blog here!). “Another goal is to assist teachers in finding materials that can expand and enrich the curriculum to make lessons enjoyable and interesting for students.” Of PPS’s library, Ms. Kadish said proudly, “We have over nine hundred leveled, multiple-copy books housed in the library which are found in the catalog. These books are used by teachers for reading instruction.”

Second graders in Mrs. Bissonnette's and Mrs. Benjamin's classes learn to conduct and refine biography searches.
Second graders in Mrs. Bissonnette’s and Mrs. Benjamin’s classes learn to conduct and refine biography searches.

Union Memorial School’s librarian Judy Flanagan (read her blog here!) stepped up to help school libraries devastated by Hurricane Irene in 2011, coordinating the collection and donation of new or nearly new books to benefit Moretown Elementary School in a wonderful show of empathy and solidarity. (If you would like to read more about it, please click here.)

Annual book fairs held in our schools’ libraries are open to the public every year, as well; family members and friends can create and send wish lists to other shoppers through the online fairs, allowing shoppers to browse the selection from the comfort of home while supporting students’ reading and programs and materials for the libraries at the same time.

Our librarians work to create comfortable, inviting, and inspiring environments to help facilitate a love of learning and literacy, and they also host guest authors to meet with our students—author Margaret Peterson Haddix, author Mary Downing Hahn, and author Jason Chin are just some examples (author Robert Hunton has also visited with and even guest taught CSD students).

And did you know that CSD has access to the University of Vermont’s more than 1.39 million text and serial files—as well as a host of other materials—at no cost? (If you missed our September 20, 2011, feature about that incredible resource, you may read it here.)

If you would like more information about CSD Reads or about any of our schools’ libraries (Colchester High School’s Ruth B. Winton Memorial Library with Christine Eldred, Colchester Middle School’s library with Angelika Mahoney, Malletts Bay School’s library with Lynn Hebert, Porters Point School’s library with Mary Ann Kadish, and/or Union Memorial School’s library with Judy Flanagan), please contact any of our schools.

And if you’d like to read our five-part primer on literacy, please click here!

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