Posts Tagged ‘media specialists’

#FridayFunDay: Take Our Librarian Quiz!

It’s #FridayFunDay! Take this fun quiz to find out what librarian you most resemble.

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Libraries Serving Spanish-Speaking Communities

A library sign in English with Spanish translation, in a Texas library (Un letrero en inglés y español en una biblioteca en Texas).. The city has a large number of Spanish speakers moving in so the public library now has Spanish books and also some Spanish signs. (Pete Unseth, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license) (via Wikimedia Commons)

A library sign in English with Spanish translation, in a Texas library (Un letrero en inglés y español en una biblioteca en Texas). The city is serving its large Spanish-speaking population. (Pete Unseth, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license) (via Wikimedia Commons)

The Spanish language is an integral part of the American experience.

According to the 2011 Pew Research Center’s American Community Survey, Spanish is the main language spoken in more than 37 million homes. According to the 2012 U.S. Census, Hispanic Americans comprised 17% of the country’s population–53 million people.

How do the more than 16,000 public libraries across the United States serve this culturally rich community?

There are numerous ways that public libraries can find the fiscal support, cultural materials, and language expertise necessary to successfully serve their diverse Spanish-language-speaking communities. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated each year in the U.S. from September 15 through October 15, let’s take a look at some.

Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users

The American Library Association offers a comprehensive overview to librarians and media specialists who seek to initiate services to Spanish-language-speaking populations or to build upon their existing resources. Visit Guidelines for Library Services to Spanish-Speaking Library Users for an overview of collection development and selection; cultural programming and outreach; the value of personnel training and development; and the significance of collection placement.


The National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-Speaking (REFORMA) was established in 1986 with the purpose of providing educational, charitable, and programming outreach to Hispanic American librarians and to libraries wanting to serve the Spanish-speaking population.

The REFORMA site provides extensive online resources for libraries, including a Spanish-English dictionary, Spanish-language brochures and flyers, and storytime materials. The organization offers awards and recognition to libraries and holds events and conferences on Spanish-language literature and in support of outreach to Spanish-language communities.


Spanish in Our Libraries (SOL), although no longer being published, is now an archive of valuable information. This electronic newsletter helped to connect librarians and media specialists serving their libraries’ Spanish-speaking communities.


Public Libraries Using Spanish (PLUS) is a growing searchable database that provides libraries with documents necessary for any library to serve its Spanish-language communities. Find printable card applications, signs, programming information, and more, written in Spanish with English translations. The site’s owner is accessible by email and asks for users to share their comments, experiences, and document submissions.

WebJunction’s SLO Program

WebJunction is an online learning community for librarians. The organization offers knowledge and support in many areas of librarianship: leadership and communication, staff training, library services, technology, and programming.

One facet of WebJunction is its Spanish Language Outreach (SLO) Program. Case studies, webinars, and materials (such as an action plan template and checklists) assist libraries in creating, maintaining, and growing Spanish language collections, services and programming, and outreach. Text to the site’s Spanish Language Outreach Workshop Curriculum–including a PowerPoint presentation and a resource packet–offers in-depth instruction and support to librarians and media specialists.

These sites are only some of the resources available to public libraries serving, or looking to serve, their Spanish language communities–communities that are integral to the advancement of our nation and its libraries.

SIRS Knowledge Source and SIRS Discoverer commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month each year by spotlighting the history of and the news, events, and issues affecting this vibrant and diverse population. Find articles, timelines, photos, and more.

Heroic Librarians

“Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines. And every time I get to encounter or work with librarians, I’m always impressed by their sheer awesomeness.” ― Neil Gaiman

All librarians are heroes to me, and with Thanksgiving approaching, I thought I would share my top ten list of amazing real-life librarians who have enriched our world. (If you can’t view the list below in your browser, you can also view it on Playbuzz.)

Who is your Super Hero Librarian?

Is there a librarian you are thankful for? Feel free to share with us in comments section below!

Teacher-Media Specialist Collaboration Is Recipe for Student Success


As editors, we are privileged at times to get out of the office and visit schools and libraries to witness how librarians, media specialists, teachers and students use ProQuest resources at their points of need. We visited Palm Beach Gardens Community High School in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, and observed a recipe for student engagement: the collaboration of a media specialist and teacher.

Deb Svec, media specialist, collaborates with as many teachers as she can who are willing to join her on fun, innovative projects for high school students. Knowing this, we were very excited when Deb welcomed us to her media center to consult on use of our resources and observe her current project in partnership with 10th grade English teacher Julie Mooney. Deb and Julie joined forces for a lesson centered on the book Escape from Camp 14, the story “of the only known person born inside a North Korean prison camp to have escaped.” Nonfiction was selected due to Language Arts Florida Standards’ emphasis on nonfiction proficiency.

ProQuest provides content-based reading and research for nonfiction units.

The nine-week lesson starts with pre-research to learn about the contextual themes of the book including North Korea, human rights, genocide, torture, and historical comparison to the holocaust. Deb demonstrates three ProQuest resources in the media center: CultureGrams for country research, eLibrary for in-depth current and historical reference and SIRS Issues Researcher to delve into the ethical angles. Then with Julie’s guidance, students team up in the computer lab to research ProQuest resources and gather as many facts as they can. In another class, they produce poster boards illustrating their research, which are posted in the classroom for reference.

Collaborators in Education: Julie Mooney and Deb Svec
Palm Beach Gardens Community High School (Photo by Christie Riegelhaupt)

Next, the students are immersed in the story of Shin Dong-hyuk through reading and discussion of the book. As their understanding is enlightened through the narrative of Escape from Camp 14, students return to the media center to dig deeper into thematic research in ProQuest resources including eLibrary Research Topics specially created by editors for this topic. In subsequent class activities to engage in critical thinking, students answer questions through Cranium Core games to prompt in-depth discussion and promote comprehension.

In their final project, the students collaborate and produce public service announcements (PSAs) on the horrors of North Korean internment camps. These PSAs are broadcast via the school media network.

At the end of other book units, Deb and her collaborative teachers often invite authors for Skype or in-person visits with the students. Students are inspired by the experience of interacting with authors who often have experiences similar to their own.

Collaborative lessons like Escape from Camp 14 don’t just promote rote knowledge but build college-ready skills through collaboration,  reading comprehension, technology use, information literacy, critical thinking, and oral presentation. Educators like Deb and Julie are an example of how collaborative teaching and use of media center resources provide dynamic immersive learning.

Research Topic

Shin Dong-hyuk, one of several ProQuest eLibrary Research Topics
created specially by editors for the Escape from Camp 14 unit.


Originally published November 12, 2014.

2nd Annual FAME Unconference

As editors, we love to get out of the office and go to industry events! So two of us were super excited on June 26 to attend a free event hosted by the the Florida Association for Media in Education–the 2nd Annual FAME Unconference at Palm Beach Gardens High School, FL.


Dynamic discussion during FAME Unconference (Credit: Michelle Jarrett)

An unconference is a meeting that is informal and loosely structured so attendees can learn from one another on a peer-to-peer level through teaching, sharing and collaboration. This is an awesome way to learn new technologies and best practices and falls in line with FAME’s mission:

FAME advocates for every student in Florida to be involved in and have open access to a quality school library media program administered by a highly competent, certified library media specialist. FAME is a collaborative, responsive, dynamic network for Florida library media professionals.

The unconference started with us gathered as a group to shout out what we most wanted to discuss. Then we broke out into smaller groups for in-depth discussion and collaboration. Insights were recorded on poster boards and tweeted at #FAME14. No need for notes–just take a pic with your smart phone. This is our kind of note taking!

Attendees hailed from various regions of Florida and included those who oversaw elementary, middle and high school libraries. Regardless of differing locations, grade levels, and available budgets, we witnessed a group of professionals with one quality in common: a passion for their craft. They all love their jobs as the information leaders in their schools.

FAME Unconference

2nd Annual FAME Unconference: A Place for Connection and Collaboration
Created with PicMonkey. Credit: Christie Riegelhaupt and Michelle Jarrett.

Because of their passion and a vulnerable school budget climate, advocacy was the most important topic of the day. When there are budget cuts in school districts,  this group wanted to make sure that media specialist jobs are not cut or replaced with volunteers. As many in the group explained,  the only way to ensure job security is for education administrators and legislators to be fully informed of the essential role a media specialist plays in the school. Media specialists don’t just check out books and read stories to children. A media specialist offers valuable resources and support for the classroom and curriculum, teaches students how to critically evaluate online resources, aids in transforming students into lifelong learners, and so much more.

Advocacy Infographic

AASL’s Advocacy Infographic

ALA and AASL’s advocacy pages were recommended as excellent resources for media specialists to build awareness of their pivotal role in education.

Other topics discussed included eBooks, makerspaces, benchmarks, QR codes and success stories. A thread throughout each topic was a keen interest in acquiring the best resources for their school, and then promoting those resources so they are utilized and meet the needs of students. One example was a tip to use QR codes in card inserts in the stacks to promote eBooks. Another popular best practice was to give out necklaces where students can earn one charm per each book they read. Even in high schools, students wore their necklaces proudly.

The media specialists spent a hot summer day in South Florida and left with some hot tips they can take back to their media centers this fall. The students at their schools are very fortunate to have such dedicated educators working on their behalf!

STEAM Resources for the Classroom and Library


Fractal Art by werner22brigitte [Public Domain] via Pixabay


STEAM is a movement that integrates an A for the arts into the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiative from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education.  STEAM education was created in 2006 by former teacher Georgette Yakman.

The Creative Component

Advocates of STEAM contend that there should not be a dichotomy between science and art. Instead, art should be seen as a driver of creativity that can foster innovation and spark engagement and learning in science education.

“Engineers, inventors, and designers produce drawings as part of their creative process. They draw to work out and refine concepts and details. They draw to persuade. They draw to give direction. And they draw to record their ideas and to learn from others.”–Doodles, Drafts, and Designs, Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian

Pathway to Economic Growth

John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, sees STEAM as a pathway to fostering U.S. economic growth. Maeda, writing in Edutopia, has said that “[d]esign creates the innovative products and solutions that will propel our economy forward, and artists ask the deep questions about humanity that reveal which way forward actually is.” He cites Apple as well-known example of a company in which design is crucial to the success of technology.

Tried and True

The idea of integrating the arts and sciences in education is nothing new. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, was not only a famous Renaissance artist, but was also a scientist, engineer and inventor. In fact, he used his skills as an artist to draw his mechanical ideas.

“If someone had told Leonardo da Vinci, Newton, or Galileo that the study of science in the 21st century would be separated from the creativity of the arts or the social, cultural, and historical insights into human behavior offered by the humanities, they would have wondered what scientists had done to make the world disrespect them so much.  It’s an odd idea to separate out different kinds of knowledge that inspire and enrich one another in the real world and the virtual too.” – Duke Professor Cathy Davidson

Links for Teachers and Librarians

Over the past several years, more and more schools have begun integrating the arts into their STEM curricula. Below are six links you can use to incorporate STEAM into your classroom or library:

Websites for Students

Are your students working on a STEAM project and need a little inspiration? Below are five editorially-selected websites from ProQuest’s SIRS Issues Researcher.

If you’ve implemented a STEAM curriculum in your classroom or library, let us know what you’re doing in the comments section below or tweet us at #ProQuest.


Five Reasons for School Libraries to Use LibGuides

LibGuides are Content Management Systems used by thousands of academic, school, public and special libraries around the world. Started by Springshare in 2007, LibGuides are popular, easy-to-use tools for libraries to organize, package and showcase information and resources suitable for their users.

Here are five good reasons to use LibGuides in your school library:

1. An awesome library website. A LibGuide is an easy-to-use web editor with many options to display content. Post information about hours, location and staff on the front page. Tabs can be added to showcase additional resources. Bishop Stang High School provides an excellent example of a LibGuide used as a school library website:

LibGuide Site

Bishop Stang High School LibGuide Page


2.  Excellent way to collaborate with teachers. As a media specialist, you want to be the center of learning at your school and there is no better way to do that than by collaborating with teachers on assignments. Providing homework help and class-based pathfinders on your LibGuide will make you a teacher’s best friend and increase engagement of library resources. Check out St. George’s School Library‘s Course Pages as an example:

Course pages

Nathaniel P. Hill Library at St. George’s School LibGuide Page


3. Easy to embed and track content. There is virtually no limit to what you can embed on your LibGuide. Through widgets and embedded content, you can integrate your Twitter feed, add a search to your catalog, offer widgets to access databases, embed a Symbaloo, or showcase your Shelfari. And you can easily know what is most useful through usage statistics. See Creekview High School’s embedded Twitter feed on their LibGuide. Their media specialist, Buffy Hamiliton, also wrote a blog post on why she loves LibGuides:

Geek Libguides

Credit: Buffy Hamilton The Unquiet Librarian/geekthelibrary.org

4. Prepare students for college. LibGuides are used by many top universities including MIT, Harvard and Yale. When your students use LibGuides, they will become proficient using similar tools and research methods that they will encounter in college.

5. A community of resources including ProQuest! Reuse, recycle not only your own content but content from other LibGuides. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can easily copy and update sections of your own site or request to copy guides from thousands of available guides in the LibGuide community including guides from ProQuest. Check out the ProQuest school library collection of LibGuides. We encourage copying of our pages and search widgets!


ProQuest LibGuide Header 

Who Loves Doctor Who?

Who Pals

Librarians Matthew Winner and Sherry Gick rock their Doctor Who tees at the 2013 American Association of School Librarians (AASL) UnConference in Hartford, Connecticut. (photo used with permission by Matthew Winner)

I love two things (well, three, but we’ll leave chocolate out of this!) — libraries and the hit BBC sci-fi show Doctor Who. With the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who approaching (November 23rd), I thought why not combine my love of the two into one, big celebratory blog post?

Both of these loves hearken back to my childhood in which I spent many a happy time tucked away with an adventure book in some corner of my local library or at home with my Dad, watching Tom Baker with his mop of curly hair and ridiculously long scarf play the fourth incarnation of the Doctor.

I wanted to find out what connections could be made between libraries and Doctor Who, so I went to the best authorities on these beloved subjects–librarians and educators. For this post, I interviewed six librarians and one teacher who are fans of Doctor Who.

Tells a Good Story

Christie Ross Gibrich, a Teen Librarian Toolbox blogger and Senior Librarian at the Bowles Life Center Branch Library in Grand Prairie, Texas, attributes Doctor Who’s appeal to the “element of storytelling and detail with each and every arc” to the show.  Ms. Gibrich and others also note that some of the episodes were written by legendary writers, such as Neil Gaiman.

Timeless and Ageless Appeal

Several of those I interviewed speak of the timeless and ageless appeal of the show. Karen Jensen, creator of the Teen Librarian Toolbox and Youth Services Librarian at the Betty Warmack Branch Library in Grand Prairie, TX, was struck by how much her kids loved Doctor Who as much as she did. And while Doctor Who is perceived as a sci-fi show, it is also sui generis—or unique of its kind.  “Even if you don’t like science fiction,” points out Jan LaRoche, Young Adult Librarian of Moline Public Library of Moline, Illinois, “Doctor Who dabbles in all sorts of genres including history, mystery, romance, and even westerns. Because he can go anywhere and anytime, he’s kind of like literature itself.”

 Makes Knowledge Cool

Another common thread that educators and librarians remarked about the show was how, underneath its fantastical adventures, it makes the pursuit of knowledge cool. Each episode of the show involves problem solving and the acquisition and application of knowledge. “Not only does he make bow-ties and fez’s cool,” says Sarina La Torre, children’s librarian and author of the Nerd Craft Librarian blog, “he makes knowledge cool.”

Library Media Specialist Elizabeth Zdrodowski of Glades Central High School in Belle Glade, Florida, points out that the literary allusions and historical connections make the show “such a fun way to peak further interest about major events or characters throughout history.” 

The respondents noted how caring the Doctor is toward his companions and the human race in general. Matthew Winner, a teacher librarian at Ducketts Lane Elementary School in Elkridge, Maryland, and author of The Busy Librarian blog, supposes that the Doctor’s “neverending compassion” might be what draws teachers and librarians to the show.  “He’s always been portrayed as a character whose constant surprise toward the admirable qualities of the human race draws him closer and closer to the species,” says Winner. “He does, after all, find us the one race in all of the galaxy worth saving.”

How Are Teachers and Librarians Like Doctor Who?

Winner ties in the Doctor’s compassion with how teachers and librarians feel toward their students. “No matter what trouble, embarrassment, or otherwise threatening situation our students find themselves in, we are constantly compelled to help out…because we see the hope in each and every one of them.”

Gibrich notes that just as the Doctor “brings out the best” in his companions, “librarians have a little bit of the Doctor quality because if we’re any good, we can be what teens need the most and bring out the best in them…”

“For librarians,” says Jensen, “there are no meaningless stories or people, something which the Doctor speaks about often: ‘You know that in 900 years I have never met anybody that wasn’t important.'”

Compassion, the desire to help, and recognizing the importance of others aren’t the only qualities teachers and librarians share with the Doctor. When I asked a high school English teacher  to compare educators with the Doctor, she noted their shared love of learning new things:

“How are teachers like Doctor Who? I’d be flattering myself if I drew very many comparisons between myself and The Doctor, but I will say that any teacher worth their salt is going to share The Doctor’s love for learning new things. A perfect example is that when he is confronted with a new and terrifying monster, he does not react like most people would by running – he usually quips something like ‘Oooh – look at you!  You’re gorgeous!’  English teachers and librarians are like that with books. Big and ‘scary’ or intimidating books that others shy away from appear as opportunities for learning to us.”—Jennifer Hall, Glades Central Community High School, Belle Glade, Florida

How Are Libraries Like the TARDIS?

Along with a companion or two, the Doctor goes on civilization-saving adventures through time and space in a ship called the TARDIS that looks like a blue British police box. A running joke in the series is about how the TARDIS is bigger on the inside. (It even has a swimming pool!) Several respondents noted how just like the TARDIS, libraries are bigger on the inside, especially since the books they contain can transport you to other worlds. And, libraries house so many other resources besides books. Here is my favorite response I received when I asked, how is a library like the TARDIS? —

“You can always find something unexpected in the TARDIS. While we may not have swimming pools in our libraries, we have many things you would never think of. For example, there are libraries that loan out tools and cake pans and even prom dresses. And if a library doesn’t have what you need, the friendly staff will help you find out who does and print out a map to get you there.”— Jan LaRoche, Young Adult Librarian of Moline Public Library, Moline, Illinois



Yum! I guess I can combine all three of my loves! Check out this chocolate Dalek and TARDIS for library parties celebrating Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary. (photo used with permission by Teen Librarian Toolbox)

On November 23rd, BBC will be airing a 50th anniversary special called The Day of the Doctor. It will be broadcast in several countries, including the US. Many libraries and schools are celebrating with parties, classroom activities and more. If you’d like to host a Doctor Who event at your school or library, Teen Librarian’s Toolbox has a Doctor Who Central with resources and information.

You can also check out the Google Doc and other links on The Busy Librarian’s blog post, WHO Loves Libraries (#SaveTheDay).

And, Nerd Craft Librarian has nifty Doctor Who craft ideas, such as how to make a bow tie (because bow ties are cool!)

Watch a NerdyCast on Doctor Who and Education

The Busy Librarian also has a NerdyCast in which teacher/technology curriculum specialist and author of The Nerdy Teacher blog, Nick Provenzano, has a conversation with educators Sherry Gick and Matthew Winner on Doctor Who and education.

Research Doctor Who in ProQuest

Are you doing a classroom project on Doctor Who? If so, check out our eLibrary Research Topic, Doctor Who, for newspaper articles, transcripts, vintage photographs and more. Also, explore the genre of Science Fiction in SIRS.

Share with Us!

If you are doing something special in your school or library for the anniversary and would like to share with us, please let us know on Facebook or Twitter @ProQuest! Also, feel free to contact me if you’d like to see the questions I asked along with the complete list of responses.