Posts Tagged ‘School Libraries’

Take the Reading Without Walls Challenge

Gene Luen Yang, who is currently serving a two-year term as the fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, created the Reading Without Walls Challenge to encourage people of all ages to read books outside their comfort zones. The challenge is simple. Yang wants readers to seek diversity through books in three ways: diversity of characters, diversity of topics, and diversity of book formats.

These are the guidelines. First, readers should choose books with characters who do not look or live like they do. Second, readers should choose books about topics they know little about. And third, readers should choose books in unfamiliar formats, so readers of chapter books, for instance, might read a graphic novel instead. A book may cover one, two, or all three of these objectives.

Reading Without Walls comes at a time when walls, both physical and invisible, threaten to divide people along geographic, socioeconomic, and political lines. These divisions are fostering distrust, misunderstanding, and an overall lack of empathy. As Yang explained in the March/April 2017 issue of Poets & Writers, “Right now it seems like—not just in America, but around the world—we need a little more empathy.” And studies show that reading builds empathy. Reading demolishes walls, opens worlds, and builds empathy one book at a time.

The Reading Without Walls Challenge can help make summer education programs successful. The Children’s Book Council has free downloads, including a Certificate of Excellence, to encourage young readers. And don’t forget to share pictures of your Reading Without Walls books on Twitter using the hashtag #ReadingWithoutWalls. We at ProQuest would love to see your Reading Without Walls photos as well. Tweet us @ProQuest.

Here are a few of my Reading Without Walls books:

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Infographic: Social Media in Schools

Infographic. Social Media in Schools

Social Media in the Classroom. Yea or Nay?

Social media use continues to grow. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, 74 percent of Internet-connected adults use social media sites. A 2015 Pew Survey found that 76 percent of teenagers ages 13 to 17 use social media, with 71 percent using more than one social media site. In schools, social media use has been slowly making inroads, thanks in large part to librarians.

Social media has become one of the greatest educational tools of all time, and yet, it goes untaught. Why? Fear of the unknown? Lack of value? The time is now for education to instead embrace this form of learning and begin, even in small ways, embedding social media lessons in all classrooms.

Don Goble, Multimedia Instructor

Social media use in schools, however, has been controversial. Some educators argue that social media literacy is essential in the twenty-first century. Others argue that social networking sites distract students and further tether them to technology. Students are contributing to the debate as well. In the April 22, 2015, issue of Education Week, high school student Katie Benmar argues that teachers should use social media to enhance learning and engage students.

I hope that educators will consider experimenting more with technology and social media in their classrooms in a way that will be intellectually challenging to students. Believe me, your students will appreciate it, even if not every attempt is successful.

–Katie Benmar, High School Student

Educators and students who want to use social media in the classroom face another obstacle: Internet filtering. According to a 2012 American Association of School Librarians survey, Internet filtering blocks social media sites 88 percent of the time, which severely limits educators’ options. Additionally, educators who request approval to bypass Internet filtering have to endure lengthy wait-times.

The main reason I’d like to try to avoid social media use is a moral one. Kids today are addicted to technology; school can, and should, remain the one safe haven where they can unplug and just be present. Do we really want to give them another reason to be ‘connected?’

–Gail Leicht, Eighth-Grade Language Arts Teacher

Overall, however, social media use in schools is increasing. How quickly will social media be integrated into the classroom? Will the disparate use of social media in schools contribute to the digital divide? Answers to these questions remain to be seen.

Do you think social networking sites have a place in schools? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @ProQuest or in the comments below.

SIRS Leading Issue: Web 2.0 by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

SIRS Leading Issue: Web 2.0
by ProQuest LLC via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher

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