Community Resources as Part of the School Library Collection
Hammond, Jennifer, Library Philosophy and Practice
"A collection...provides access to human and material resources in the local and global community." Phyllis Van Orden, The Collection Program in Schools, p. 11.
As school librarians and media specialists collaborate with classroom teachers and assist them in finding relevant materials for resource-based learning, the use of both material resources and human resources from the community can be invaluable. Accessing resources within the community can make learning more relevant to students and enable them to see a connection between the curriculum and the real world. Establishing community resource collections also results in stronger business and community partnerships with the school.
There are three things to consider when adding community resources to the library collection:
1. Determine which community resources would be most beneficial to the students and teachers and which resources are also accessible.
2. Organize the community resources for easiest access by the school community.
3. Publicize and promote the community resources to ensure full use by those who would benefit most.
Determining which community resources are the most beneficial can be a daunting task, especially in a large metropolitan area. The authors of A Guide to Promising Practices in Educational Partnerships, published by the U.S. Department of Education, recommend first conducting a needs assessment to determine which community resources would be of the most benefit to the school population. Rather than going overboard in accessing as many community resources as humanly possible, experiences from programs described in this volume show that it is more effective to begin in small increments, identifying key areas in the school curriculum where resources would be readily available and most useful. A school librarian can easily accomplish this through assessment surveys with teachers, administrators, students, and parents and through knowledge of the school's curriculum and student needs. Since library resources exist to meet the needs of students, it makes sense to begin this process with the students' needs.
Once the media specialist has used the surveys and other tools to create a list of the information needs of students and teachers, it is then possible to brainstorm resources beyond the walls of the school that could meet those needs. This another opportunity to ask for input from teachers, …
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Publication information: Article title: Community Resources as Part of the School Library Collection. Contributors: Hammond, Jennifer - Author. Journal title: Library Philosophy and Practice. Volume: 4. Issue: 1 Publication date: Fall 2001. Page number: Not available. © 2009 University of Idaho Library. COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group.
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