Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Funding Technology for Secondary School Libraries; Those Who Did It Tell How to Find Funding for New Technology

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Funding Technology for Secondary School Libraries; Those Who Did It Tell How to Find Funding for New Technology

Article excerpt


New information technologies are badly needed in most secondary school libraries. However, building a computer-assisted media center is an expensive project that few school library budgets can handle.

Many school library media specialists do not even know where to begin to find the additional money. Others, aware that some government funding is available, find the process of applying for government assistance too confusing or intimidating.

Despite these apparent limitations, several school libraries around the country have managed to come up with the necessary dollars. The following examples include suggestions and comments offered by those resourceful, motivated librarians.

Local Support

The flow of educational funding in Massachusetts has slowed to a trickle, yet Burlington High School Library in Burlington, Massachusetts has been fortunate enough to add a new Electronic Research Room. It was possible with financial support from the local business community and School Improvement Council funds.

A consortium of local businesses in Burlington, called Best Bet, joined together to support public education. They viewed improvement of the high school library as a means of helping every student in the school system," stated Peggy Hallisey, library media specialist for Burlington High School.

The library submitted three proposals to Best Bet and was awarded a CD-ROM-based magazine index and two microfiche reader-printers. School Improvement Council awards funded the purchase of an Electronic Bookshelf station and a three-year subscription to the companion microfiche collection of full-text articles for the CD-ROM magazine index.

In addition, the library administrators submitted an appeal to the school's board of directors asking for money to complete the new research facility. The school allocated money from the computer budget to provide for access to DIALOG and the purchase of Grolier's Electronic Encyclopedia.

Federal Funds

Federal government Chapter 2 funds, officially the Chapter 2 Elementary and Secondary Education Act, can be a valuable funding source for schools. Obtaining the money usually requires the guidance of a sharp Chapter 2 district representative. "We have a conscientious and tenacious Chapter 2 representative in our district," says Jefferson City (Missouri) High School librarian, Jean Hafner. "That appears to be the magic in making grants appear."

Anne Best, librarian for East Middle School in Aurora, Colorado agrees. "Our Chapter 2 representative does a good job of keeping track of purchases, coordinating needs, and alerting us when there is unencumbered money available."

According to Arthur Allen, director of Special Education and the Chapter 2 funding coordinator for Jefferson City High School's District, teachers and administrators who have applied for Chapter 1 funds are often discouraged from applying again under Chapter 2. "Don't be," says Allen, "Chapter 1 is complicated, and funds can be used only for remedial education projects. …

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