The Library Media Center

The Role of Library Media Center

Becoming information managers and assisting students in becoming knowledge workers are new roles for teachers and media specialists. Learning with multimedia technology maximizes the time available for discussion, thinking, and creating knowledgeable responses to the data, issues, and problems (Gold, 2005).

Digital storytelling as an instructional strategy is both timeless and effective (see Chapter 14). Elementary school library media centers often take full advantage of this strategy and offer special areas for book talks, dramatic productions, story time, student-authored works, and independent free browsing, viewing, and reading. Elec- tronic storybooks on CD-ROM, books on tape, videotaped readings of popular big books, books and stories presented in other languages, pop-ups, and flip animations may all be available for enjoyment.

Living in a global village has diminished the distance between the world’s coun- tries, while simultaneously illuminating the differences among cultures. Library media centers may provide materials and resources in a variety of formats that learn- ers may access (Hauser, 2003). General reference material such as an encyclopedia (e.g., The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia by Grolier Electronic Publishing), al- manac, dictionary, thesaurus, maps, globes, and charts are all available in the digital formats of CD-ROMs and DVDs or accessible through CD-ROM networks, propri- etary Internet indices, and web servers. A library management system of digital and traditional resources may also include posters, multimedia kits, audiocassette recordings, films, videotapes, models, and microforms.

Having a shared production area available within the library media center allows both faculty and students to create and publish instructional and learning materials. Ideally, there might be two or three production areas for students, faculty, and the library media specialists. A production area might provide a scanner, digitizer, copier, printer, project templates that integrate the Internet, website creation tools, VCR, video and digital cameras, audio equipment, CD burners, web server, and comput- ers. Software would include desktop publishing; spelling and grammar editing pro- grams; clip art; font, graphics, and art programs; and multimedia and publishing tools such as Multimedia and Publishing and Teacher Productivity Tools (Teacher Street), HyperStudio (Knowledge Adventure), and mPower (Tom Snyder Produc- tions). Fully outfitted production areas might also include a darkroom facility, a multistation computer lab, and a video/audio studio with editing equipment.

The reference area should include both CD-ROM and DVD players to facilitate the many informational resources available in these formats. It should be a large, flexible space to accommodate both large- and small-group presentations and for individual research. Online electronic networks and database services might be available, as well as videoconferencing capabilities. A computer with large-screen display capabilities using media source switching should be available for instructional presentations. Some reference areas include display space for student-produced work as well as realia. In addition to CD-ROM/DVD players, the reference area might contain equipment that facilitates video and screen capture, scanning, and viewing as well as docking stations for hand-held devices (Ferguson, 2000). (Also see Chapter 1.)

Many new library media centers are being built to include either an adjacent com- puter laboratory and/or an area within the center for hands-on mathematics and sci- ence activities, including robotics such as Robolab; computer-based microscopes like the Intel Play QX3 computer; bar-code weather-gathering equipment that may include an online database and simulation materials; educational software; as well as computers, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and graphing calculators with  display capabilities. The instructional practice of using real-life models, patterns, data, and problems as the basis for learning activities is catching hold.

Having the library center’s collection available through media management sys- tems and computer terminals, which may be housed in other parts of the school as well as on site, provides faculty and learners with immediate means and the capa- bility of enhancing and/or remediating the instruction through the availability of other resources and materials. If the school library media center is a participant in a resource-sharing project with other libraries, the quantity of resources is even greater. Flexible use of space and the ability to electronically access information outside the center and school are the two key factors when designing or re-creating school library media centers (Maxwell, 2000). The library media center must house, circu- late, and distribute information in all formats to hundreds of users on a daily, hourly,

Students Prepare a Slide Presentation in the Computer Lab

Charonda and Adam sat together in front of the computer by the door in their class- room. This was their “Exploration Time” for the week, and this week’s assignment

was to explore the new software Mrs. Jaworska had shown them last week, Power- Point (Microsoft Corporation). She had said that they could use PowerPoint to make presentations, possibly for their history projects that were coming    up.

Charonda took the laminated page of activities called Try This that Mrs. Jaworska had left next to the computer for them to work with during their 30 minutes. She read the first activity out loud to Adam: “Make a new slide.”

The two continued working through the page of activities, creating a sample slide show. They reminded each other of how Mrs. Jaworska had demonstrated the pro- gram and worked together to figure out how to do the couple of things she had not shown. The last item on the Try This page required them to think of ways that they might be able to use this program in a real way.

“I think we could make some slides to show what we learned in history,” began Adam. “Maybe we could put the words we want to say on the screen and then we could just read the screen when we are talking in front of the parents. Then if we for- get what to say, we could just look up there at the screen.”

“Yeah,” said Charonda. “And maybe we could put some pictures in so it looks good. My project is on the colonists, so maybe I could find some picture of the Mayflower or of what the people looked like then. But I don’t want to wait that long to try it. I think I’m going to make a slide show tomorrow during my ‘Production Time’ or maybe when we’re in the computer lab.”

The two practiced showing their sample slide show for the rest of their time, trying to speak without looking at the screen just as Mrs. Jaworska had shown them.