Helping to find reliable sources, librarians aid student projects

Helping to find reliable sources, librarians aid student projects


By Madison Hunter, Legacy HS, Mansfield, Texas

Librarians Michelle Spencer, Pat Chon, Pamela Pinkerton aid work in the school library from 7 a.m. to 3:15 p.m . Throughout the day, students utilize the computers, study or read the books.

An instructional aide was not Ms. Spencer’s first choice of career.

“My husband was in the military and he was rarely home,” Ms. Spencer said. “I began substituting in 2006, and my educational career sprouted from there. Now I’m trying to become a teacher.”

The librarians spend their days behind a desk with computers and scanners checking books out to the students who utilize the library for reading recreationally and academically.

“I used to think all librarians were mean because they always got onto me when I was young,” Ms. Spencer said. “Most aren’t mean at all though and if students would come in more often, they would know that.”

On Mondays the librarians stay for extended hours and students may stay from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. to study, work on projects or read. Though some students don’t go to the library willingly, Pinkerton, Chon and Spencer make sure teachers and students have everything they need for research papers and major projects.

“By the time students graduate, they need to know proper academic research,” Ms. Pinkerton said. “Finding good and reliable information is harder now.”

Legacy’s library page has numerous websites that help students find reliable information. Citation sites on the library page allow easy access to the correct citation of sources and several presentation tools. Research tools have been added to the website so that students have the most accurate information possible. The librarians ensure that students are merely a click away from any information required for a project.

“If I find something that would be a reliable site, I add it so that students will be ready to find useful information quickly and effectively,” Ms. Pinkerton said.

When iPads were issued to students, Ms. Pinkerton thought students would refer to Google and Wikipedia for answers and information. To her surprise, the database usage from the library webpage increased.

“I know they use the sources but I never see the final product unless a student comes in struggling,” Ms. Pinkerton said.

English teachers assign the most research projects of all of the core classes, and they generally have long processes in order to finish. English teacher Ms. Dorsett talks to the librarians ahead of time so they know the subjects the students will be researching. Based on the information they are given, the librarians search the shelves and pull the books that will give students the most useful information available.

“We do pretty much the same assignment every year for juniors and seniors, so the librarians have gotten the system down of pulling books,” Ms. Dorsett said. “It’s unfortunate that the students don’t get the experience of finding their own books because in college there will be no Ms. Pinkerton to pull books for them.”

The Legacy Library webpage serves as a source of reliability for students, and is carefully updated to provide students with credible sources for projects and research papers.

“It isn’t a nuisance to keep updating the site,” Ms. Pinkerton said. “Freshmen are usually the more reluctant students, but my goal is to help them, in time, realize the importance of reliable sources and not just rely on Google.”

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