Library projects for promoting literacy and knowledge of different types of writing and media are excellent ways for librarians--professional and student helpers--to foster the love of learning among high school students. Through displays, book fairs, and targeted web sites, high school libraries can increase students' engagement in the library.
Promoting Literacy Display
Promoting literacy is especially important since students tend to find the printed page boring, books cumbersome, and sometimes of little or no use. Students often ask, "When will I use this?" A display showing how information in textbooks and other technical books relates to general life and specific job skills is a good way to help them accept books in print. Connecting paper books with online study courses, ebooks as supplements to existing hardcover or paperback books might result in higher library usage, increased study time, and increased time spent in silent reading.
Writers for Adolescents
One project could highlight specific authors of popular fiction and writers whose sole focus is the adolescent reader. A book fair of books by specific authors for adolescents could be organized around different genres. For instance, three or four books by writers of suspense novels could be displayed on a table next to writers of books centered around real life issues. If the school library includes books from the New York Times bestseller list, then those books could also be displayed. The distinction needs to be clear, however, because writers for adolescents have a style and aim for drawing in teens that writers of popular fiction do not. An excellent source for writers for teens is the Newberry Medal home page. An interesting display would be to juxtapose Newberry Medalists with those who have won the Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes for literature.
Web sites created by high school libraries can provide practical assistance to students. Lexington High School in Lexington, Massachusetts provides a web page devoted solely to research. They give guides to online resources such as databases and ebooks/references, and include links to community libraries. This focus on research includes peer tutors to assist those who are struggling with the process and use of online resources for completing a research paper. Information about the library and a link for "Ask a Librarian" are also available. The Mission High School Library web page includes pictures of recent releases as well as a link to Follett Online Library Catalog. Additionally, there is a link for Discovery Education Streaming where study resources are available online. The bulk of information is found in a resource section. It includes college and career information, opportunities for community service, and a web forum. Included also is a list of various academic areas.
Common Elements in High School Library Web Sites
The most common features on all of the web pages listed above are links to online databases and community libraries, tabs across the top for navigating the web site, and general information such as operating hours or contacting the librarian. The purpose of each web site seems to be providing variety of information from general reading to specific study skills.
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