Blogging Challenge for School Librarians, Day 17
What type of supplies and materials do you provide for students? How do you fund these items? Do your students/staff expect you to supply materials?
There are several "answers" to this question for our library program...I've definitely detected a pattern that there is never an easy answer to these prompts!
For typical information-resource needs (if there is such a thing), our library provides an aged-but-I'm-working-on-it collection of books and periodicals supporting as many areas of the curriculum as we can muster. As mentioned on Day 15, I definitely have an ongoing list of desired books that would strengthen the massive holes in my current collection. The sparse collection of periodicals I have are either free from the state (Alabama Heritage), donations from parents (hunting/fishing magazine...and yes, I strip out any questionable pics or ads), and the few I can get with Scholastic dollars after a book fair. The only issue I have with that is a personal belief that one publisher shouldn't dominate a collection, but these are desperate times and it is what it is.
After nearly 6 years of being drastically reduced or completed zeroed out, a renewal of state funds for school libraries would certainly help improve this, and quickly.
Students and teachers have 24-hour access to cutting edge and professionally refereed research through the state's virtual library. The Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) is a truly fantastic collection of resources that I promote with teachers and students every single chance I have. Although a log in was required in the past, now devices are geo-authenticated which encourages even greater use of these resources. Though we do have access to other databases in my district such as Nettrekker for example, still the AVL is the absolute best tool for Alabama residents of any station in life, not just for academic use.
Overdrive is another resource currently provided for our district to allow checkout of ebooks and audio books on their personal devices. I have very strong/mixed feelings about this tool, probably best left unsaid, but we do have it to offer to students and teachers.
Reading supplies for my student book club, which meets twice each week for about an hour total, are provided through small sets of Scholastic Guided Reading leveled readers. In middle school I throw those levels by the wayside and instead put all of my focus on matching readers to books that interest them. In a community hard hit by the recession, I wouldn't dare expect my students or their parents to purchase copies of books at this point in time. I'll never forget the moment when the students who had signed up (about 30) visibly sighed in relief when I told them I wouldn't ask them to buy anything in order to participate.
Any lesson materials for which I am primarily facilitating, such as crayons/colored pencils/markers/chart paper, are provided. Tech resources such as refurbished computers, Nooks, and access to the Nearpod software are newish and provided by a combination of local school funds, board-level funds, and grants I've written.
For staff members, we provide printing and laminating services as close to free as we can get it. Students can print anything for .10 per sheet. Network access is provided in the library's bank of computers for teachers who are having issues with connection or access in their own rooms. We also have a Cricut for cutting out letters and designs teachers need for displays or lessons. Some teachers never use those, and others use them quite a bit. We also have a backup copier (ancient...I'm talking maybe 10 sheets per minute) for which teachers can pay .25 per page.
As far as expectations go, there has never been any issue with the kids. The only real challenge we have at all is when a teacher here or there abuses copy privileges, expecting class sets of items (over multiple times a day or week) without being willing to cover those charges.