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Librarians not just 'book pushers'

April 14, 2001

Librarians not just 'book pushers'



By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Barbara Frankenberry remembers when VCRs were among the hottest instructional aids. Now, students and teachers are using high-tech tools she never imagined.

Frankenberry, a library media specialist at Musselman Middle School in Berkeley County, W.Va., said one just has to enter the school's library to see the effects of evolving technology.

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Students are busy zipping through automated card catalogs, creating multi-media projects and taking quizzes on the computer.

Frankenberry coordinates the equipment and performs technology-based instruction in addition to her other library duties.

Library media specialists are also certified library teachers.

In addition to high-tech equipment and books, school libraries house audio and visual tapes and CD-ROMs.

"It's very diversified," Frankenberry said. "No longer are we just book pushers. We're really open to the world now.

"But," she said, "books are still just as important."

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She said students are in the library every day working on projects and surfing educational Web sites.

Frankenberry said that not only does the technology make research faster, it also keeps the attention of students longer and encourages them to read.

"Things like that make it fun and interesting, and all of it's promoting reading," she said.

She said students in one of the sixth-grade classes at the 940-student school have read more than 700 books so far.

She'd like the library to keep on expanding its technology resources to continue to reap the rewards.

In Washington County, the Board of Education receives matching grants to keep libraries up to date. This year it is upgrading its fiction, literary, drama, poetry, reference and Character Counts collection.

Library specialists from the Chambersburg Area School District could not be reached for comment.

Roseann Fisher, Washington County's supervisor of library media services, said staff members can access library documents from home and other remote locations. She thinks school libraries will continue to improve and continue to promote student achievement.

Frankenberry would like to instill in people that libraries - whether they be for students or open to the public - can provide lifelong enrichment.

"We're trying to teach community members that we're more than just books," she said.

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