School-library partnership gives students access to online resources
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Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014

School-library partnership gives students access to online resources

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/30/12/47/LSw6A.Em.138.jpeg|194
    - COURTESY OF NANCY WATTS
    Kim Busch, back, in blue, a sixth-grade English language arts teacher at Lakeshore Middle School, talks to students during an assembly in the school library about the online electronic book files and other programs available at the Mooresville Public Library.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/01/30/12/47/1oWTbA.Em.138.jpeg|234
    - COURTESY OF NANCY WATTS
    Kim Busch, back left, in blue, a sixth-grade English language arts teacher at Lakeshore Middle School, and Lakeshore library media specialist Joan Milliken, right, talk to students about the online electronic book files and other programs available at the Mooresville Public Library during an assembly in the school library.

Kim Busch has spent most of her 27-year career not only teaching children how to read, but instilling in them a love of reading and how the local library can help.

Now, Busch has come up with a program that helps students have access to the library's programs and resources with the help of modern technology.

Busch, a sixth-grade English language arts teacher at Lakeshore Middle School, came up with a community partnership program between the school and the Mooresville Public Library.

The program, still in its infancy, provides students at Lakeshore Middle with library cards and instruction on how to use them. That will give the students access to thousands of digital book files – called e-books – that can be downloaded and read on laptop computers and electronic tablets like iPads.

The timing of the Lakeshore Middle-Mooresville Public Library project is fortuitous, especially since Iredell-Statesville Schools is set to use part of a $20 million grant it was recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Education to equip all of its middle and high school students and teachers with laptop computers.

“There’s over 10,000 books that would be available,” on the Mooresville library’s servers, according to Busch.

“Their parents don’t necessarily have to drive them to the library,” to have access, Busch added. “But we’re also going to talk with them about the great programs the library does have.”

The idea for the program came to Busch when she was reading a book on her tablet.

“I've always been involved with English language arts and literacy,” Busch said. “One of the things I've been involved with recently is getting struggling readers engaged in reading, and finding books they can get interested in.

“The light bulb went off for me when I was reading a book on my Kindle. I thought, ‘Wow, what a great way to engage readers.’”

With the help of her husband and fellow teacher, Jon Busch – an Advanced Placement instructor in U.S. history at Lake Norman High – Kim Busch approached officials at the Mooresville Public Library.

“My husband and I are always at the library,” Busch said. “So we asked them if this would be something they might be interested in doing. They said ‘Absolutely. … What a great partnership opportunity this would be.'”

To get the project rolling, Busch and Joan Milliken, a library media specialist at Lakeshore Middle, met with all the school’s students during grade-level assemblies in the school library before the Christmas break.

During the meetings, Busch and Milliken talked about the online resources and other programs available at the Mooresville Public Library. They also handed out library card application forms to take home and return with their parents’ signature.

“We couldn't believe the response,” Busch said. “Out of 525 students, we had at least 80 percent of them return the forms before Christmas. … And we had other kids who were like ‘I forgot to bring (the forms) in; can I still bring it in?’”

Mooresville Public Library employees were scheduled to issue the library cards to students, as well as provide instructions on how to access the library’s e-book online servers and the other programs, during another assembly in late January.

Apparently, the school-library partnership may extend beyond Lakeshore Middle and the Mooresville Public Library.

“It kind of opens up a whole new world for them,” said Busch, who has already been in touch with her counterparts at the other Iredell-Statesville Schools’ middle schools about establishing similar programs.

“It engages them. Kids are very technology-focused, and it was just a really neat way to get them into books.”

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Bill? Email him at bkisercltobs@gmail.com.

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