Kim Hooper, the Library Media Specialist at John Jay High School in Hopewell Junction, New York, feels like a small fish in a big pond at times. The school is home to more than 2,100 students and two hundred teachers. While Hooper is able to reach students during study halls and regular library walk-in hours, the sheer size of John Jay High poses logistical challenges with which even a nine-year high school library veteran like Hooper struggles.
On one hand, she confronted the logistical challenge of reaching and persuading hundreds of teachers spread across a large campus to better use virtual reference materials in the classroom. On another, she also has to convince students to use trusted virtual reference materials, rather than the less-than-reliable sources often available on the open web.
Technology has helped Hooper intelligently craft a strategy designed to increase teacher engagement. Hooper understands once teachers use Cengage Learning’s Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), a cloud-based platform that provides digital research and educational resources to libraries, they’re much more likely to experiment with and use additional Gale resources.
Increased use of the GVRL collection has also resulted in higher quality student work. “There’s been a 1,200% increase in eBook usage in the last six years,” Hooper remarked. “Students are definitely using it quite a bit.”