Gale Efficacy

Librarian Uses Digital Collection to Provide Higher-Quality Learning Experience for Students

Kristin Douglas, one of three librarians and seven paraprofessionals at Hempfield High School in Pennsylvania’s Dutch country, knows that the key to being able to teach and support students is having a well-staffed library.

She also knows exactly what she’s up against when it comes to students’ online expectations. As the district transitions from a print to cloud-based library collection, Douglas and her colleagues understand the library will be compared to popular online destinations students have become accustomed to using outside the classroom. It means part of Douglas’ job is to break poor student research habits and replace them with behaviors that will help students excel regardless of whether they plan to attend college.
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Opposing Viewpoints in Context Serves as Student’s “Go To” Resource for College and Beyond

Tyler Hitchcock is a Government and Economics major at Central Michigan University — with plans to get a Master’s in Public Administration and a goal of working for the Michigan Department of State — and he works full time. Tyler attends school in the evenings, taking classes both online and on campus. To save time when he works on papers and research projects, his primary “go
to” resource is Gale’s Opposing Viewpoints in Context (OVIC).

OVIC delivers curriculum-aligned reference content, including more than 10,000 topic overviews and 13,000+ pro/con viewpoints as well videos, podcasts, maps, and expert-chosen full-text articles. OVIC’s comprehensiveness and ease of use are good matches for Tyler’s busy schedule. Tyler appreciates that OVIC’s search features streamline his efforts.

In addition to supporting Tyler in his coursework, OVIC’s informed and diverse viewpoints engage him in thinking critically. He notes: “Just reading the abstracts of the first results sparks analysis of how various authors view the issue, encourages you to draw your own conclusions, and gets you thinking about how to integrate different perspectives into a cohesive paper.”

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World History in Context Brings the Past into Focus for Danish Students

Tue Gaston is a librarian at Borupgaard Gymnasium, a college preparatory school in Ballerup, Denmark that prepares students for advanced academic study.

Tue was introduced to Gale databases when he began working at the library, which has a subscription to several In Context online knowledge portals (World History, Biography, Opposing Viewpoints, Global Issues, and Science) as well as the Literature Resource Center and Contemporary Authors: Contemporary Literary Criticism® Select. He quickly became an advocate for their use.

World History in Context in particular is front and center in many of his interactions with students. This online portal provides access to an overview of the most-studied events, periods, cultures, civilizations, religions, conflicts, wars, ideologies, cultural movements, people, and more — reaching back to the ancient world and forward to today’s headlines. Rare primary sources, reliable references, and multimedia content put world history into context for students as they complete their assignments.

In this success story, you’ll see how Gale’s powerful, easy-to-use search features help students develop information literacy as they access high-quality, credible resources through their online research. You’ll also learn how Tue’s students broaden their horizons and build critical thinking skills through exposure to World History in Context’s varied resources, including rare primary sources, multimedia content, news items, and more.
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Usage Increases as Librarian Repeatedly Exposes Students to Digital Resources

Daniel Russo, LRC Director at Batavia High School just west of Chicago, sees the library as a conduit between students and the resources they need to grow intellectually. However, what sets Russo’s library apart is its mission to emphasize the virtual resources available to students. As Russo’s digital collection has grown, he cites Cengage Learning’s Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), a cloud-based platform that provides digital research and educational resources to libraries, as a prime example of a tool designed to engage and maintain student attention. “I love Gale products,” Russo said. “They’re just so spot-on and exactly what students need.”

Russo is particularly impressed with two aspects of Gale’s digital platform. First, the products are visually appealing, which helps attract and keep student attention. Second, GVRL allows educators to acquire materials that range in difficulty and meet the needs of individual students.

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Librarian Convinces Teachers to Trust Digital Reference Assets

Teri Richardson, librarian at Washingtonville High School in New York, once struggled to convince teachers, who were initially hesitant to let their students use digital library materials, that these offerings are trusted sources and of the same caliber as traditional books. Furthermore, she has the responsibility of persuading students to use the web more responsibly and to properly cite high-quality sources appropriate for their assignments.

It took two years, but Richardson says once reluctant teachers are now advocates of the library’s digital materials. Richardson credits Cengage Learning’s Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL), a cloud-based platform that provides digital research and educational resources to libraries, with helping them to see the benefit of digital reference assets. She said, “Every time I show a class how it works, the teachers are impressed with all of the information available.”

She says GVRL has empowered the district to achieve another of the library’s goals: to teach students to become responsible users of web resources. GVRL has changed the way students complete their research assignments and positively impacted the quality of their work. Richardson says students are now less reliant on Internet searches since they have access to everything
they need in the Gale databases. After teaching students how to properly research their papers, Richardson says she often receives encouraging feedback from teachers.
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GVRL Pleases Patrons, Young and Old, in Santa Clara County Library District

Lora Cokolat is a Collection Development and Reading Librarian for the Santa Clara County Library District, working in the District’s Services and Support Center in Campbell, California. Lora purchases e-books, DVDs, book club kits, and e-magazines to support patrons who use the district’s seven libraries and two bookmobiles. Part of the District’s mission is to provide diverse resources on a wide variety of subjects and viewpoints, and to help people use those resources—a task right up the alley of the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL).
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Librarians Bridge Access and Availablility Gaps with Technology

Part of any librarian’s job is to provide access to information people may not immediately know they need, exists, or is accessible. Amy Calhoun, Virtual Branch Coordinator at the Sacramento Public Library, understands this challenge as well as anyone. It’s why she and her counterpart Laurie Willis, an Electronic Resources Librarian at the San Jose Public Library, both set out to find a solution designed to ensure people would have access to information when and where it was needed. Expanding her library’s science-related content and making sure the information was current quickly became a priority. Likewise, Willis was Read More…

Librarians Overcome Distance and Tradition with Virtual Reference Material Solution

Terry Beck, the Information Services Manager for Sno-Isle Libraries north of Seattle, knows firsthand how to deal with logistical nightmares. Beck is responsible for serving approximately 697,000 people in two counties across twenty-one community libraries. To complicate matters further, Beck lacks a central or main library location from which to work and was quickly running out of room for reference materials. When Beck began searching for a digital solution she encountered some resistance to virtual reference materials from librarians who were loyal to traditional print materials. That changed quickly though once Beck’s coworkers were introduced to a digital solution Read More…

Aurora Public Library Encourages Staff and Patrons to “Think Gale”

Public libraries play an important role in their communities, and they take their roles seriously. Case in point: Aurora Public Library (Aurora) in Illinois, which is dedicated to “supporting lifelong learning and access to information, knowledge, and ideas.” That’s no small task. Fortunately, the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is front and center in helping Aurora achieve its goals — offering patrons easy, quick access to informational resources covering the spectrum of subject areas, even when they’re not at the library.
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Educators Embrace Technology to Verify Digital Resource Quality

Lauren Stokes, the Virtual Library Manager at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library, works to ensure that the 1.2 million people served by the twenty-five libraries in her county not only have access to but are using the district’s investment of digital resources.

To accomplish her goal, Stokes first had to convince educators and customers the library’s digital offerings were of the same quality as its print collection. Convincing educators and students the library’s databases were equivalent to its print materials would turn into a multi-year effort. Ironically, the same technology educators were initially skeptical of would ultimately be what persuaded them to become digital advocates.

Stokes credits an innovative feature for converting educators into advocates of Cengage Learning’s Gale suite of products, a cloud-based offering that provides digital content, tools, and services to libraries. “The ability to actually see the book was key…. When that feature came out, teachers and students could actually see the book and realized the digital version they were looking at was the same thing as the print version on the shelf.”

The innovation, combined with an outreach effort aimed at educating schools about the library’s digital resources, resulted in an avalanche of support and dramatically increased usage. Stokes now routinely sees monthly usage spikes when students are assigned big homework projects.

In this Gale success story, you’ll learn how Gale’s suite of products have helped educators and library users discover that digital content can be just as good as what they’d find in the library’s physical collection.

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