Gale Success Stories

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…

Gale’s Analytics On Demand Helps Alabama Library Chart the Path Ahead

Sue DeBrecht is Director of the Emmet O’Neal Library in the municipality of Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama with 20,000 residents. Sue loves information, and Gale’s Analytics On Demand — a data solution that helps libraries quickly and easily learn more about their users and their communities — provides a wealth of it. Emmet O’Neal turned to Analytics On Demand to gain a more granular view of patrons and potential patrons than other sources of demographic data can provide.
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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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Evanston Public Library Enhances Patrons’ Experience with Gale’s Vast Online Resources

Lesley Williams is Head of Adult Services at the Evanston Public Library (EPL) in Evanston, Illinois. In the 18 years that she has worked there, the library has continually subscribed to products from Gale. Today, as a primary “go to” resource for the library’s broad range of patrons, the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is instrumental in helping EPL fulfill its mission. That mission is to be the heart of the community, promoting the development of independent, self-confident, and literate citizens by providing open access to cultural, intellectual, technological, and informational resources.
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High School Students Build Information Literacy with Help from Student Resources in Context

Kathy Krepps, Myles Laffey, Kerrin Riley, and Leah Giarritano, Teaching Librarians at Hinsdale Central High School, were seeking comprehensive, relevant, and easy-to-use databases for an Information Literacy program geared at equipping students with vital research and citation skills.

Student Resources in Context (SRIC) from Gale is one of two databases used exclusively by the school for the Information Literacy curriculum. SRIC’s approach to organization via portals allows students to efficiently search and narrow down resources within a particular topic, helping them build academic-level research skills while enabling them to avoid information overload. Many students who have experienced SRIC in the Information Literacy program choose to use it for other assignments instead of open-web resources.

Though the Information Literacy curriculum is only two years old, Hinsdale Central’s teachers and librarians are already starting to see improved outcomes in students. Hinsdale Central’s student assessments have shown improved scores and the librarians are hearing anecdotal evidence from teachers as well.
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