GVRL Success Stories

Librarian Uses Virtual Reference Solution to Engage Students and Teachers on Sizable Campus

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 Read More…

Gale Virtual Reference Library Supports Digital Literacy in a “Gold Medal” School

Students and educators at Rhode Island’s Barrington High School have good reason to be proud. Barrington recently received a gold medal in U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best High Schools ranking, placing in the top 500 based on highest college readiness, among 19,400 schools nationwide. Barrington Library Media Specialist and K–12 Library Department Head Suzanne Costa has first-hand knowledge of students’ college readiness skills.

The library’s program — which features the reliable content, robust search tools, and friendly interface of the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) — plays an integral role in helping students become digitally literate.

In this Success Story, you’ll read how GVRL supports development of students’ information and digital literacy by providing easy-to-use, but powerful, search features and access to thousands of authoritative e-resources covering virtually every academic, scholarly, and professional discipline. You’ll also see how teachers collaborate with librarians to build GVRL into their courses’ curriculum.

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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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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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GVRL Supports Eager High School Students Across the Disciplines

Connie Young puts her twenty-three years of experience as an English teacher to good use at Frontier High School (FrHS) in Bakersfield California, where she’s in her seventh year as a teacher librarian. Before coming to FrHS, Connie used reference products from Gale, so she was pleased to inherit a small but well-conceived Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) collection, which she has continually expanded.
GVRL’s intuitive interface and powerful search features help Frontier’s students–many of whom have little or no library training find what they need, and its citation tools enable students to document their sources with ease. Furthermore, students can access GVRL at school or from the convenience of their home computers, which promotes their engagement with their course work.

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