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.
Besides showing students how to properly cite and organize the materials they find on GVRL, Russo says the platform allows educators to intervene in real time should they identify weaknesses in a student’s research process. Students are also treated to a customized package of virtual reference material when working in Russo’s library.
Furthermore, the Gale platform allows librarians like Russo to monitor database usage and adjust accordingly. With Gale statistics, Russo can even see when students are accessing the databases, which helps him demonstrate to school administration that databases are really being utilized and impacting student learning.