Education Resources, the curriculum materials center in the LSU Libraries, reports directly to the Dean of Libraries. It is located as a special operating unit in Middleton Library, the main campus library. It supports all departments within the School of Education, but emphasis is on the teacher education program. It also supports the study of children's literature through courses in the School of Library and Information Science and the Department of English.
To a lesser degree, it provides materials for the early childhood program in the School of Human Ecology and the speech and communication disorders program in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. Students in several foreign language classes and the English Language Orientation Program also use the collection each semester.
Historically, Education Resources was developed and housed in the College of Education, but over 30 years ago it was moved to the main library when a fire occurred in the building housing the College of Education. That collection became the nucleus of the current collection. It was called the Instructional Materials Center from the early 1980's until 1995 when it became Education Resources.
The staff consists of one full-time professional librarian with over 40 years of library experience (MLS, BS in Elementary Education, School Library Certification), one full-time paraprofessional with more than ten years of library experience (BA in Psychology), and 2-3 full-time equivalent student assistants. The librarian is responsible for goals, policies, procedures, special projects, collection development and management, training initiatives, and outreach to the campus community mentioned above. A major component of outreach is library instruction for faculty and graduate students. The paraprofessional is responsible for the day-to-day operation of the department including student assistant training, scheduling, and supervision; maintenance of web pages, preparation of pathfinders and bibliographies; providing a variety of outreach activities (primarily to undergraduates) including tours of the department; and participating in collection development/management projects. Student assistants staff the service desk where they check books in and out, answer basic reference questions, and demonstrate the use of some databases. They shelve books and generally maintain the collection, work on library displays and special projects, and organize gift collections for collection development decisions.
The physical plant was expanded in 1998 and provides adequate space for both materials and patrons. It is nicely designed with cypress paneling, large windows, and an inviting view of the quad and oak trees from a second floor perspective; it attracts students from across the campus. The furnishings are of high quality and offer a variety of seating options - sofa, tables, study carrels. Computer equipment is satisfactory. The library building has wireless Internet access, and electrical access is provided in a variety of configurations throughout the department.Collection Scope and Organization
The scope and organization of the collection is governed by a detailed collection development policy which can be accessed from the Libraries' home page. Although format of materials is considered, emphasis is on content rather than format. Education Resources is made up of several sub-collections somewhat influenced by the merger of Education Resources in the main library and a children's collection in a library and information science branch library in late 1998. As a result there are four major components of the collection - Professional or classroom/teacher support materials, PreK-12 textbooks, children's content materials, and reference materials pertaining to the previously mentioned sub-collections. (A test collection is available for faculty and students in selected classes.)
The Professional sub-collection contains representative activity guides, lesson plans, PreK-12 manipulatives, kits, videos, CD-ROM's, etc. Also, included are historical materials, both ancillary and textbooks, to support research about changing course content and teaching methods. The children's content sub-collection is a core collection of children's and young adult literature selected with emphasis on award winners and a variety of genre, but also includes a leveled reading collection and historical children's books from the first half of the 20th century. A group of foreign language children's books consists of over 1000 titles in French and several hundred each in Spanish and German. There are a few titles in Russian, Greek, Chinese, Japanese, Native American, and African languages. The textbook sub-collection includes samples of textbooks adopted for use in the state of Louisiana. The reference sub-collections includes titles on such topics as selecting children's literature, conducting book talks, using the Internet in schools, locating sources of classroom projects, and teaching standards.
The collection is predominantly a traditional K-8 one, but attention is being given to adding more early childhood and upper level materials. The collection is supplemented by links to Internet resources via the online catalog, subject guides, and our Education Resources home page. Education Resources uses the Dewey Decimal Classification System for children's literature, in-house accession numbers for CD-ROM's and videos, and the Library of Congress Classification System for professional support and reference materials. Most materials are in open stacks with the exception of videos and titles vulnerable to vandalism. Materials have barcodes and circulate electronically, but the length of time varies with the sub-collection and the patron category. The range is one week to 4 weeks for undergraduate students, one week to three months for graduate students, and one month to one semester for faculty. Online renewals by patrons are possible.Information and Instructional Services
Education Resources is open 77 hours a week, seven days per week. The online catalog and a variety of electronic resources can be accessed 24 hours per day via the Internet. A public service desk is continuously staffed during operating hours. All staff (including student assistants) are rigorously trained in locating materials, answering informational questions, and accessing electronic information. Additionally, the paraprofessional gives general tours of the facility pointing out materials, policies, and services; and gives presentations and tours, which covers specific content such as math manipulatives, children's award books, storytelling, or multicultural materials. A variety of handouts supplement the tours. The librarian provides individualized instructional sessions and specialized classroom instruction to graduate students and upper level undergraduates at the request of education students and professors. Resource and searching guides supplement these services. Reference service is also provided by telephone and e-mail.
The department is used as a classroom when the structure of a traditional classroom does not provide appropriate access to the resources being studied. Specific areas of the department are designated for the exclusive use of the class. Generally, during the fall and spring semesters this is usually for one or two class sessions ranging from one to three hours each. During intersession, a class may meet all day for a week. During summer school, professors may conduct all class sessions in the department. Access varies due to the needs of the class and of other patrons using the collection.
Education Resources presents a variety of exhibitions which focus on department resources as well as issues and advocacy. Banned Books Week begins an annual, month-long focus on intellectual freedom. Examples of other exhibitions include the Giverny Award for Best Children?s Science Picture Book; Using Literature to Teach Math and Science; and Library Services to Children with Disabilities.Technology
Education Resources has three IBM compatible computers which provides access to the library's online public access catalog, the Internet, and electronic books, journals, indexes, and databases. Computer access is supplemented by the main Reference area of the library, university computer labs located in the library, and a technology lab located in the building which houses the School of Education.
The Education Resources web site - http://www.lib.lsu.edu/edu/er/index.html - is extensive, viable, and dynamic. Cataloging Internet sites has simplified patron access to supplementary resources by making appropriate web sites available through the online catalog.Collaboration
There is collaboration with the administration of the School of Education and individual education professors. For example, professors and administrators have actively participated in the selection of resources and the donation of materials, especially textbooks and/or office collections, as well as the deselection of dated materials. The librarian participates in the NCATE review both by providing information and statistics and meeting with members of the outside committee. The Louisiana Department of Education sometimes requests the assistance of the education librarian in locating sources of materials and readily provides information on developing programs at the state level. Local teachers who are aware of the collection often donate review titles or subject collections when teaching responsibilities change.
The audience targeted by Education Resources is primarily university affiliates; however, involvement in non-campus, education-related activities is encouraged by the library administration. For example, library borrowing privileges via a temporary library card which can be renewed each year are extended to Louisiana teachers and administrators who provide documentation of teaching assignments. Those teaching in the state's French immersion schools can utilize a delivery service similar to the one for distance education. The librarian often serves as the designated expert on grants written by area teachers, participates in in-service teacher training programs, and has served on the library board of the Louisiana Resource Center for Educators. The librarian acts as a consultant for local, regional, and national programs, and in that capacity has assisted a local children's museum with an exhibit and visit from a nationally known author/illustrator of children's books, and has advised the National Parks Commission on a summer multicultural program.