North Callaway schools look to advance library, media services

— A series of reports at Thursday night’s North Callaway School Board meeting included an update from new district librarian/media specialist Justin Hamm regarding his plans to improve services to students, particularly when it comes to technology.

Hamm started off by telling the board North Callaway has a great atmosphere for reading in its K-8 buildings.

“The teachers do such a phenomenal job with modeling and making kids care about reading,” Hamm said, noting that Williamsburg Elementary has seen the number of students meeting reading incentive goals for the first semester go up from 75 percent last year to 100 percent this year.

He said he is currently working on a media skills curriculum for grades K-8, with an emphasis in material selection skills, research and media literacy.

“We’re teaching the kids how to be good selectors of information,” Hamm said.

As that program continues, he said he also is working on a technology program for the lower grades, with specified technology time each week for all students.

“What we’re doing isn’t the ultimate answer for what we want to be doing, but it’s a step forward,” Hamm said.

Another goal is to help students gain greater access to some of the resources they are learning how to use. He said the district is working with the Daniel Boone Regional Library to do a library card drive and work to possibly bring other DBRL programs to the schools.

“We want to expand their access to information,” Hamm said. “I’m hoping to do author hosting and literary events.”

Some of Hamm’s other future goals/plans for district libraries include:

•Developing an in-house program similar to Good Reads for student and staff use.

•Pursuing electronic resources for students, including digital devices.

•Developing a peer-to-peer tutoring program in the high school library.

•Encouraging students to make better use of district databases and other resources.

•Updating the non-fiction collection at the high school library — the average publication date of the books in that section is currently 1986.

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