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District gets $141K on-line library

August 03, 2011 - Leaning just became a little bit easier with the addition of on-line reference material.

Oxford Community Schools Board of Education approved the purchase of the Gale Virtual Reference Library for $141,315 at their meeting on Monday, July 25.

The reference library will be paid in three annual installments of $47,105, with payments due this year and the next two years.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Dr. James Schwarz, the reference library will give the students and teachers in classrooms across the district instant access to supplemental material, such as electronic books (E-books) and periodicals, when needed.

"When they are looking at certain resources to accompany a specific topic, it will be right there at their fingertips, on demand," Schwarz said.

"It gives more of an immediate access to information than otherwise having to bring the class together, go down to the media center, investigate and come back," he added. "It's a huge timesaver."

Strategic initiative director Tim Throne said the online library was going to enhance the district's idea to have "hybrid classrooms" in all grades within the district.

A hybrid classroom is a combination of online and traditional classroom instruction. For example, instead of students taking notes through lectures, they can learn more effectively by using case studies, self-tests, tutorials and online group projects.

"What we said, going all the way back to (the) Project ReImagine Grant, was we wanted every class in our district that was face-to-face to become a hybrid class," Throne said.

"Not only do you receive face-to-face instruction, but you also have the same class online," he added. "These virtual assets (from Gale Virtual Reference Library) would be referenced in that online class."

Not only will students and teachers have instant access to the materials, Schwarz indicated it should offset costs of supplemental instruction.

"Historically we have always purchased in paperback form or hardbound form...having online access to this helps save supplemental costs," Schwarz said.

Once the three payments are made, as long as the district continues to add E-books to their online library, there should not be any charge for the service, according to Schwarz.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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