TSLAC Seeks $8.4 Million From State to Help School Libraries Address STEM, College Readiness Needs
Microsoft Poll: Students pursue STEM degrees when they enjoy books and activities on the subject.
A Priority Exceptional Item is up for discussion during the 85th Legislative Session. According to Cindy Buchanan, it directly affects Aldine ISD students. The legislature returned to Austin on Jan. 10.
Buchanan is the program director of library media services. The item in question falls under “Affordable E-Resources for Education and Workforce Readiness.”
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is seeking $8.4 million over the biennium. The funds will address the growing need for quality, online resources. TSLAC specifically wants to increase resources in STEM areas. This will support high school and college curriculum and public demand. The acronym STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Key Factors to Consider
- Libraries play a vital role in education and communities. They provide digital resources and experiences to learners of all ages. A recent Pew study found that Americans equate libraries with information. Americans also see libraries as a places with the tools needed to get information in the digital age.
- Now more than ever, Texans need access to broad educational resources. This will help them fill the growing number of STEM jobs. Libraries are cost-efficient and effective. They provide wholesale learning opportunities for a large number in communities.
- Libraries need quality and current e-content resources. This is especially so in the areas of science and technology. These resources are among the most expensive and needed in libraries, schools and colleges.
- Microsoft sponsored a Harris Poll on STEM (Perceptions: Student & Parent Survey). The study looked at why college students in technology fields selected a STEM degree. The top reason was because they enjoyed games, books and activities focused on STEM.
- Each year, digital resources in libraries are used tens of millions of times over. Millions of documents are downloaded. The demand for reliable, digital content is increasing each year.
How Aldine ISD Students Benefit From Using TexQuest
- Students use TexQuest articles, videos, audio files, images and eBooks for homework, school projects, and research as well as to pursue personal interests.
- TexQuest is available to students anytime, anywhere. Ask your campus information literacy specialist (librarian) how to login.
- TexQuest resources can be translated into many languages.
- TexQuest provides reliable resources.
- Students get a head start on digital content they will be expected to use in college and the workplace. Acquiring knowledge and applying critical thinking skills results in higher grades. It also provides a solid foundation for life after graduation.
The funding would reinforce TexQuest shared online content in the core areas. There would be an emphasis on technology.
How big of an impact would this mean to school districts like Aldine?
“Through statewide licensing, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission can leverage the State‘s purchasing power through TexShare and TexQuest (two digital resource programs),” said Buchanan. “This can turn a few cents per capita into almost $40 million worth of STEM e–books Texans can use at school, home or work.
“Basically, through the TSLAC, school libraries get the resources for 1/10th of the cost. Let me use a simple example to point out the difference. Instead of a library paying $114,000 to access these resources, the invoice would be less than $600. That is a huge difference in cost. Especially if you take into account every library in a district. The leverage TSLAC provides saves taxpayer funds.”
One individual who supports school libraries is Denisse Córdova. The MacArthur High School student placed second in the National History Day. While she had placed in district, regional and state events before, the 2016 contest marked Denisse’s first national win. Denisse competed in her favorite category: Individual Website category. Her award-winning project centered on Ada Lovelace and the beginnings of computing. She’s been competing in science and history fairs since your middle school years.
“Without the online resources Aldine ISD libraries provide, I wouldn’t be able to do the complex, yet exciting and rewarding work I take on,” said Denisse. “Digital content has arguably been the most important contributor to all my research, whether it be scientific, historical, or social. These resources have helped me pursue my interests and understand unfamiliar concepts. I‘ve also learned to evaluate the logic and credibility of the relevant sources that I find after searching through, sometimes, hundreds of pieces of material. These are skills that I will definitely need for college–level work and, later, the workplace.”
Talk to your campus information literacy specialist (ILSs) at your child’s school library. Find out more about the resources libraries provide. The ILSs can also share how you can help support student learning.
School libraries and librarians make a difference. International and national research proves this. Libraries provide a difference to the educational outcome of students.