Once upon a summer, dearie...
No word was uttered to the librarian
What ho! "A contemporary poetry project right away?"
Oh, no! One hundred scholars! The search is lost
Don't despair 'cause Access Pennsylvania can
make it happen!
The students they cheered; the teacher was gladdened,
The books they came in droves and dozens,
The Marian examined and evaluated what resources had come,
She ordered these books and copy-cataloged them, too!
Thanks to Access PA, everything happened lickety-split,
To me, the service of ACCESS PA has improved and expanded vital connections between my patrons and me.
I have ordered books on grief for a friend who had lost her husband.
I have found copies of materials our associate pastor has used for reference in her sermons.
I have taught homeschooling parents how to use the wealth of ACCESS to augment their teaching materials.
I have seen a young boy's eyes shine as he tells me how he and his father explored the world of engines and turbines from his ILL book.
I have ordered materials to aid in the emotional healing of a teacher who was critically injured in an automobile accident.
I have even satisfied the intellectual curiosity of my husband on occasion!
I have provided Seniors with materials to complete their Senior Projects, helped debate teams hone their theses arguments, surprised our Data teacher with the 3 day speed of obtaining a text she needed., and enriched the curriculum units of many other teachers.
I make THEM look good!
And, for all the materials my budget can't afford and my brain can't foresee to order, ACCESS PA makes ME look good too!
When a few very inquisitive second grade students appeared in our library in search of books about crystals, we did not have enough books about crystals to go around. We had only one. Eagerly, these students stood in line hoping to be the lucky one to check out this only book about crystals. This is where our job began! We knew these students were genuine in their search for books about crystals so where else could we turn but to ACCESS PA.
Our search in ACCESS brought a wonderful out-of-print book our way! The book was entitled Snowflakes, Sugar, and Salt : Crystals Up Close by Chu Maki. This book flourished in popularity and quickly rose to the top of the “most wanted” list in this second grade class. One little girl brought a smile to our faces and made us chuckle when she walked into our library and asked if she may check out the book her classmate had. “You know,” she said, “the one where you can make the diamonds!” “I’m going to ask my mom to help me make the diamonds!” This was when we realized we borrowed a “gem” of a book! Thanks ACCESS PA!
ACCESS PA has proven to be an invaluable resource to me and to the students and faculty I serve at Canon-McMillan High School, Canonsburg, PA. From December 2000 until November 2002, I operated the school library from a trailer. Due to construction/renovation of the high school, the library was relocated to a trailer. I went from 20,000 volumes to 2,000 volumes, from accomadating sixty students to barely squeezing in 28. Yet, I still found a way to get books into the hands of 1,300 students and 90 faculty members. I never turned down a teacher or a lesson because I did not have the "right" books. ACCESS PA allowed me to search the State of PA for materials! I could complete an ILL or drive to the public library with a list of titles in my hand. I borrowed books on careers, health issues, ecology, Russian history, and poetry. Without ACCESS PA and its policy of resource sharing, I would have found it a long and ardurous rocess to locate the materials I needed. Thanks ACCESS PA!
At Pottsgrove High School Library, our experience with Access PA has been overwhelmingly positive. At a time when many school districts are experiencing budget cuts, Access PA offers students resources that would otherwise not be available. We depend heavily on Access PA when our students are working on their senior research paper, especially when a student picks an obscure title and/or author. For example, one of our students wrote a paper on how Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent influenced the Unabomber. The majority of information existing on this topic was accessible via the internet but our student was limited in the number of internet sources he could cite. We needed one last book and it is not an exaggeration to say we were getting desperate! Enter Penn State University, Abington, who came through with Unabomber: A Desire to Kill, a much needed resource that was used to complete the bibliography. Without Access PA, our student could not have successfully completed this paper, which is a graduation requirement. (By the way, he got a 98!) We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful resource at our fingertips.
As a result of budget crunching I have become a part time librarian and part time reading specialist in a rural high school grades 7-12. Sometimes I feel that I am the scattered pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, but when all the pieces come together I feel so complete. A crucial piece is Access Pennsylvania.
My limited resources expand so that I can provide materials for advanced academic students, easier books for learning support students, and technical materials for vocational students. A staff member enrolled in a university two hours away requests professional sources for her doctoral studies. Our reading competition teams need books that are out of print. They are graciously lent for a few months at a time. Social studies students are amazed that whole books are written about certain historical events that are only mentioned in a few paragraphs from their textbooks.
An essential part of Access Pennsylvania success is the librarians. They are patient and compassionate to my circumstances. They permit me renewals and late returns. Our limited library now seems as vast as the largest library in the state. Thank you for providing our patrons with unlimited educational opportunities.
" Eating the Alphabet"
It must have sounded like a good idea to the kindergarten teacher, but it had an unexpected result. The class was "eating the alphabet" and when they got to "p" our patron's little girl discovered she was allergic to peanuts.
Our library had little information on peanut allergies, but through ACCESS PA, we were able to get several books about dealing with this serious allergy. We received books for Mom on dealing with the medical side of the allergy and changing the family diet. We also ordered books for kids about allergies in general and on peanut allergies. The teacher read one to the class to explain the little girl's allergy and her reaction.
It really felt good to help this mother and daughter out. They were upset about how to deal with this condition and with the books we received from ACCESS PA we were really able to help them. It is great to know that our library at the end of the alphabet (and dead last in the ACCESS PA participant directory) can access books from A to Z.
I work in a predominantly Hispanic middle school in north Philadelphia. Poetry is a familiar form of cultural expression among my students. One of our bilingual (Spanish/English) teachers was using poetry as a teaching tool with her sixth grade students. Having become familiar with Somalian poetry (a common cultural expression in that society, as well) through a graduate course she had taken, she requested books of Somalian poetry. Somalian poetry? North Philadelphia? Middle school? Spanish dominant???
Well, of course, it was Access PA to the rescue! Somalian Poetry? Sure! To a middle school library in north Phialdelphia? Sure! One book? No way! Two books!! They arrived in short order, via Access PA interlibrary loan!
" A Lutheran pastor at a church two blocks from the library likes to play a game he affectionately calls Stump The Librarian. His interests lie anywhere from stamp collecting to Swedish geneology and of course theology. Thanks to the ACCESS PA database, I am unstumpable the majority of the time. I have obtained items for him from all over the state that are out of print, one of a kind items. Needless to say, he is constantly impressed. Because he is well known in the community he influences many to use the library as a resource as he does regularly. I am happy to have this resource for him to search remotely through an icon on our library's home page. Long live ACCESS PA!"
Other Great Story Entries
This is my story of how Access PA has helped our faculty and students. Our students come into the library to do research and have a certain amount of time to finish their projects. The students may start to do research in English literature, for example. They go to our OPAC system and realize that our library doesn’t have all the material that they would need to finish the project. This is where Access PA comes in handy. The student or I go into Access to find the material that is needed. We request what we need for those students. I say about 9 out of 10 times the material we request comes within 1 week, allowing ample time for the student to complete the assignment. If the student needs more time, the library that we received the book from gives us a few more weeks. In addition, our faculty sometimes requests books that we do not have in our library for their personal use. Access PA is so great to have. If I do have a problem with the system I sometimes call the library personally and talk to the ILL person in charge. They are very friendly and helpful. This is my second year as an ILL person and I love it.
Debra Flinchaugh, Debbie Haughwout, and
Fairfield High School has a small library of 14,000 volumes. Our school also has a very successful graduation project in which the students’ projects can be anything from running a walkathon for the local animal shelter to remodeling their bedroom. The project could be developing a web page for a local company, writing and producing a play, training a carriage horse, restoring an antique car, or writing a Japanese fable in Japanese. Access PA is essential to these projects because the subjects chosen are not usually topics which would be contained in our school library. This year one of our students of Egyptian citizenship decided that her project would be a serious study of belly dancing, properly known as Eastern dancing. Aleia is especially interested in the history of Eastern dancing and the aspects of it which deal with healing. We searched everywhere—EBSCO, the internet, our shelves, the local library. Nothing worked except for good old reliable print Britannica, but that wasn’t enough either. After searching Access PA statewide in all types of libraries, we retrieved 5 titles which suited our dancer. Aleia now has the references needed to make this project a success.
Nancy Garabed, Librarian
The after-school crowd in our senior high school library was not thinning out as the clock passed closing time. A line of students waiting for help snaked back from my desk, and my brain became number with each question. Dan, who had been waiting patiently, finally got his turn and said, "Mrs. G., I really hope you can help me. I looked on the Internet and couldn't find anything on my research topic." Resisting the urge to preach about the Internet not being the answer to every question, I simply said, "Okay, Dan, what's your assignment?" "I have to write a twenty-page paper. My research question is 'In what ways did the Spanish Inquisition influence medieval Jewish philosophy?'" Yikes! Now I knew why the Internet had come up short, but I was sure our library would, too. Dan and I worked on a search strategy that included selecting keywords, using our online catalog, browsing our stacks, and searching Access Pennsylvania. With the almost limitless resources of Access PA, Dan was able to supplement our library's rather meager materials on this topic. He came back a few months later to share his success: an "A" on his paper.
Access PA has helped our patrons in various ways. One instance that
stands out in my mind was during the Fall Story Hour this past year.
school teacher was visiting the area and was asked to read to the children.
She remarked that she wished we had a particular children's book in
the library as she used to read it in the fall to her elementary students.
She offered to
Eleanor B. Howe, Librarian
Ellen had visited Mackinack Island, Michigan during a summer vacation with her family when she was in elementary school. She loved the area, its location between the Great Lakes, and its history. In sixth grade, she decided to continue learning about Mackinack by developing an entry in the National History Day project. When Ellen told me of her topic, I told her I would love to help her find materials for her project. As a former history major, I was especially delighted that a student wanted to explore the life of a locale during a particular period of time. While the Washington Park school library had materials on local Pennsylvania history and Michigan history in general, it had little information about the history of upper peninsular Michigan. When Ellen had exhausted locally available materials, I offered to search the catalogs of libraries across Pennsylvania for books. Together we searched the ACCESS-PA database and selected titles. Ellen was truly excited when the first book arrived! When she found she needed more information to develop her presentation, we searched again. Ellen was delighted when each book arrived and opened new possibilities to satisfy her curiosity. Eventually Ellen and her mother searched the ACCESS-PA database at home and selected titles that I requested through the ACCESS-PA interlibrary loan service.
Ellen’s presentation was among the finalists at Pennsylvania History Day, and she was selected to participate at the National History Day held in Washington, D.C. in the summer of 2000. While I was pleased to be able to identify and request materials that were valuable to her, it was Ellen who extracted the information she needed from a variety of resources and created a nationally recognized project. Mrs. Joan Meldrum, Ellen’s teacher at the Washington Park School, provided continual support, encouragement, and direction.
There is no doubt, however, that Ellen would not have been able to complete such an award-winning project without the resources borrowed from other libraries across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The information she needed for an excellent project was not available locally. Through the generosity of other libraries and Pennsylvania’s interlibrary loan program, Ellen was able to pursue her interests, increase her knowledge, and develop her talents. I was pleased that the Washington Park School library could facilitate her learning and accomplishment. Ellen’s National History Day project provides an excellent example of the value of shared resources. The benefits of the ACCESS-PA database and its interlibrary loan program, however, are available to all Pennsylvania students. While others may not win awards as a result of interlibrary loan, students from all types of districts across Pennsylvania have the same opportunity for increased learning and creativity through the use of materials not available locally.
My junior high school band director/music teacher was one of several teachers in our district to attend a PowerLibrary workshop I presented in the summer. Of course, part of the presentation was about the ACCESS database. I mentioned that if a person has a current public library card, these same databases can be accessed from home. This teacher must have been listening because he went home and dove right into personal research on Native American weapons. He checked ACCESS to find out how far away the best books on this subject would be and wondered how long he would have to wait for them to come through ACCESS. Imagine his surprise when he discovered that one of the best titles was available at our junior high library. Granted, he did come in over the summer and raid my shelves (without my permission) but he did tell me which book he "borrowed" and how pleasantly surprised he was to find it in our collection. He has since shared his story with other professionals, and I have shared it with other PowerLibrary workshop attendees, so it is only fitting that we should share this anecdote with the people who made it all possible. We now have one teacher who appreciates what is available in his own "backyard" school library and who brags about us to his friends! What better advertisement could our library find?
The The Bald Eagle Area High School is statistically the largest borrower in the Central Consortium each year, and this is largely because of our Advanced Placement English classes. Students develop a major research/literary criticism project about the work of one author, starting with a preliminary bibliography of at least 30 possible resources. Although we do our best to acquire as many biographical and literary criticism materials as possible, some of it through grants, the plain fact is that these students are doing college level work, and ours is a junior-senior high school library. In most cases we may have one or a few books on a given author or on analysis of the author’s works (anyone from Hawthorne to Tolkein or Hemingway to C.S. Lewis) but often not enough to complete the semester-long assignment. We are so grateful for the generosity of the various universities which have loaned us their literary criticism materials, and we are also grateful to Access PA for broadening the students’ research boundaries. An additional benefit of this project for the students is that they learn for future use about interlibrary loaning and the wonders of Access PA.
Of course, many other of our 1150 students benefit from interlibrary loans, including those in the gifted education program (geodesic dome research, anyone?), those doing career reports on lesser known occupations (for example, one young person who wants to learn how to eventually run his father’s well-drilling business), and even faculty seeking to select new curriculum novels or other materials. The students’ (and teachers’) eyes pop out when I teach that the website which lists most of the collections in Pennsylvania’s libraries has become the biggest single database on the entire World Wide Web! Then I tell them how lucky we all are to live in a state that is extremely supportive of such amazing library programs for all its citizens.
Lawrence L. Jaffe, Librarian
I have a very vivid memory of one our first requests using the Access Pennsylvania database as it fulfilled a difficult informational need as well as providing us with an impressive public relations' coup. As noted, the student question came early in our participation in the database, about 1993. In order for a Boy Scout to obtain the highest rank of Eagle Scout, a written proposal to perform a service project must be developed and submitted. Many requirements must be met including the important concept of providing assistance that "is valuable to the community." (Eagle Scout Leadership Service Project Planning Guide, Boy Scout of America) A student came to me with the desire to restore grave monuments at a nearby historical cemetery. Since this an historic area, the specific place this work was done is lost in my own mind's antiquity. I do recall the Scout had been to several public ibraries and apparently located nothing on his own. Such a book did not fit into our collection development plan and we turned to our new Access Pennsylvania database for help. I was fortunate to find a copy of a book on cemetery restorations at one of the Carnegie System Libraries in Pittsburgh and they were very gracious to promptly mail a copy. The student and his family were delighted in the success of finding such specialized resources through the school library and he was able to contribute to the preservation of important local history as well as honor the deceased. I am constantly reminded of this early find when assisting others with requests that cannot be answered by local resources.
Robert T. Jameson
Last year, we had a foreign exchange student from Chile. She was a very capable girl, both linguistically and academically. The problem was that she was very homesick! She visited the library quite often and was very well read. She had no problem with the English language but longed for reading materials in her native language. The Access Pennsylvania database provided the opportunity to acquire the necessary novels and technical books written in Spanish that our school library could not begin to afford to have on the shelves. Also, Ebscohost Espanol was a great help.
A gentleman recently called to find a book. He said he didn't think anyone would have it but he decided to try anyway. A Civil War doctor printed the book in the late 1800's. While he was on the phone, I checked our Bucks County database. We did not own the book. I told him that if it was available through ILL it might take up to 3-6 weeks before it would come in. While I was speaking to him I clicked into the Access PA database through the Power Library. I repeated the search on Access PA. I discovered the title he wanted was available about 20 minutes away at the Indian Valley Library in Telford, Montgomery County. He was amazed the search was so quick and very delighted. He explained that he was looking into becoming a civil war re-enactor and the Doctor who wrote the book would be the person he would represent.
Priscilla G. McFerren,
A local high school English teacher was doing a unit on early film for a class of reluctant readers. He wanted to show them the wonderful old silent film The General with the inimitable Buster Keaton in a memorable role. From the school's library he had borrowed a videocassette of the film. However, when he took it home to preview it, he found that the print from which it had been made was so bad that it was almost impossible to make out details of features of people and places in the film. He thought about choosing another title, but really wanted this particular film. The teacher turned to our public library. While we have a good vidoe collection, it did not include that particular title and neither did the other libraries in our system. We turned, in turn, to the Access Pennsylvania database. We found that a small handful of libraries owned the film and hoped that the first and closest one we queried would be willing and able to send a copy. They were and they did and he had a much clearer print in hand within a week to show to his students. He was very grateful and we were very appreciative of the other library's willingness to send the tape. A good result for all concerned.
We recently had a patron who heard a talk on the Huguenots in France. She wanted to read an historical fiction book on the Huguenots. We have a small library and had no such title listed, so we looked at NoveList and found two possibilities. She chose The Refugees by A. Conan Doyle as the book she would like to read (I had no idea Doyle wrote anything other than Sherlock Holmes books). We next entered The Refugees in the VDX Inter-library Loan system. The rest is history. Before long, we received a copy of the book from a Montgomery County public library. Our patron thoroughly enjoyed the book. Fortunately the sending library is a member of IDS as we are, so we were able to return the book by MCIU van. Thanks to ILL, we had a very satisfied and happy customer.
I am new to using Access, but I have been able to make one student very happy. He raises goats, and we only had one goat book in our library and he checked it out over and over. In fact, students referred to him as "the goat boy". I ordered several books about goats from Access which he enjoyed, and also got to see what would good additions for the library. I hope to help other students in the future.
Carol Schwartz, Library Assistant II
One evening while I was assisting the librarian at the reference desk I was approached by a lovely older woman searching for a book. She explained that she was a writer and the book was a neccessary part of her research. I searched the Free Library of Philadelphia online catalog for her but had no luck. Suddenly, I thought of the Access PA database. I typed in the title and there it was - listed at a school library here in Philadelphia. She was so excited to find a copy of the book but was soon disappointed to learn that she would have to make an inconvenient trip to that library so far away from her home. I told her to wait a moment while I searched again through the public libraries elsewhere in the state. Sure enough, I found another listing for the book in the database and directed her to the librarian in charge of interlibrary loans. She was overjoyed to learn that she would have the book sent to her through the system in a short while. In her eyes I could see true appreciation for for the service she had recieved. She went to the librarian in charge of the building that evening and requested that I be formally commended for my excellent service. I must give credit to the Access PA database for helping to make my job so rewarding.
I am a library patron. I make such thorough use of my library's services that I often quip that I have the gold library card. I would like to think that other patrons are using all of the resources of their library, but I know this is not so. That is why my card is gold. But you can have a gold library card too. One of the services that makes this level of library patronage possible is through the Access Pennsylvania Database. For example, let's say it is Sunday and you are watching Meet the Press or C-SPAN's Book TV. An author of an interesting book comes to your attention. You wonder if your library has the book, but the library is closed. If you wait until Monday, you will probably forget. But if you use the Access Pennsylvania Database while it is fresh on your mind, you will know instantly if your library or any library in the state has the book. Now, suppose no library in your region has the book. When you call your home library, you can request an interlibrary loan if it is an older book or make a recommendation for purchase if it is a new book. Many patrons have never made an interlibrary loan or a recommendation for purchase, but then, that is why there are so few gold library cards out there.
Barbie, Kent State, OPEC, Blenheim, Negro League, Woodstock, Bayeaux Tapestry, Feng Shui, Mother Goose, and Medieval Torture are some topics students at _________ School have researched. Did the library have one book on any of these subjects? Absolutely none! Were the students able to write outstanding research papers? Absolutely yes! All because of Access Pennsylvania! Without a doubt, it is the greatest resource a small high school library can have.
One morning an English teacher rushed into the library. She needed to read a particular short story to her class. During the previous evening, she had previewed the story and realized that several pages were missing. She came to the library hoping to find them. When I could not locate a copy of the story, I quickly went to ACCESS PA, located the short story in a book, phoned the librarian and asked her to fax the few pages that the teacher needed. Within ten minutes, the pages were faxed, and the teacher was able to carry out her lesson. An Access Pennsylvania success!
Jill Thompson, Librarian
Touring Tayamentasachta, the school environmental center, with the rest of those new to the district, we entered the lovely old farmhouse situated on the property. Amidst the aroma of musty exhibits of taxidermy at its best, we passed by a room that had two old, floor-to-ceiling bookcases loitering in a corner. Unimpressed, the group moved on. As the new HS librarian, naturally I etoured. "Growing and Propagating Wild Flowers", "Welcome to the Greenhouse", and "Woodcrafting for Wildlife" looked back at me from the shelves. Charles White, our chief back-to-nature guy and environmentalist, poked his head into the room. "Oh, here you are. I thought we'd lost you." "Books.look at ALL these wonderful, specialized, outdoor and environmental books," I sputtered "lying around unorganized, uncatalogued, and inaccessible for goodness sakes!" He smiled at me knowingly. I gulped. Thus, the Tayamentsachta Collection was born. Organized, catalogued and made available entirely through searching the ACCESS PA database, no other resource could have provided the information necessary to accomplish the task. Our teachers and students now take advantage of valuable and unique books that effectively cultivate literacy and contribute to the content knowledge of those seeking excellence in an outdoor education program.
The Access Pennsylvania Database has been a godsend to our small library. Like so many others, we could never afford to purchase all the books we would need to satisfy all our patrons. Through the Access Pennsylvania Database, we are able to search for and request interlibrary loans to help meet our patrons' needs. We have many patrons and students who benefit from this service, so I will highlight just one.
One patron in particular (I'll call her Patron V) travels frequently to visit family and friends in the South. While there, she visits the local libraries and has often found authors/titles of interest to her. Patron V invariably gets engrossed in a series while visiting and then returns home to Somerset, PA and wants to continue the series. Without Access PA, we would never be able to accommodate her. She is thrilled to feel free to start a new author/series while vacationing because she knows that with the help of Access PA and her hometown Pennsylvania library, she will not be left wondering what she was missing. Thanks Access PA!
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