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Electronic Resources for Students: Got Homework? We've Got Help

San Diego Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Marion Moss Hubbard, Public Information Officer, mhubbard@sandiego.gov

Problem Statement

The San Diego Public Library is committed to connecting students with the Library's electronic resources to help them succeed with their education. But, the Library was challenged with finding the funding for these resources and the mechanisms to adequately promote them to students. This is why the Library sought collaboration with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSC) and private donors to pool their community resources to more effectively connect San Diego’s elementary and secondary students to these high quality online resources.

Innovation

The Library and School District have a history of working together on educational related projects. This project was different in the level of collaboration between the two organizations. It involved working with SDUSD’s coordinator of the Instructional Media Center to develop a strategy for buy-in from the SDUSD superintendent and administration and working with principals, teachers, and school librarians to motivate students to use the products.

A branding outreach campaign was developed that bundled four electronic resource products (Live Homework Help, SchoolRooms, Ask Now, and Research Databases) into a theme called, Got Homework? We’ve Got Help. The Library created a website, posters, flyers and table top tents in both English and Spanish and distributed them to the 36 libraries and many of the schools. The Library also created a Digital Keycard bookmark that allows students access to the online resources without needing to have a library card. They were distributed to more than 16,000 students via classroom teachers. Two school media events were held at two separate high school libraries to publicize the resources to the public media and journalism students for school newspapers and websites. These events that had the involvement of City Councilmembers, donors and vendors also provided student demonstrations of the products.

The Library worked closely with the Library Foundation to obtain private and corporate donations of more than $45,000 to defray the purchase costs of the electronic resources and support the outreach effort. In addition to paying for outreach materials, this funding was used to produce a public service announcement (PSA) in Spanish and English. The PSA was distributed widely to media outlets in the area. Volunteers from the Foundation also contacted Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) in high electronic use and economically disadvantaged areas to educate the parents about the products and provide articles for the PTA websites.

Progress

There has been a steady increase in use of the online resources for students as evidence of the increasing annual use of Live Homework from 7251 in 2007 to 9750 in 2008 to 13,364 in 2009. This is an 84.3 % increase from 2007 to 2009.