Creating a 4-H Wildlife Stewards
Resource Library is a good way to support the teachers, parent volunteers
and students as they create, use, and sustain the Habitat Education
Site at the school. When resources and materials are located in one
location, it makes it easier to access those materials and take advantage
of the wealth of resources that are available. A Resource Library can
include books, magazines, curriculum, videotapes, education kits, monitoring
kits and supplies (soil test kits, water test kits, camera, measuring
tapes, etc), and CD’s. Resource Libraries can also be a cost-saving
venture. Gathering all the resources in one place for teachers, parents,
and students to share, eliminates the need to purchase duplicate materials
for different classrooms.
Identify a Location: Identify
and secure a place at your school where you can keep your Resource Library.
Check with your school principal to find the best location. The location
should be a place where people who use the library can get easy access.
If it is in a location where it is locked and you can only get in with
a key make sure the key is easily accessible. Think about your summer
program as well. Habitat Education Sites are maintained 365 days of
Establish Guidelines and
Procedures for Checkout: Second, you will need to decide who will have
access to this library and what are the procedures for using the resources.
Will students be able to use the library to do research on native plants
for the project? Or will only teachers have access to these resources?
What about parent volunteers who come in to help with the project? Your
Habitat Team can develop the guidelines and procedures for running the
Resource Library. For example, will there be a checkout system? If so,
how long can a student or teacher check out a book, videotape, or soil
testing kit? You might also consider setting up a reservation list.
This way teachers or 4-H Wildlife Stewards who are planning on doing
field studies in the upcoming weeks could reserve a kit such as the
water testing kit in advance in order to be sure the kit is there when
they need it.
Recruit and Appoint One Person
Who is in Charge of the Library: Next you will need to decide who will
provide primary leadership for organizing and maintaining the Resource
Library. It does not have to be only the 4-H Wildlife Steward, a teacher
or a member of the Habitat Team. The 4-H Wildlife Stewards Resource
Librarian is a great job for a parent volunteer. However, the Habitat
Team should be sure to establish the guidelines and procedures that
this person can implement. Appointing one person to set up and maintain
the library will help assure that there are no breakdowns in communication
and that the materials and supplies are maintained.
Consider Establishing a Budget
for Your Resource Library: There are many organizations and foundations
that are willing to provide mini-grants for resources and supplies.
The Habitat Education Team should consider establishing a budget for
securing supplies and materials to support the Habitat Education Site.
The 4-H Wildlife Stewards Resource Librarian will be responsible for
purchasing materials and resources for the library and replacing lost
or damaged items.
Let Teachers and Parent Volunteers
Know What is Available in the Resource Library: Be sure to keep a list
of all the resources and materials in the Resource Library and share
that list with the school staff and parent volunteers. When new materials
or resources become available, post that information in the school newsletter
or set up a distribution list and send the information by e-mail. To
help increase awareness of the resources you can also highlight a special
book review or education kit review in the school newspaper or 4-H Wildlife
Work in Partnership with
the School Librarian: Don’t forget your school librarian is a
valuable ally in this process. The school librarian can identify and
list the relevant books and resources that would be helpful to students,
teachers and parents. Likewise, be sure to let the school librarian
know about what resources and materials are available in the 4-H Wildlife
Stewards Library. This partnership can be a powerful tool for providing
useful information for schools.
Using the Internet as a Resource:
The Internet is a tool many of us use every day to get information we
need. There is a lot of information through the Internet that can be
relevant and helpful when developing your Habitat Education Site. However,
be careful. Sometimes information can be biased or incorrect. Trust
only websites that site their references.