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4H Wildlife Stewards
 
Bringing Science and Nature Together...one school at a time.


RESOURCE LIBRARIES

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 the year.

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 Stewards newsletter.

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.

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4-H Wildlife Stewards, Sunnyside Environmental School, 3421 SE Salmon 1209,
Portland, OR 97214 - 503-916-6074, e-mail: wildifestewards@oregonstate.edu
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