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HHS students are linked in

9/20/2012

By JUDY SHERARD

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

Research options, audio books and eBooks are just a click away for Hays High School students through the Hays High library website.

"We use a lot of things from the Kansas State Library because they are wonderful," said Elizabeth Harris, Hays High librarian. "They have a consortium of things that there's no way we could afford."

Every library, whether public or school, has access to the state library, she said.

"They provide us with encyclopedia and a careers and vocational database, SAT, ACT and PSAT practice tests. That's a nice package."

The state library is accessible through a link on the library site.

It includes fiction as well as research material. Students must have a state library card to check out material, but they can get a card at the Hays High library.

This year, the state library also includes a language database with a tutorial.

"There's Latin, German and Spanish. That happens to be what we teach, so that's kind of cool. We're exploring with that," Harris said, noting the district buys some reference material, as well.

"It just goes as far as what our budget can take us," she said. "Our new eBooks are the Gale Virtual Reference Library. We just started the collection, so we don't have very many on our shelf."

Harris has started by building the school's nonfiction reference books.

"I guess I just feel like my budget doesn't stretch quite that far, so I'd rather spend my eBook money on reference books. I see other high schools are venturing into the fiction, so I'm sure we'll be doing that soon."

The Gale library has a searchable table of contents that allows students to see the introduction and what a book is about.

It's new, and the subject area is limited, but Harris plans to expand it as funds allow.

When teachers request it, Harris visits classrooms giving students an overview of the material available before they use it.

A number of students have used the online research databases already this year.

Seniors Millie Copper, Molly Willhoft, Megan Bird and Katelyn Schumacher all found the databases useful.

"I don't use it very often, but when I do, it's helpful," Copper said.

"It's a nice resource to have," Willhoft said.

"I think it's a lot easier than going and finding a book on the shelf. It's accessible all the time," Bird said.

And it's often easier to find specific information through digital searches than going to the shelves, Schumacher said.

"More and more, that's what our research ends up being, research online," Harris said.

The library website also has a link to Sunflower eLibrary, Hays Public Library's eBook program. Students must have a HPL card to check out those materials.

"That encourages them to get a card, which is always a good thing," Harris said. "Many times when we don't have a fiction book on our shelf, they'll have it on their shelf. They're so good about checking it out to us."