COLUMBIA, Mo.–Most people would describe it as the place full of books, periodicals, CDs and DVDs. While part of that definition may have been true several years ago, it is outdated, as today´s library is offering a variety of services. One University of Missouri-Columbia professor claims the library is far from being extinct and is actually a portal to an unending wealth of information.

"When television came into homes, people who previously read books also started watching TV, but they still kept reading. People do not trade one medium for another," said Doug Raber, associate professor in the MU College of Education and School of Information Sciences and Learning Technologies outreach coordinator. "The introduction of new technologies, such as the Internet, will cause libraries to adapt and will bring new users into the library."

The American Library Association (ALA) reports that the majority of libraries in the United States have Internet access. According to Raber, libraries usual incur the cost of subscriptions to Internet databases and academic journals to bring these services to their patrons for free. This is access to information that most people cannot get just from simply surfing the Web at home. Librarians also provide guidance and knowledge about where to find information.

"The library also presents itself as a neutral space for many meetings and gatherings," Raber said. "Literacy programs for adult learners often take place in libraries. A school may seem more intimidating to them than the library, since that may have been a place where they did not experience success."

The National Center for Education Statistics found that 30 million adults in America have below basic literacy skills, including seven million who are considered to be non-literate in English. Ninety-four percent of public libraries serving more than 5,000 people provide literacy services, and 75 percent of public libraries partner with other agencies and organizations in their communities to provide adult literacy services.

In the survey conducted for the ALA and The Campaign for America´s Libraries, Americans named the four most important characteristics or services of public libraries as being that the services are free (79 percent) and that the library "is a place where I can learn for a lifetime" (71 percent), "enhances my education" (65 percent) and "provides information for school and work" (65 percent). Moreover, three-quarters of respondents strongly agreed that because it provides free access to materials and resources, the public library plays an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed.

"The School of Information Sciences & Learning Technologies at MU is committed to graduating librarians prepared to use traditional sources and new technologies to ensure that everyone gets this chance," Raber said.

Laptop Institute Announces its School Spotlight Award Recipient

The Laptop Institute–the K-12 conference for 1 to 1 programs–announces the School Spotlight program. Beginning at the July 15-17 event in Memphis, Tennessee, the Laptop Institute will recognize 1 to 1 programs that have led the way both with innovation and expertise. These programs have effected change across the school, with administrators and faculty as well as technology staff members committed to teaching effectively with laptops and tablets. Their classrooms demonstrate best practices in information literacy and emerging technologies, serving models and mentors for fellow schools locally and nationally (and often internationally). Spotlight schools bring a cadre of teachers, administrators, and tech staff to the Laptop Institute and offer a strand of sessions each day that provide an in-depth look at an exceptional program in action.

This year, the Laptop Institute is pleased to spotlight The Urban School of San Francisco.

Urban´s laptop program has attracted attention from educators from due to the school´s highly integrated approach to technology which is purposefully holistic: technology skills and related computer projects are integrated throughout the curriculum to foster active, student-centered learning. At Urban, technology is used to enhance communication, collaboration, organization, and production (writing and project creation) in all classes rather than taught as a discrete subject. This de-emphasizes the specialization of computer technology as use becomes seamless, ubiquitous, and normal. Rather than directly training students on computer and application use, students instead "learn as they go," relying on their own inquisitiveness, peer support, and mini-lessons from teachers where necessary.

All students and teachers are issued their own state-of-the-art laptop computers for school and home use. Student computers (currently Apple MacBooks) come fully installed with all the programs used throughout the curriculum such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Macromedia MX Suite, Inspiration, iStopMotion and several other programs used in math and sciences. The school has witnessed an explosion of laptop use in all discipline areas without the need for teacher mandates or minimum use expectations.

For additional information, contact Lorrie Jackson ( or visit

About the Laptop Institute–The Laptop Institute is an international conference of K-12 educators interested in 1 to 1 programs. The Institute is held each summer in Memphis, Tennessee (USA) on the campus of Lausanne Collegiate School.

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