Success StoriesHeard County Middle School
MEETING THE NEEDS OF 21ST CENTURY STUDENTS
Media Specialist Glovis South
The Heard County Middle School in Franklin, Georgia serves just over 500 students from grades 6 to 8. The school’s Media Center provides them with access to over 10,000 books and numerous online digital resources.
At its helm is media specialist Glovis South, who has been with the school since 2002. Spend a few minutes with her, and you’ll quickly see how effective she is at connecting with a generation that has grown up in a digital world. In addition to updating the Media Center’s web page, she communicates with students via Facebook (facebook.com/braves.read) and Twitter (using the @bravesread handle).
This comes as no surprise, as Glovis has always been comfortable around new technology. With no hint of sentimentality, she was among the first to ditch card catalogs when digital ones came on the scene back in the day. Fast-forward to the 21st century and her library patrons are still on the cutting edge of technology, using tablets that serve as “mobile card catalogs” to find library materials and access student accounts.
The Media Center started out with a basic library automation program that worked well enough. Yet Glovis envisioned a system where students could access the database from home, allowing parents to be involved in the process too.
When her library was able to switch to Surpass, her wish came true. Her library is now accessible online, via mobile devices, and includes extras like Safari Selections, an option that automatically pulls in book jacket cover images, tables of contents, excerpts, author notes and other content to make for a content-rich listing for her materials. Students and parents could browse through the entire collection, reserve items and manage their accounts from home at their leisure.
While Glovis is a champion of technology, she strictly views it as a means to an end. “My whole goal is to help students find the information they need and great books to read,” she states. “Surpass is a great tool to help them find what they’re looking for.” She also sees that students are more engaged, as Surpass gives them a voice by allowing them to provide star ratings and opinions on each item, as well as upload their own book reviews.
With mobile devices and tablets playing a larger role in education, the Media Center wanted to find a way to integrate e-books into their collection. In 2010, they teamed up with Follett Shelf, a service that provides web-based access to electronic books. When Surpass developed features that would allow for a seamless integration of the e-books into the system, it was a perfect fit for the HCMS Media Center. Ms. South was invited to be part of the team providing feedback as the features were developed. “We all came together as a big digital team to make this happen,” states Glovis. “I was so happy to be a part of it.”
And was it worth it? The results speak for themselves. The program is so successful with students that there is a waiting list for some of the more popular titles. Glovis notices a growing number of students who bring in their digital readers and asking how to access the e-book collection. It warms her heart to see her students buried in books and eager to turn the pages – or swipe across their screens, whatever the case may be!
Glovis appreciates that Surpass moves with the times and develops software that meets the needs of 21st century patrons. “We’re not just a library anymore – we’re truly a media center,” she says. “We’ve come a long way, and Surpass has been instrumental in getting us there.”