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updated: 2/7/2014 2:18 PM

Moving Picture: Hersey librarian leads digital way for school

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  • Video: The iPad Librarian

  • Hersey High School head librarian Katie Alexander, center, discusses how students access their District 214 accounts to complete their homework assignments in a health class with health teacher Sharon Meintzer, left, and student teacher Sarah Rodriguez.

      Hersey High School head librarian Katie Alexander, center, discusses how students access their District 214 accounts to complete their homework assignments in a health class with health teacher Sharon Meintzer, left, and student teacher Sarah Rodriguez.
    George LeClaire/gleclaire@dailyherald.co

  • Katie Alexander instructs Career Life Skills junior Noe Botello on how to stamp and refile magazines that have been returned to the Academic Resource Center. Career Life Skills is a districtwide special education program housed at John Hersey High School.

       Katie Alexander instructs Career Life Skills junior Noe Botello on how to stamp and refile magazines that have been returned to the Academic Resource Center. Career Life Skills is a districtwide special education program housed at John Hersey High School.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Alexander designed this bulletin board outside of the Academic Resource Center to encourage students to use the vetted databases.

       Alexander designed this bulletin board outside of the Academic Resource Center to encourage students to use the vetted databases.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Alexander pushes the ARC charging cart filled with 30 library iPads uphill in a narrow hallway to a health classroom, to teach students how to access their Dist. 214 email accounts and class assignments at the school in Arlington Heights.

       Alexander pushes the ARC charging cart filled with 30 library iPads uphill in a narrow hallway to a health classroom, to teach students how to access their Dist. 214 email accounts and class assignments at the school in Arlington Heights.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Alexander teaches juniors in Kent Manthey's Advanced Placement English, Language, and Composition class how to download and view or listen to public domain books on iPads issued to them.

       Alexander teaches juniors in Kent Manthey's Advanced Placement English, Language, and Composition class how to download and view or listen to public domain books on iPads issued to them.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Katie Alexander explains an iPhone setting to faculty member Joe Pardun during a professional development day at Rolling Meadows High School.

       Katie Alexander explains an iPhone setting to faculty member Joe Pardun during a professional development day at Rolling Meadows High School.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

 
 

Katie Alexander, head librarian at John Hersey High School doesn't spend much of her time between bookshelves or at the front desk. Instead she navigates a 168-pound power-sync cart filled with 30 iPads through student-packed hallways headed to a classroom, or performs high-speed multi-tasking in the Student Resource Center.

"I like variety and for things to move fast," Alexander said. "We always have 10 things taking place at once in the center."

Alexander heads the center that opens at 6:30 a.m. school days and has 70,000 student visits a year. With the help of a cart full of iPads, Alexander can help teachers integrate technology into student curricula.

"We are a one-stop shop for all information, training or tutoring," Alexander said.

The center has 85 desktop computers and houses 20,000 books in print and 1,200 digital books. Alexander said students today, with content at their fingertips, have an advantage over students 10 years ago.

Two years into her second career, Alexander spends the majority of her day working with digital material.

To encourage students to use the district's electronic database of vetted information, she designed a bulletin board stating, "I will use the library's databases" multiple times.

"It is the way they will look up information in college, so this is the training ground," she said.

Katie also visits all junior level English classes to teach them how to download public domain books on their school-issued iPads for class assignments. She encourages students to utilize audio books. She teaches students to navigate the vast amount of digital information available to them.

"Students are entering a world we can't even imagine," she said.

The availability of educational resources has greatly increased in the center even though the amount of print material has decreased over the last 10 years according to Alexander.

"There is no difference between digital and print," said Alexander, who believes data content is more important than format.

During her time off, Alexander reads about 100 young adult books digitally or in print each year.

"I believe there is room for both -- I constantly have a book going on my iPad," she said.

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