School board approves library’s budget proposal

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Braden Bochner, staff writer

Continued funding for the district’s digital databases and the institution of e-books was approved by the Board of Education.

“We wanted to bring an ongoing and more adequate source of funding to the five school libraries which have suffered greatly over the past couple of decades,” Head Librarian Karen Boyarsky said.

The proposal was divided up into three phases, the first of which was approved by the Board of Education. Phase one will launch this school year and includes the software maintenance of online databases.

“We are very grateful to the Board of Education for guaranteeing, at least for the next year, and hopefully further, that we do have resources that students can locate and will consistently be available,” Boyarsky said.

District-wide funding was approved to renew all nine database systems that the high school currently subscribes to, with the addition of 60 e-book reference titles. Prior to the approval of the budget, Beverly Hills High School remained the only high school in the Los Angeles region with no e-book access, according to the proposal.

“We chose reference books to begin our e-book collection with because, at Beverly Hills High School, due to our lack of funding, our reference collection is extremely dated,” Boyarsky said. “[The new system] is going to allow students to search 60 different reference texts by simply typing in one keyword to find the best source that they need.”

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jennifer Tedford, worked closely with Boyarsky on the proposal and believes that expanding the resources will help students learn outside of the classroom.

“We realize that students need additional access to technology tools, particularly online databases for research and e-books that can be accessed on iPads and iPhones,” Tedford said.

The funding will also add seven new databases to the K-8 libraries, which previously had none.

“We are really excited for the K-8 students to have an opportunity to get ready to do what we’ve been doing in the high school for a long time,” Boyarsky said.

The elementary and middle school students will gain access to resources such as a National Geographic Kids database, a World Book Online and a general database that covers current events, science, social studies, history, health and technology.

“I think it’s great that my son and his classmates will now have access to these wonderful resources,” said Robin Platt, who has a son in the fourth grade at Hawthorne. “It will prepare them more for high school.”

After their introduction to the databases during  freshman year, many students continue utilize the research tools for class papers and projects.

“I was first introduced to the database system by [Tedford] during my freshman year as a part of our library project,” senior Nicole Sayegh said.  “Since then, I’ve constantly found myself using the databases whether in writing research papers for English or for essays in other subjects.”

Tedford believes that the resources will accommodate students, assist their educational needs and give them a competitive edge.

“These resources will offer students additional ways to access information; research in particular.  We are interested in providing students with the latest technology to improve their opportunities for learning,” Tedford said.

Boyarsky is adamant that a digital resource push will not only align with the expanding presence of technology, but prepare students for college as well.

“I think it’s really important, in this 21st century, that we move from only finding resources in print to finding resources digitally and electronically,” Boyarsky said. “When students get to college, there will be 300 to 400 different types of databases they will be looking at. We want our students to attend college knowing that they are just as prepared as students from other high schools and districts.”

With the first phase commencing immediately, Boyarsky and Tedford will present phases two and three, covering the 2014-15 and 2015-16 school years, later this year.

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