Joliet Township High School Media Specialist, Gwen Thompson, has been selected to take part in ILEAD USA (Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover), a prestigious year-long program designed to help library staff understand and respond to user needs through the application of technology tools and the creation of an easy-to-replicate model program.
Thompson has partnered with a team of Joliet Area librarians and media specialists who will work together on a community-based project intended to improve library access and knowledge of services. Shannon Pohrte and Brigitte Bell, Instructional Librarians at the University of St. Francis; and Christopher Sloan, Head of Digital Media at Joliet Public Library will work with Thompson during three, four-day sessions over the course of nine months, beginning March 25-28. Thompson’s team is one of five in the state of Illinois selected to participate in the prestigious grant.
“It’s exciting,” said Thompson. “This is an opportunity to bridge the gap between the high school, public and university libraries. Our students will truly benefit from the awareness and knowledge that will be built as a result of our project.”
The team will focus upon two specific areas as grant work is completed: comfort and access. “As a result of our work, we hope to make students and library patrons more comfortable accessing and applying the information that they seek from libraries and media centers,” said Thompson.
To accomplish this goal, the team will utilize technology to create videos, and a new program will also be developed as a result of the work. “Joliet Central High School has the unique opportunity to be a part of something that is innovative and seeks to make our library a large part of the school and community,” said Thompson. “The ultimate goal is to work together so that students can leave our high school with the skills necessary to succeed in college or a career.”