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Nashville Community High School Media Center Acts As Gateway To A World Of Information

NCHS Media Center Director Leigh Ann Cloud, standing, RIGHT, spoke with the NCHS Board about the activities of the media center and library over the past year.

By Alex Haglund

At the August meeting of the Nashville Community High School Board, NCHS Media Center Director Leigh Ann Cloud gave a presentation for the board members on the activities of the Media Center throughout the past year.

Cloud’s presentation is delivered every year, and is a prerequisite for a $750 grant that NCHS receives throughThe School Library Grant Program sponsored by the Illinois State Library as provided through federal funds.

The Media Center’s mission is: “To empower students to become efficient, effective and responsible users of information to meet their academic and aesthetic needs.”

In that mission, the three goals of the Media Center, according to Cloud are to first, teach information literacy skills in an academic setting and continue to encourage aesthetic reading. Second, to supervise study hall students. And third, to manage Chromebooks (every student in the school uses a laptop with a lightweight Google Chrome operating system, a “Chromebook”).

The media center statistics shown to the board by Cloud show a trend that echoes those seen in society’s use of information on a larger scale – namely, a move towards digital resources and away from analog materials.

Both the SRC Database and OPAC (Books) circulation statistics cover each of the school years going back to 2013-2014. In that time, circulation checkouts have gone from 6,467 (‘13-’14) down to 3,922 (‘16-’17). On the database side, the trend was reversed: from 239 database sessions (‘13-’14) up to 3,607 (‘16-’17).

Cloud spoke excitedly about the avenues that academic database access opened up for NCHS students.

“Even if a book or resource isn’t available in their regular library system,” Cloud told the board, “we can locate it at McKendree, we can locate it at SIUC.”

Cloud said that Gale Cengage, a vendor that NCHS uses for many of their information and reference services, had informed her that there was a $1,257 credit for the district.

She used that credit to purchase 21 titles from the Information Plus series.

Along with the SRC Database access, Cloud purchased access to the Opposing Viewpoints database in spring of 2017, saying that due to the agreements NCHS has with Cengage, she was able to purchase that access bundled which made it “very cost-effective” to purchase.

“Just in acquiring it last spring,” Cloud said, “it was already used 154 times by the junior class.”

As far as student using the library for their study hall, Cloud said that there were ways for students to be excused to do work for other classes.

For those that stayed in the media center though (which is a large portion of the NCHS student body at one time or another), “you can see through these statistics how they access information, and there is a lot of fluidity there.”

Cloud also manages Chromebooks at the Media Center, and works with industrial technology teacher Paul Welte to do so.

“We’re doing really well, as long as Mr. Welte and I are working together,” said Cloud, “and as long as faculty and students keep communicating well with us.”

During the 2016-2017 school year, Cloud reported 233 loaner computers checked out in the fall semester, 247 checked out in the spring, and 290 help desk tickets opened.

For more on the NCHS Media Center, check out their webpage at

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