The Kinder Morgan Foundation has awarded a grant of $5,000.00 to Homer High School. The Foundation supports capital-improvement projects for libraries located in communities where Kinder Morgan has operations. Kinder Morgan, the nation’s largest energy infrastructure company, maintains gas pipeline operations in Claiborne Parish. Once the project’s eligibility was verified with the Foundation, the grant application and support letter were submitted in early July by Mr. Lee Simms, principal of Homer High School, and Mrs. Lisa Owens, school librarian. Mrs. Owens was notified of the award on August 9, and by the following Monday, August 15, Mr. Simms had received the award check.
The grant monies will be used to purchase and install a new automation software system for the school library. This grant will also cover expenses for professional development and training for staff, as well as equipment such as barcode labels and wireless scanners. The automation of the library collection is part of an on-going effort to update the facilities in order to provide students with a modern media center for reading, research, and project-based learning. Automating the library collection will make it easier and faster for students and teachers to locate, access, and obtain materials. The long-term goal of this program is to increase traffic flow through the library, and at the same time, increase circulation of materials. The Atrium software system will allow staff to track circulation of library materials, including books, periodicals, and media such as DVDs and CDs. The automated library collection will expand current use of the library facilities, allowing students and teachers to access relevant research and reading materials via a cloud-based, user-friendly format. The automation system will allow users to log-in from any device with Internet access, including library computer workstations, classroom computers, or from remote sites. Students will be able to access the library collection from personal computers at home or even hand-held devices such as tablets and smart phones. Not only will users be able to search the collection online, they will also be able to request and reserve materials from the collection. An additional feature of the new Atrium automation system is that students and faculty will be able to write and post reviews of materials. For example, a student who checks out a book for a class assignment will be able to evaluate the material and write a review for other users. The software system will also give teachers the ability to create class reading lists, along with reviews and suggestions for student assignments.
Pictured here are “Friends of the Library” who volunteered their time after school and during the summer to help with projects in the remodeled Media Center. From left to right front row, Summer Banuelos, Brittney Sandifer, and Sandra Banuelos.
From left to right back row, Carrie Driskill, Cody Long, Joshua Williams, Principal Lee Simms, Gabriel Arias, and Dwaynasia Webb.
In order to have the space ready for immediate implementation of the new system, students and staff have been working in the library since May, cleaning, organizing, and updating the layout of the shelves and the computer lab. Much of the work done to upgrade electrical and technology needs in the library was also completed this summer by maintenance and IT staff from the Claiborne Parish School Board. Internet servers have been upgraded and user workstations have been networked in order to provide faster access for online activities, ensuring that all components of the automated system will function effectively and efficiently.
Mr. Simms and Mrs. Owens would like to thank all of the “Friends of the Library” who helped with the work and also those supporters who have donated books to the library. As part of a continued effort to fund the renovations in the library, an equipment and materials “wishlist” has been created. Anyone who wishes to join the “Friends of the Library” is encouraged to visit http://www.donorschoose.org and check out the exciting list of Homer High projects posted on the website for the new school year.