Press Release: FSU’s PALM Center to partner in Library of Congress grant

Press Release: FSU’s PALM Center to partner in Library of Congress grant

Press Release from FSU:

FSU’s PALM Center to partner in Library of Congress grant

The PALM Center at the Florida State University School of Library and Information Studies is part of a team that has been awarded a $300,000 grant by the Library of Congress. The collaborative project, Successfully Teaching Educators about Primary Sources, will extend the work of the Library of Congress initiative Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS).

“Kids improve their analytical skills—higher-order critical thinking and inquiry-oriented activities—by working with primary source, first-hand information,” said Dr. Nancy Everhart, director of the PALM Center. “And they become inspired to learn more about history by working with primary source documents, such as the extraordinary collection held by the Library of Congress. It has over 16 million primary sources—from those documenting the founding of our county, through the history of the immigrant experience and the civil rights movement, to those reflecting this very day.”

The PALM Center will work as a member of the Florida Education Inquiry Primary Source Team (FEIPST), a collaborative effort of the University of Central Florida’s College of Education SUNLINK, the Florida Association for Media in Education, the Florida Association of Supervisors of Media, The State Library of Florida, and school districts throughout Florida.

“A selection committee reviewed a number of proposals submitted by institutions in Florida, Georgia, and Texas for a Teaching with Primary Sources grant. FEIPST’s application offered the best plan to use technology and its large institutional network to help disseminate the Library’s TPS program,” said to Laura Campbell, Associate Librarian for Strategic Initiatives for the Library of Congress. Only two proposals were funded nationally.

The expertise of the PALM Center in external evaluation will be their major contribution to the team. The PALM Center is the only organization known to specialize in the evaluation of school library projects and programs while doing research in the area. According to Dr. Mardis, the Center will provide evaluation services over the two years of the project. “This project is a great example of the potential school library media specialists have to transform student learning in vital ways,” said Mardis. “As evaluators, we will learn ways that school libraries can better support learning with the use of primary sources.”

“We will also benefit from the experience of two of our Florida State doctoral students at PALM, Melissa Johnston and Janice Newsum, who were members of the prestigious Library of Congress National Curriculum Review Panel (2008–2009).” said Dr. Everhart. “They will provide field training for the project.”

The team plans to provide college/university and K-12 educators with a professional development model, along with lesson plans and teaching materials, to improve their abilities to:

  • design learning experiences that are primary source-based and inquiry-oriented,
  • implement those experiences in their classrooms,
  • evaluate the educational experiences and learning outcomes, and
  • share their expertise.

Established in 2007, the PALM Center conducts internationally recognized interdisciplinary research on library media specialist leadership and technology integration. It offers services that support school library media specialists and educators in the improvement of their districts and schools in Florida, the United States, and throughout the world.