The Net Effect: School Library Media Centers and the Internet

Stuart Hannabuss (The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen)

Library Review

ISSN: 0024-2535

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




Hannabuss, S. (2000), "The Net Effect: School Library Media Centers and the Internet", Library Review, Vol. 49 No. 3, pp. 139-156.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

School library and media resource centre work are changing fast, as you know if you are in them. They are moving fast in and into electronic and Internet‐related work, networked resource management, interactive access and virtual classroom strategies. The Net Effect picks up these current themes well under a broadly sure editorship of Lyn Hay and James Henri (both lecture at Charles Sturt University in Australia, and readers will recognise Henri’s work on information and educational practice as important and long‐standing). The contributors are international, some well‐known (such as Clyde, Herring), a mixture of practitioners and academics, all with something useful to say, although the arrangement under ten themes leads to some duplication of effort. This is often what you get with conferences and these papers come from one, the Virtual Conference conducted in 1997 (proceedings published as A Meeting of Minds: lTEC Virtual Conference ’96 Proceedings, published by the Australian School Library Association, with the same editors).

The ten topics promise a lot even though they are not in a very logical order and could be better arranged under policy, process and personnel. They also have the “teacher librarian” in mind, and for some readers from places where teachers and librarians are separate, or where other titles and roles are used, adjustment needs to be made (although it is usually a matter of semantics). Readers will find stuff here on electronic collection development and selection, evaluation of Internet sources and their integration into the media centre work and the curriculum, censorship, copyright, children’s lit on the Internet, and curriculum‐orientated MUDS (Multi‐User Dungeons, e‐mail chat and virtual classrooms such as AskERIC). There is debate on the old issue of critical thinking, some stuff on cognition, and plenty of good Websites (unfortunately not cross‐referenced, and there is no index). Useful citations for students, too, and it is where information and library work is studied that this work will probably be most bought and used.

The work is one of a tribe of such works now (like Laurel Clyde’s School Libraries and the Electronic Community, The Scarecrow Press, 1997; and Lyn Martin’s The Challenge of Internet Literacy, The Haworth Press, 1997), capturing changing times and practice, useful though sometimes evanescent Websites, and reminding us all of the need to keep up and look ahead, since librarians in schools, whatever we call them, can easily be sidelined if they do not think strategically.

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