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LITTLE OVER A YEAR AGO, MY INTERNET-SAVVY BROTHER CALLED TO SAY HIS daughter was having a tough time completing a middle school assignment. He knew that my media center offered online resources, so he checked to see if his daughter's school library., offered the same. Instead, he discovered that it didn't have a Web site, and she couldn't take advantage of other local media centers' Web sites because visitors were required to log in with a special password.
That experience got me thinking about my own district's elementary school libraries. At the time, a handful of our 24 media centers had their own sites, but close to 80 percent didn't. And that was a huge problem, especially since nearly three out of four students between the ages of 12 and 17 say they relied on the Internet for their last big school assignment, according to a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
Siteless libraries also send the wrong message to students, parents, and other educators. If we truly want them to think of the media center as the heart of the school, we need to provide our library users with the resources they value--and make it easy to find them. That means there needs to be a link to the library on every school's home page, right alongside the other vital information.
As my school's Webmaster and media specialist, I decided to create a basic Web site template that all of our elementary school …