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Research Shows Students Need Libraries, Not Incentives

According to studies conducted by Keith Curry Lance, librarians present in schools mean higher reading scores on standardized testing. These increases occur in spite of the poverty level of students and turnover in staff. In addition, schools where a certified librarian was engaged in activities such as active involvement in teacher in-service and extended library hours test scores improved as well.

Further, research conducted by Krashen, Lee, and McQuillan indicates that libraries are important for fostering a love of reading and literacy at an early age. Even with contraindicators like learning differences, access to books through the library is an indicator of success by students. In short, more access to books begets more reading and more reading creates more literacy in children. These results are achieved without rewards for reading which, according to research time and time again, are highly ineffective. According to these researchers, "libraries matter and they matter a lot" (Krashen, 2004).

Access to books plus access to technology in libraries is an equation for success!

Squashing the Plagiarism Bug

Plagiarism, and other forms of copyright infringement, are dangerous creatures who try to rear their heads in libraries and schools around the world. But what is plagiarism exactly? According to ALA and the American Heritage Dictionary, plagiarism is defined as the “use and pass off (the ideas or writings of another) as one's own." or "To appropriate for use as one's own passages or ideas from (another). To put forth as original to oneself the ideas or words of another." ( Plagiarism, however, is more than just using copy and paste in a term paper. The use of something you find on Google images might constitute copyright infringement. Sampling that CD for your school play is very likely an infringement. It is important for teachers and librarians to understand the nature of intellectual property and how it must be protected.

An assignment can discourage plagiarism if the teacher ensures that resources are cited and correct attributions are given. At the very least, a works cited or bibliography should be created. It would be better to begin teaching some uniform system for documentation and attribution whenever any research is being conducted. If you teach the proper skills early, bad habits will not develop and students will understand the need for proper attribution of copyrighted material and the appropriate guidelines for fair use.

Fair use is examined using these four criteria:

  • the purpose and character of your use
  • the nature of the copyrighted work
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion taken, and
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market.

Unfortunately, fair use remains a gray area. Citation of a work and attribution of copyright is not a substitute for obtaining permission from a copyright holder for use. The law, however, does prescribe certain areas that do constitute fair use such as criticism, illustration, and lessons by a teacher. Make sure that the four criteria are applied when considering the use of copyrighted material, but check with your librarian or copyright officer when in doubt.

To help combat potential cases of plagiarism, teachers and librarians can use resources like the Creative Commons and is a subscription based online utility that helps teachers detect plagiarism in student work. It tests originality of student work against a broad database of existing papers and more than 40 billion websites. Students can also use the resource as a means for checking potential problems in their own work prior to submission. Creative Commons, according to their own website, is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools ( The site allows for a “some rights reserved” system of copyright that allows users to come to the site and gain access to various types of media and research. Users of the Commons must, however, continue to give attribution to copyright holders and ensure that they are using works obtained from the site properly. Always check the type of Creative Commons license that the creator is using to ensure proper use of these materials.