Information Prescriptions: Can they work in a school library?

In a recent news broadcast, a reporter shared a new local hospital program offering information prescriptions to patients.  This initiative helped patients receive general information about a condition, a treatment, or a procedure.  I immediately thought of our students and how we track student progress to close the achievement gap.

I arranged a visit earlier this week and we ventured out as a team to find out how this type of program might work for us.  During this visit Erica Thorsen, Ida Mae Craddock, and I, asked questions about the types of resource materials shared with patients, the documentation procedures used to track the prescription, and the methods used to analyze outcomes.  We learned that the medical librarians connected patients through a physical space and face-to-face visits in acute care settings.  They incorporated public access databases in their patient library and often generated print-outs as well.

As we reflected on this program, Erica and I wondered:

  • How might information prescriptions help us track the academic impact of our existing work?
  • How did this librarian market this work to doctors who wrote the prescription?
  • How did the librarian collect data?

We wondered if we could use information prescriptions as a pilot with one particular class or PLC.  Teachers currently send students in small groups as follow-up to whole group research lessons in the library.  Students in these small groups may have missed class or may need more support to move through the research process. Our information prescriptions resembled a checklist that could also suffice as a hall pass.  We also generated a post prescription ticket for the student to complete.  This would indicate whether the student felt the outcomes were achieved.  We discussed the possibility of teacher follow-up instead.  We envisioned something as simple as a post-prescription email message asking whether the teacher felt the visit had a positive impact on the child’s assignment.  However, we decided to create a student ticket because this would not encumber the teacher with additional work or get lost in the shuffle.  Erica and I also realized it was important to evaluate the student’s ownership over the added skills.  We’ve included our preliminary Research Information Prescription Ticket and Post-Prescription Ticket here.  Please leave feedback on whether this method could help us track our impact in closing the achievement gap or whether this direction is even a #futureready pathway for #library2020.

Photo Credit:  Pharmacy RX Symbol Used on Prescriptions by Nevit Dilmen under CC BY SA 3.0



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