Librarians tour, learn from RAHC

The HCISD librarians visited the Regional Academic Health Center's (RAHC) on Thursday to learn about some of the technology integrated into the center's library. 
The Library Services department was accompanied by Art Cavazos, Deputy Superintendent School Support Services; Michelle Everett, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction PreK-16; and Veronica Kortan, Director of Staff Development.  Gracie Reyna, one of the RAHC librarians, provided an oral history of the RAHC library and their namesake, Dr. Mario Ramirez. 
RAHC librarians have won several awards based on their partnership with the local community.  HCISD librarians heard about computer skill classes, open computer hours, and community oriented programming the RAHC offers to the public. 
"I had no idea the library facility at the RAHC is so community minded and offer the many services that they do," said Mary Jean Lowance, the librarian at Vernon Middle School. "The tour and information was very impressive." 
librahc Ana Cavazos, Sam Houston's librarian, said she was interested in medical students visiting campuses to speak to students.
One of the many exciting things taking place at the RAHC included the libraries efforts to digitalize photos from Hurricane Beulah, chronicling how Rio Grande City and Roma responded to the medical crisis associated with the storm. 
Dr. Ramirez added stories to accompany the photos that told how the citizens of the area creatively tended to the medical needs of the valley people.  Their innovations included incubators made from cardboard boxes for newborns, IV drips constructed from donated glass bottles from a local bottling company, and many other creative modifications.  These pictures are now part of a traveling exhibit that HCISD hopes to display soon at several school libraries.
HCISD has access to many databases that are purchased through the Region One ESC.  These databases provide students and faculty access to online encyclopedias, dictionaries, teaching tools, videos, magazines, and many other fantastic resources. 
On our RAHC tour librarians learned of several electronic resources related to the medical field that they can offer students and their families. 
Rosa Miller, Bonham's librarian, said that she liked the Medline Plus website that can be used by school patrons and families.  HCISD librarians will add these to their list of resources that are available on campuses.
As HCISD moves forward in building the Ninth Grade Academy, it was beneficial to see a modern library's set up that digitally serves many of its patrons.
"The RAHC has a beautiful library facility and I love the wings," Norma Zamora, librarian at Harlingen High School South, said. "It gives their patrons a private area without enclosing them. The lab is not only well equipped but the ergonomics is wonderful." 
Zamora said she also saw the potential for future collaboration among high school medical students and the RAHC.
"Hearing how they regularly analyze the needs of their patrons and the community was a good reminder to the HCISD librarians to continually evaluate the needs of those we serve," Dr. Laura Sheneman, director of library services for HCISD, said.
"The mission of the Harlingen CISD Library Services department is to ensure that students and staff are ethical and effective users and creators of information resources and ideas that will enable them to be lifelong learners," Sheneman said.  "Finding outside partners like the RAHC will serve to make us better and stronger.  We truly believe that strong school libraries build strong students.  The librarians of HCISD are working hard to think outside of the box to meet the needs of today's students who are 21st century learners, the faculty who teach these students, and the families that support them."