Opening Educational Doors at PSU’s Lamson Library and Learning Commons

January 25th, 2011 by Adam

Outside Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library and Learning Commons, the temperature was hovering around zero and the wind was whipping across the snow. Inside the library, a group of Plymouth Elementary school 8th graders were thinking spring; they were researching the best way to make pumpkin plants grow. But to do that, they had to know where to find the information and make certain it was accurate.

Plymouth Elementary School students learning internet research skills at Lamson Library January 24. The class is part of an outreach project developed by staff at PES and Plymouth State University's Lamson Library and Learning Commons.
Plymouth Elementary School students learning internet research skills at Lamson Library January 24. The class is part of an outreach project developed by staff at PES and Plymouth State University’s Lamson Library and Learning Commons.

Their January 24 visit is part of a successful outreach project teaching students fundamental computer database research methods, which will help them for the rest of their lives. Anne Lebreche, Lamson Library Outreach Librarian, said the internet is an invaluable research tool, but it needs to be used correctly.

“Our goal is to expose kids to resources outside their school library and to help teach them the best way to get accurate information,” said Lebreche. “It’s personally and professionally very satisfying to see them learn how to do this.”

The assignment for the nearly forty students was to conduct research and then write a research paper based on what they found. PES teacher Paula Tanner said in order for the students to pass the assignment, they had to know how to sort through untrustworthy information and find the facts.

“They need to understand how to properly produce a research paper by taking the proper steps,” said Tanner. “They need to take the time to investigate, not to get discouraged and realize what a great resource the Lamson Library is.”

Lily Overbagh, PES eighth grader, said a few simple rules helped her to get trustworthy information.

“It’s not hard to figure out,” said Overbagh. “You can’t trust sites with pop-up ads or those that require a login. You never trust a site like Wikipedia, either. You just look for reference dates on when the material was published.”

Plymouth and Holderness residents can get a free borrowers card from the library, free of charge.

The PES eighth grade visit to Lamson is an annual event, started two years ago as a community outreach effort aimed at increasing students’ awareness of the value of library resources. The Lamson Library and Learning Commons contains nearly 350,000 volumes of catalogued material, which is the largest in northern New Hampshire.

Lebreche and three PES teachers involved in the outreach program will discuss the success of their project at the annual meeting of the New Hampshire Library Association in Manchester later this year.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or

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