Be a Resource Hero to Your Students

Library Resources | Sara Swenson| July 17, 2018

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Sara Swenson, Media Specialist and National Board-Certified Teacher at Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota, explores how school media specialists can be known as “resource heroes” to their students.

(This article is reprinted with permission from Minitex Consortium)

Minnesota secondary school media specialists: to provide your students with top-notch and FREE test prep materials, let them know about LearningExpress Library, part of the Electronic Library for Minnesota suite of offerings, set up a personalized account for your institution, and encourage your students to register. Your students and parent community will be thankful to you for making these test prep and career exploration resources readily available!

Edina High School has the largest AP program in the upper Midwest and this tool [EBSCO LearningExpress] has been a boon for us!

Not sure how you might use it with students? Here are some ideas from our rollout this past year at Edina High School:

  • Host a collaborative testing session with your local public library. Minitex has resources from other libraries that have done this. Lisa Howes (Hennepin County Library) and I learned a lot from their tips in planning our session.
  • Make an account creation direction sheet and post it to your school library website. Make sure you set things up so your school is the host institution--helps with data tracking.
  • Publicize the resource and access directions in school newsletters and via school communication tools (for us that’s Schoology and Twitter). Our counseling department sent out this info separately, too.
  • Meet with parent stakeholder groups. I met with parent tutors in our AVID and Access programs and the district gifted and talented advisory council, as well as with our district cultural liaisons.
  • Meet with Advanced Placement classes. I met with every AP class for which there is a test and helped students set up accounts. In those meetings, I also modeled how to use the resource.
  • Roll out to 10th and 11th grade students a month before their ACT and PSAT tests. Our advisory teachers helped with this work; I created the slideshow and resource materials for them.
  • Connect with teachers that lead Accuplacer testing in your building to make sure they know about the test prep resources for this test.
  • Connect with ESL teachers to share with them the TOEFL resources.
  • Share with Business Ed, Special Ed, work coordinator teachers, etc. about the career resources.

Edina High School has the largest AP program in the upper Midwest and this tool has been a boon for us! Beyond the resources for students, there are helpful analytical tools for librarians, too. I can run reports to share with building/district stakeholders to show how many students are using the resource and how many tests they have taken, and I can also remind them about the importance of having a school librarian to help teach students about this tool. After AP exams are done, I plan on sending out a survey to students for some anecdotal data to learn how helpful they found this online test prep service.


Since this blog post was written, 87.6 percent of Edina High School students who took AP exams in May 2018 achieved a score of “3” or higher. Although these students used AP Practice Tests from LearningExpress Library, AP test preparation content is also available in LearningExpress PrepSTEP for High Schools, a targeted resource for students in grades 9-12. To learn more about bringing this dynamic, web-based platform to your school library, click the button below for more information or to request a free trial.

PrepSTEP for High School

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Sara Swenson
Media Specialist, Edina High School

Sara Swenson is the media specialist at Edina High School and a national board certified teacher. She also serves as the current co-president of the professional organization ITEM (Information Technology Educators of Minnesota). Sara holds a BA from St. Olaf College and an MLIS from St. Catherine University. She can be reached at

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