Millburn High School Librarian Publishes Book on Middle School Research Skills

Millburn High School Librarian LaDawna Harrington recently published the Second Edition of her 2006 book, Guided Research in Middle School, Mystery in the Media Center. The book is designed to teach middle school teachers how to help their students improve their problem-solving, critical-thinking and organizational abilities. Using the guided inquiry model, students become detectives at Information Headquarters, and learn to fine-tune their research skills.

Ms. Harrington has been the librarian at Millburn High School since 2010.  She says, “School libraries and librarians provide students with information Google cannot provide. Students today are overwhelmed with too much information. It is my role to help students understand the structure of information and to work collaboratively with classroom teacher in order to prepare our students for the rigor of college where they will be expected to work with scholarly sources of information.”

Harrington is also a part-time lecturer in the School of Communication and Information at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. Active in the New Jersey Association of School Librarians, Ms. Harrington is the past president and currently the chair of the organization’s outreach committee. She worked on the DOE Technology Strategic Planning Committee and the New Jersey Information Technology Infrastructure Advisory Group.  Prior coming to Millburn she was a middle school librarian in Woodbridge where her school was one of 9 schools chosen for statewide study of the “Impact of School Library on Student Learning” done by CISSL (Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries). While in Woodbridge her library program was highlighted on Classroom Close-up. She is the recipient of the Outstanding Media Specialist Award for exemplary leadership in school library media service.

Mrs. Harrington explains that Guided Research in Middle School came about after years of collaborating with a classroom teacher as they studied how students do research and how to help them improve their skills. The book provides step-by-step guidance for students that will help them learn to make inferences and explore ideas. The first section of this book describes lessons, strategies, information standards, and materials necessary to teach the lessons. The second portion is a student casebook, designed to guide students through the research process, while encouraging them to ask questions, be observant, and get actively involved.

The book is a family affair, as Mrs. Harrington’s daughter Rachael, Harrington, a graduate of Pratt Institute, did all of the illustrations. Rachael is currently using her talents in the performing arts arena where she is currently directing Don Pedro de la Cebolla (a play her father, Matthew Harrington wrote), at Royal Family Productions in NYC. She has also successfully produced 2 music videos that have won awards.

Mrs. Harrington will be the featured speaker at the Millburn High School PTO meeting on Wednesday, January 12 at the Millburn Public Library at 10 am. She will speak on the topic of “The Internet is Not the Library, “ during which she will touch on subjects such as plagiarism in the age of technology.

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  1. This is so important. Research is a skill that takes more than typing in a couple of phrases into a box. “It’s not in Google” is not a stopping point – it’s a challenge. Google is good, but the brain is better.

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