As long as there have been classrooms and libraries, people have been pulling resources together to produce effective research and learning environments. Once organized, librarians often created lists to distribute to children, parents, and teachers.

With the introduction of electronic materials, many more resources are now available both inside and outside the walls of the library. Librarians are still helping patrons by organized materials.


Let's say young people are reading novels related to weather. One group might be reading Blizzard by Jim Murphy, Blizzard's Wake by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, or Blizzard Disaster by Peg Kehret. Another group might be reading books about tornadoes, drought, floods, fires, or hurricanes. You might want to create a set of web resources related to weather such as Scholastic Weather Watch, NOAA Weather, and 42explore: Weather.

Go to Science Tracer Bullets Online from Library of Congress. This page links to dozens of topics providing book lists as well as web resources.

Librarians may create subject guides and thematic resource lists to organize these materials. In addition to resource lists, some guides also contain information and assistance that go beyond simply listing materials. Known as pathfinders, these subject guides help direct users to resources, but they also provide guidance in how these materials might be used, ideas for locating additional information, and ways to apply the resources in learning.

Pathfinders have become increasingly sophisticated with the introduction of Web 2.0 type tools for creating web pages. The subscription service LibGuides provides many tools for creating pathfinders that incorporate RSS feeds, widgets, and multimedia elements. However you can also use free tools such as Google Sites or any other web service to house your pathfinders.

eye means readExplore the Creekview High School LibGuides by Buffy Hamilton for many examples. Also, check out the master list of LibGuides from elementary through college level.

Watch Buffy Hamilton's video Touring an Unquiet Library Research Pathfinder for the research guide Roman Empire and Julius Caesar.

Read each of the following sections at this website to learn about pathfinders, subject guides, and thematic resources:

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