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Area residents study children’s literature in Germany

By Rebecca Boney

071006veltze_group.jpgBOONE—Eight students in the master of library science degree program at Appalachian State University are in Munich, Germany, studying at the International Youth Library.

This is the second year that Appalachian has offered the study abroad course “International Youth Library Research,” which is hosted by the International Youth Library.

Participants are Sharon Jacob from Pinnacle Elementary School in Rutherford County, Jennifer Dellinger from West Lincoln Middle School, Kishia Moore from Deyton Elementary in Spruce Pine, Elizabeth Stringer and Nicole Boyette from Galax High School in Galax, Va., Jerrianne Queen from the Catawba County Public Library and Kimberly McFall Benfield from Winget Park Elementary School in Charlotte.

071006schloss_blutenburg.jpgThe students will work and conduct research on children’s and youth literature.

The trip is an opportunity that Dellinger felt she could not pass up. “I signed up immediately. It seems to be the perfect chance to put into practice some of the things we’ve been learning in our master’s classes so far,” said Dellinger, who is a media specialist at Battleground Elementary school in Lincolnton.

Established in 1949, the International Youth Library is the largest library for international children’s and youth literature in the world. It is an internationally recognized center for the world’s children’s and youth literature. The library is housed in Blutenburg Castle in Munich.

Currently, the library represents 145 different countries’ literature, which is what makes this trip so special, according to Linda Veltze, a library science professor at Appalachian and organizer of the trip.

“Our library science participants are, in the most part, already working as public librarians, public school librarians or teachers. This course will impact every student and patron with whom these graduate students come into contact. These children will learn about children’s literature from many countries not just that published in their own,” Veltze said.

The graduate students will have access to specialists in the field of children’s and youth literature from all around the world, said Veltze. The library is home to full- and part-time staff members to whom the students will present their research findings at the end of the month.

The trip also is a great traveling experience for the students, said Veltze. They will visit museums in Munich, San Gallen, Switzerland, and Salzburg, Austria, during their stay abroad.

Many of the graduate students feel the study abroad course will help them in their own careers once they return home. “As a teacher, I design my lessons around the ‘learning by doing’ philosophy, and I’m looking forward to putting that same thought into practice for myself, as we work and study overseas,” said Dellinger.

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Photo caption: Eight students in the master of library science degree program at Appalachian State University are studying children’s and youth literature in Germany. Their work is being conducted at the International Youth Library housed in Blutenburg Castle in Munich. (Photos courtesy of Kimberly McFall Benfield)