Though I do not have my own library yet, the pictures and information I included in my website are based on resources that are available in my School District and through a high school library I often work at. However, since my website is not real, I haven’t actually created any links to these resources, but simply indicated where I would put the links. I don’t have a specific name for my library but instead decided to use a slogan I came up with for my future library in a previous course, LIBE 461. (A library assistant I often work with always answers the phone with “It’s Your Library”. I liked it for a slogan and she said I could use it.)
The Blog format of WordPress makes it easy to add information to sidebars, called widgets. I chose a theme that included a “feature widget” in which I put the information about the Library Catalogue, as I wanted it to be highly visible on the first page. I don’t have many widgets right now but ones I would like to add in the future (I couldn’t seem to get them to work how I wanted right now) include: Word of the Day, The SciShow from YouTube, News Headlines (from a variety of news media), and Goodreads (listing new fiction added to the collection).
I spent quite a bit of time working out the information architecture of my website. A shallow hierarchy is easier to use than a deep one because content is not buried under many layers that are difficult to get to (Whitenton, 2013). As I don’t want my students to have to click too many pages to get to the information they need, I decided to go with shallow architecture WordPress automatically adds pages in drop down menus, so students will be able to find the page they need with only one click in most instances.
- I added another page, About Your Library, because I wanted to link the physical and virtual spaces of the library.
- I added a Publish Your Work page under Research Tools to complete the steps students go through when researching.
- I had forgotten about my District’s digital library, so I added a page for that too in Online Resources.
- I added an extra level for my Website Collection page. The 3rd level will be pathfinders (websites organized by subject/topic) before linking to outside sources (4th level).
Most of the pages in my website are classified in terms of the type of resource or service offered by the library. The only exceptions are EAL Resources and Teachers. Both these groups have different needs than others in the school community. Therefore, I want to ensure EAL students and teachers know what services and resources the library provides that are unique to them.
Even though we were not required to develop a library catalogue as part of this assignment, I have been thinking about the classification system I would like to use in my library. I think I would like to have a modified version of the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC). I have always taken DDC for granted and never thought about how it organized information or could be changed to better suit the users of a library. However, the article by Marjorie Gibson, describing the sur~F! (See. Use. Reshelve. Fast!) system some elementary schools are turning to (Gibson, 2011), made me realize that there is not a lot of point to a cataloguing system in which it is too difficult for users to retrieve information. For a high school, I don’t think I would get rid of DDC altogether, because Dewey Decimal numbers do provide an efficient way to access information for older students. I would, however, like to tweak some sections. For example, I would like to expand the Canadian history section so the library wouldn’t have rows of shelves of 971 with only one or two shelves of 973-999 (American History). I would also like to put some of the 300s (industry and environment) with the science books in the 500s. Just like I am developing how I would organize the resources in my library’s virtual space, ideally, I would like to modify the cataloguing in my physical space so that it is more relevant to today’s students.
My library website is definitely a work in progress and I have made notes on a few pages indicating how I would develop them in the future. However, as it is, I don’t see students using this website unless they are encouraged to do so when conducting research. Students often go to school libraries to read, socialize and generally connect with friends. I think the virtual space libraries create should reflect this, and though the Blog portion of my website has the potential to attract students for more than just research, I don’t think it is enough. I agree with Loertscher when he states that school libraries, including their virtual spaces, need to revolutionize to become more relevant to how today’s students learn and communicate (Loertscher, 2008).I see the possibilities for using social media like bookmarking, tagging, twitter etc. to bring more collaboration to my website, but I am not sure yet how best to incorporate these ideas. Once I have my own library, I think I will enlist the help of its primary users, the students, in designing its website. Like in the physical library space, students need to see themselves and their interests reflected in the library’s virtual space as well. I think designing a website would be a great class project for an IT class in high school, and by collaborating with students, I could help ensure we create something that everyone will value, use and enjoy.
Gibson, M. (2011). Innovative 21st century classification schemes for elementary school libraries. Feliciter, 2(57): 48-49, 61. Retrieved at http://www.cla.ca/Content/NavigationMenu/Resources/Feliciter/PastIssues/2011/Vol57No2/Feliciter2_Vol_57_2011_web.pdf
Loertscher, D. (2008). Flip this library: School libraries need a revolution. School Library Journal, 54(11), 46-48.
Whitenton, K. (November 10, 2013). Flat vs. deep website hierarchies. Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved at http://www.nngroup.com/articles/flat-vs-deep-hierarchy/