Tag Archives: website

Final Reflection on My Library Learning

This TEDx talk sums up what people need to know; a library is more than just a collection of books.  It is the distribution of ideas and information that is important, not the medium (Bennett, 2014).  In the beginning, when I told people that I had decided to study to become a teacher-librarian, they were surprised to find out I would have to take 10 courses to receive my Diploma.  As I admitted in my first blog post, that was my reaction too.  I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know.  A teacher-librarian does much more than build and maintain a collection of resources, and on this journey I have learned that it is important for a teacher-librarian to:

  • be a leader in the school community
  • advocate for the library program
  • create a space, both physical and virtual, that meets the needs of all its users
  • teach a wide range of literacies including information literacy, digital literacy, visual literacy, literacies across the content areas as well as reading and writing strategies
  • facilitate collaboration among the staff to provide more learning opportunities that will ensure student success

A library website can encompass all these ideals.  So, in reflecting on the creation of my final vision, I can’t help but reflect on the entire process of working toward my Diploma, as so much of what I put into my website I learned from other courses.  This course has allowed me to create a platform using digital technology to share that learning, as well as create something I can use professionally.  Even though I have made a “fake” website, I did visualize a real school when creating it; the one where I realized I had found my niche, and that started me on this new journey.  So, depending on what school I end up at, some information contained in my website will have to change, but much of what I have created I will be able to use anywhere.

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 8.17.18 PMThe challenges I faced were frustrating, but overcome as I took advantage of the expertise available online.  Of course my website will continue to be a work in progress.  Most pages are incomplete, but they do provide an idea of what I want to accomplish.  By providing professional development opportunities on the Teacher page for my staff, I can help develop my role as leader within the school community.  Using my website to showcase resources and services that are essential to the success of students will help me advocate for my library program.  By creating a blog that highlights school community events, as well as pages for students, teachers and parents, I can ensure that my library can meet the needs of all its users.  By providing lessons for both students (Research Tools page) and teachers (Teacher page), I can help improve multi-literacy competency for all learners.  Having a space for teachers on the Teacher page to highlight their library projects will help me facilitate collaboration.

Though it is a difficult time for teacher-librarians, it is also an exciting one as we reinvent ourselves for the digital generation.  Though our core values remain the same, and I am certainly not ready to give up books just yet, digital technology allows us to engage learners outside the physical space of the library.  It lets us share our ideas, knowledge, creativity and imagination with those outside our local community as well as receive others’ ideas and knowledge for use by us; helping us to create life-long learners within ourselves, our colleagues and our students.  So though I don’t think there is anything that will replace the joy I feel of turning the pages of a good book, I am ready to embrace this new medium as an added dimension to my role as teacher-librarian.

pinned by Barbara Schmid

 

 

 Works Consulted

Bennett, C. (2014). The library is not a collection of books: Charlie Bennett at TEDx Telfair street.  Retrieved at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFGCB51xb6U

Image Citation:

Bradley, P. (2014). Flickr. Pinned by Ashley Louden at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/155233518380680576/

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A School Library Website: Who’s it for?

2009_3962573662_card_catalogWithin a generation of users, libraries have changed a lot.  In order for school libraries to stay relevant to the digital natives of today, they require virtual spaces to go along with their physical ones.  Looking at the library websites of the schools in my district I noticed a lack of virtual spaces designed to meet the needs of their school communities.  I want to make sure that as a digital immigrant, I can create something I will be able to use for my own future library.  I believe a website is an important part of the library space, so that is why I chose to concentrate on improving the one I had previously created .  As I have been working on ideastorecreating more content for my website, I have been asking myself many questions.  Foremost in my mind is what do I want my website to accomplish and what technology do I want to use to add to my existing site?  As this blog post is about my reason for creating a website and who I am creating it for, I will start there.

My original vision when I first put together a library website was to create a virtual space that would complement the physical space of the library.  I wanted to allow students to have access to library services whenever they needed them as well as encouraging them to use the physical space.  This rationale is still part of my vision.  Students are used to getting the information they need whenever they choose, so for school libraries to remain useful to their primary users, they need to provide services outside the limited hours of a physical space.  However, I think the physical space of the library is still a very important part of the school community and a library website can be used to encourage students to utilize this space by highlighting new books, services available, or events happening there.  It is obvious that a library website needs to benefit students, but teachers, support staff, administration and parents are also an important part of the school community.  Should I be including content aimed at these members as well?

Besides students, teachers are usually the next biggest users of school libraries and I think a school library website should offer something for them as well.  The one I have created does have a page on which I want to provide resources for teachers.  I also think it would be beneficial to include resources for support staff, EAs, TAs, SEAs etc., but I am not sure what they would need.  Once I get my own library, I might try to find out their information needs and see if I could include content to support them.  A main goal of administration is to provide a school environment that ensures students’ success, so by providing a space that meets the needs of students and teachers I would help them meet this goal.  If I was creating a website for an elementary school I would probably include some resources for parents.  When children are young, parents are encouraged to support their child’s literacy and learning, and resources to help them do that would be helpful to them.  However, parents are usually not as involved in the school community at high school so I am not sure if it is as important to include resources for them on my website.  However, once I get my own library, like with the support staff, I may ask if there is anything they would like to see for themselves in the library.

As a TTOC I have had the advantage of working in many different school libraries and I have observed that their content and services are generally geared toward students and teachers.  Therefore, before updating my own website I decided to take a look at some other school library websites to see if they reflect this.  The School Library Websites wiki provides many examples of websites created by teacher-librarians. I focussed on the high school examples, as that is the level of my website.  For the purpose of this assignment I concentrated on the websites’ intended audience.

Not surprisingly, the primary audience of all of the websites I looked at was students.  They usually had an area for teacher resources as well, though this was often not immediately apparent.

The Big House Library has a section for teacher resources within the Resources tab.  It is easy to get to, but it is not obvious from the homepage that there are teacher resources on this site.

 

 

 

Dr. Charles Best Secondary, a local Coquitlam high school, has a variety of resources for both students and teachers.  However, I did have to search for the ones for teachers.  The New section has lots of website links (for students and teachers) and lesson plans (for teachers).  The Stakeholders page has a lesson plan for teachers though it is on a sidebar with other resources meant for students.

 

The ABC Learning Resource Centre from El Salvador, does have a page on its wiki that contains resources for students and teachers, though again I had to search for it.  The page is simply listed as Useful Resources.

 

 

Not including the ones that were simply links to online catalogues, all of the websites I looked at were similar in terms of what resources they provided as well as their intended audience.  For my own website, it makes sense to focus on highlighting resources and services for students, while still providing resources for teachers.  However, unlike many of the websites I looked at, I want to make it clear from my homepage where the teacher resources are.  I also want to make sure that my library’s virtual space is not separate from the physical space but instead complements what is provided there.  I am looking forward to creating some content that will be useful for the future users of my library.

 

Image citations:

Caie, S. (2009) Card catalogue. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2009_3962573662_card_catalog.jpg

The Idea Store (2013) Sally and Edith in Europe. https://sallyandedithineurope.wordpress.com/tag/idea-store/

 

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My Future Vision

299665_10151332165023844_1830350541_nWhat can I create to highlight the vision I have of my future as a teacher-librarian?  The question comes at an appropriate time as this will be my last project for my last course for my Teacher-Librarian Diploma.   Reflecting back on this course, as well as the others I have taken, I have learned a lot about what it means to be a teacher-librarian in the 21st century.  I think the main thing I have learned is that leadership is a big part of a teacher-librarian’s role; leadership in literacy, professional development, advocacy, information literacy, digital literacy skills and the ability to create a welcoming place for all within the school community.

As a TTOC my future is uncertain.  I don’t know where or when I will have my own library.  On deciding what platform to use to showcase my vision I need to think about my goals as a new teacher-librarian.  Initially I would want to create a welcoming space for staff and students, highlighting the library services my program can offer them.  In terms of digital technology, to me this means creating a library website.  A website gives library users access to library services 24/7, while highlighting what the library has to offer both virtually and physically.  However, for one of my courses last year, LIBE 465, I created a library website as my final project, but I took a look at it this week and realized that there is a lot I could do with it for this course.  When I created it, the goal of the assignment was to focus on information architecture not content.  Consequently, it is pretty bare bones with little digital content I created myself.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 1.31.43 PM

It’s Your Library Website @https://itsyourlibrarywebsite.wordpress.com

There are some pages listed as “under construction” with ideas about what I would like to do with the space.  Others are pretty text heavy, but I wasn’t sure at the time how I wanted to convey the information.  You can read about my reflections on the process I went through on my blog.

 

 

I can now think of a number of ways I would like to update the content using digital technology, creating an artifact that I could use once I get my own library.

  • About Your Library page: my purpose for this page was “to link the physical and virtual spaces of the library.”  Instead of static pictures I think it would be more effective as a slideshow or movie to highlight what users can expect from the physical space.
  • Research tools page: these pages are text heavy and offer a good opportunity for me to create an instructional video which I have never done before.
  • Teachers page: as this page states, I plan on having resources for teachers concentrated here.  I could maybe start with something about visual literacy (the topic for my reading review).  Perhaps creating something to showcase ideas for using picture books in the classroom.
  • Homepage: I would like to keep this page as a blog to highlight events happening in the school and wider community.  I don’t really like the set up as it is, and it seems like a good space to add more social media components.

I don’t know if I will be able to accomplish all these changes for this project, but I am looking forward to doing what I can.  Even though this is a “fake” library website, I am confident I can create content that I will be able to transfer and use once I am running my own library program.

1386147945_digital_banner

 

 

Image Citations:

Springer LibraryZone’s Photos (2013). Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151332165023844=pb.59229643843.-2207520000.1359667560=3

Vaidyaratnam (2013). Digital Library. Retrieved from http://www.vaidyaratnammooss.com/pages.php?menu_id=6

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My Library Website

 It’s Your Library Website

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.

 

 

IMG_0103 Comparing my initial plan to my finished website, there are a few changes.  Some of the main ones are:

  • 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.

 

Works Consulted

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/

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