Mar 14 2012
Well, I haven’t posted for a while again. The challenge of working every day when suffering from a debilitating illness means that some things simply don’t get done! And writing personal blog posts is one of them.
Despite my illness, I am still trying to drive the development of our Library Services forward. Since last summer, I have been working at our Junior School, upgrading and improving the Library there. It has been fantastic to get such positive feedback from the staff.
At our Senior School, the newish Library continues to be an inspiring place to work every day. It has been so frustrating trying to cope with a weak voice as this has meant that a lot of the exciting aspects of being a school librarian have been out of the question. Slowly, however, I have been dipping my toe in the teaching side again.
What I am able to do is connect with the school community using web-based tools – Twitter, Facebook and the developing library website, Library Online. This site was beginning to get almost too big and I started to think about how I actually want to continue its development. I have decided that I want to use it as a hub for all of the other services that our Library Service subscribes to, such as SlideShare, Prezi, Vodpod, and so on.
I had read about other librarians’ use of LibGuides to create pathfinders or research guides for their communities. Well respected school librarians like Buffy Hamilton and Joyce Valenza had blogged about LibGuides and I had read about college and university librarians using this service too. To continue the development of web-based virtual library services, I needed something that would enable me to make and edit pages quickly, that would blend into the existing website and that would be stable long term.
For a while, I have used Netvibes both personally and for the library and I find this very useful. But I wanted a service that would do more. Bear in mind that we do not have a VLE in this school.
So, I have now been using LibGuides since before Christmas and what do I like about it the most?
- The ability to create guides based on existing ones. You can make template guides and re-use these for consistency. Also, you can search through guides made by other librarians and, with permission, re-use these to save time – there are 1000s of fantastic ready made guides available.
- You can also re-use boxes across guides. This saves so much time when building new guides and you can re-use your own content.
- You can include downloadable documents so that students can access worksheets and powerpoints from home. Or you can embed files using widgets and html so that videos or presentations will run directly on the guide.
- Springshare will customise your guide to look similar to your existing web page if you wish. Then you have the ability to further customise your content.
- You can easily make widgets to embed links to your guides in your library or school website so that students can find them quickly. This is beginning to drive the hit rate on Library Online upwards as students now check there first to see if a new guide has been made.
- So far, the teachers who have got on board are really pleased with the research guides I have made and I have also had really favourable comments from many students. It is showing the role of librarian in a different light to some students and also the staff!
- I like the way that I can easily see the number of hits each guide has had and also see other statistics of the use of the guides.
I think this post is now long enough, so I will sign off now, but come back to this subject again soon as my knowledge and use of LibGuides develops.