Marketing Your Virtual Library to Staff

This past week the middle school librarian and I presented to a small group of teachers about our virtual library resources. Just having this small group is a big success, since the last time this was offered no one showed up. The presentation took place after school in the middle school library so the majority of the teachers were from the middle school.

It was a short one hour presentation jam packed with information; I think we may have overwhelmed them, but I’m sure they walked away with valuable information! The middle and high school have a lot of cross over when it comes to what we have available, from Maine’s Virtual Library MARVEL, to the databases we subscribe to and the middle school librarian focused on these, while I presented how to access our new e-book and audiobook collection through OverDrive.

Some other ways to market your library resources to staff:

  • Department meetings
  • Lunch time presentations
  • After school presentations
  • Newsletters
  • On the fly when you hear a teacher talking about a classroom project. This has worked wonders numerous times, whether it’s a virtual resource or just a book that would work well. Always keep your ears open and don’t be afraid to ask about what cool stuff is going on in their classroom.

We have an abundance of resources available to staff and students and marketing all these resources can take a lot of time and energy, but it is extremely important that we do this. The library is not only a physical space but it is now a virtual presence that can be used outside the library. Marketing these resources so that they used and are considered important to the school curriculum will ensure that the library is considered a vital asset and resource. We hope this small group will spread the word to other staff and more importantly use these resources with their students. One teacher has already scheduled his classes for the library and lots of e-books/audiobooks have been checked out by students, so I would say it was a success!


Weeding the School Library

“You’re getting rid of MORE books?” I heard this from a teacher this morning as I was boxing up books to be carted away.

It never continues to amaze me that there are people who think that we are the “keeper of the books” and that we should never throw books away, especially teachers. Don’t they want their students to have the most up to date information available? It is so important for school libraries to keep their collections relevant and current.

First and foremost school libraries have limited space, so it would be impossible to keep every book when we purchase new books every year; we would eventually run out of space. Each time I am questioned as to why I’m throwing out books I  try to explain….

  • Why would I keep a book that discussed how it might be possible to land on the moon? (I did find a book like this on the shelf!) The collection should have up to date material so that students get the most accurate information for their research.
  • It’s important to provide books that meet the needs of the school curriculum. My library had an extremely large collection of literary critical analysis books, many for authors that weren’t part of the curriculum, but were taking up valuable shelf space. These were discarded so there was space for more relevant books.
  • Library shelves should be attractive and appealing. If shelves are crammed with old books it’s not going to entice students to browse. I recently weeded some reference book sets because most of the information can be found online in our databases. This allowed me to create a display area for new books, which increases their visibility while also increasing circulation.

I weed throughout the school year and I usually tell my library aides that they shouldn’t let me shelve because I end up weeding at the same time:) Last year I ended up weeding some sections while I was doing inventory, which I would not recommend; I think I made more work for myself in the process. I would recommend setting up a schedule and the CREW Method is a great way to assess your collection and determine if items should be weeded.

I think the hardest section to weed is the fiction section, but I’ve come to the conclusion that if a book has not been checked out in 10 years, it’s probably not going to get checked out, especially if the cover is unattractive. Let’s face it, we all judge a book by it’s cover, even though we shouldn’t.

For some fun check out this blog, Awful Library Books, which highlights books that have been discovered on the shelves and weeded.

What treasures have you found on your shelves?

Happy Weeding!