Library Orientation Meme Style

I wanted to try something new for freshmen library orientation this year and got this awesome idea from Naomi Bates to use meme’s. Today I tried it for the first time and it was a huge success! I loved looking around the room and seeing kids smiling and laughing and more importantly paying attention! I used Imgflip and Meme Generator to make the memes.

I followed the slideshow with a game of Kahoot to see how well they paid attention. If you’ve never played Kahoot with students, they LOVE it! And there are lots of public Kahoots that you can use and even modify to customize it for your own lesson.

Student Library Aides

libraryaidesAs a solo librarian, student library aides are a tremendous help to me in the library. I normally have a few students each year that are interested in helping out in the library, sometimes this has been very successful and other times not so much. This year I decided to make it more formal and have students apply to become library aides. Even though the application is very simple, I figured if they went to the trouble to fill it out they must be interested as well as invested in the library. I only allow students that are upperclassmen apply because student librarians are primarily responsible for checking books in and out which requires a lot of customer service and I have found that freshman are not yet comfortable in this role. The most important quality a student can have working for me is being friendly and outgoing. All my library aides this year were awesome!

Feel free to download and modify my library aide application for use in your library.

Library Aide Application

Senior Research Projects

One of the things I love about the library profession is how collaborative we are and willing to share ideas and resources. I love visiting other libraries and meeting with other librarians to learn about all the great things they are doing in their libraries. Last summer I arranged for my workshop participants at the Taft School Educational Center to have a tour of their library and we were in awe and amazed both at the facility and how well the library is integrated into the curriculum.

One of the things I took away and definitely wanted to try to incorporate was at Taft every senior is required to individually meet with a librarian to discuss their senior project and research strategy. My school doesn’t have a final research project, and as the only librarian on staff it would be impossible for me to meet with every senior, but our Honors Diploma Program does require a capstone project. I proposed the idea to the Curriculum Coordinator and the Honors Diploma Coordinator and they loved it!!  Yay!! I created this worksheet for students to complete before meeting with me (feel free to download and modify for your use) and I have just started meeting with students. In previous years it was rare that a student working on their capstone project would approach me for help. My main goal is to recommend resources they might not think of and also highlight me, the librarian, as a resource, and that I am always available to help them.

In doing this I hope that when students go on to college/university they might not be intimidated to ask the reference librarians for help in locating resources. A university library can be extremely overwhelming after using our tiny high school library and I love that some universities have started programs that assign each undergraduate student with a personal librarian (Libraries Make it Personal). This is a great way to reach out to students and make them feel welcome in the library.

Summer Reading

who thinks i have a book problem? (274/365)The end of the school year quickly approaches, activity in the library starts to wind down and we have students turn in all their library materials, but what if we let students check books out over the summer?  As a high school librarian that works in a fairly rural area, many of our students do not have access to a public library and may have few, if any books at home. This always saddened me, especially when students wanted to read over the summer.

According to Common Sense Media’s recent report on Children, Teens, And Reading “a quarter (27%) of all 13-year-olds, and one in five (19%) 17-year-olds read for fun almost every day.” This is a discouraging statistic. What can I do in our small community to increase reading? What if I let students check books out over the summer? Last year I did a “trial run” with some students allowing books to be checked out over the summer and it was a huge success, so this year I am promoting it to the entire school. Hopefully encouraging students to check books out over the summer will increase their interest in reading, especially when students have more free time over the summer and are not busy with homework, sports and other extra-curricular activities.

The concern of most school librarians is that students will lose their books or move and the books will never be returned. This is a legitimate concern and one I have learned to overcome. Even during the school year I have students move and never return their books or students that lose their books, so I feel that encouraging and promoting reading over the summer isn’t going to change that. In a high school it’s a little easier to hold students responsible for book loses especially if they do not move. All students are required to return all books or pay for lost books by the end of their senior year to receive their cap and gown. Unfortunately if they move, there is no way for me to recover those items. Fortunately I have an administration that supports the library with a budget that can handle some book loses. I love to see the excited looks on their faces when they find out they can check books out for the summer!

What do you think? Do you allow books to be checked out over the summer?

photo by: sleepyneko

Using Book Trailers for Book Talks

book-trailer-1I recently had a few classes in the library that needed to choose books for projects. One of the projects was how technology affects society so I selected dystopian and science fiction books and the other class had to choose either a fiction or non-fiction book on outdoor survival. Normally I book talk a selection of books but since a lot of the books were new books that had book trailers online I decided to show these. Students were entranced and really enjoyed the experience, I only wish I had a better projection system! I was surprised that the majority of students didn’t know that book trailers were even made and I even included some student made videos to hopefully inspire them to create their own, which would be a really cool class project!

What ways have you used book trailers with your students?

The following are the playlists I used.

 Dystopian & Science Fiction Book Trailers

Outdoor Survival Fiction & Non-Fiction

A Lesson Using EasyBib

easybibThis past week I worked with our freshman class to show them how to use EasyBib. The majority of them have used EasyBib before to create their bibliography, but I recently purchased a subscription to EasyBib for the school that allows students to not only cite their sources and create a bibliography but also create notecards, an outline and link their paper, presentation or spreadsheet to their Google account.

Since I don’t have regular classes, new resources are hard to get “out there.” It takes a lot of work to publicize them and the best way I have found in doing this is joining department meetings. Just the other week I met with the English Department to present some of our new resources that are available in the library, one of which was EasyBib. All the teachers were excited about it and our freshman teachers immediately booked the library for me to show their students how to use this new resource. It couldn’t have been timed more perfectly as they were just about to start a research project.

The teachers were hoping that creating notecards online and allowing them to manipulate the notecards and outline, which in the past students found tedious, would get them more engaged. It was great to see this happen!

Since this was the first time teaching and using EasyBib using these features there was some trial and error, but I always find it empowering for students to discover things that I haven’t. EasyBib has the option to share “projects” which would have been perfect for this group research project, but we discovered that the notecards were “read only” for sharing, which was a bummer. They were really excited to be able to do this, so I hope that EasyBib has this in development. One student mentioned that they would like to be able to resize the notecards, which I think would be a great feature.

EasyBib also has a great smartphone app for both Android and iPhones that allows you to scan the book barcode to create a source citation.

Overall a very successful project for the students!