Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Marketing the Library

One of the requirements of my evaluation is to develop a student learning objective (SLO) that relates to something measurable in the library.  I pondered and pondered what I could do to collect data. Through the years, I have been doing visitor counts to see how many people come in on a daily basis to use the library.  I decided to use that as my SLO, to show growth in visits.

This made me realize that to get people here, you have to make people want to come here.  As I have mentioned time and again, I do a lot of things to make the library a better place.  I have changed the layout, added tons of new books, weeded old books, organized, cleaned, you name it.  Another thing I have done a lot is market.

I majored in Journalism at one point in college and ended up minoring in it instead, but, I was fortunate enough to take a class in Public Relations and a class in graphic design.  I have really used a lot of that knowledge to make tools for the marketing of the library.   Here are a few of the things I have been working on:

  1. Weekly posts about new releases which are emailed to the students.  (I use Animoto to make short videos, link them to YouTube and embed the content on the library website.)  It takes about 10 minutes to do each week, but, the kids are starting to catch on and new releases are starting to disappear off the shelves.
  2. Posters:  I made simple but clean cut posters to hang around the school featuring information about our social media campaign.  They were printed on 11"x 17"paper in color and laminated.  I hung them everywhere kids go (bathrooms, above water fountains, in the cafeteria and in classrooms.)  I also made posters reminding kids about checking email and about things they can get in the library.
  3. Genre specific fliers and posters: I made posters that compare books. "If you liked this, try this".  I hang those around the library and plan to make more over the summer to put in different places in the school (particularly English classrooms).
  4. Newsletters: I can't take credit for this one- a library media specialist in a district here in Indiana shared a copy of hers with the state listserv and I LOVED the idea. I now do a quarterly newsletter via Smore.com that features current hot titles, a special tip and some basic information.  It gets emailed to the staff and students.
  5. Press releases: It pays to know people in print.  Our local newspaper owner (printing about 500-1000 papers a week) has asked me to write a small column about the library, about programs, promotions, what's hot, etc. to be printed each week in the paper.  What a way to get the community aware of what we do.
  6. Teacher reads posters:  I am still working on this one, but, I am going to make a poster for each teacher that they will jot down what they are currently reading and the author.  I am hoping kids will see the adults they look up to reading and decide to do the same. (Fingers crossed!)
These are a start of my plans.  I am still working to develop more ideas and ways to promote the school library.  Since I have started this, my numbers of visitors has increased dramatically.  In 2014, I had 17,000 visits during the school year from August to July.  So far, since August 1, I have 16,000.  We still have 35 days left of school so I can already see an increase in my numbers.  Doing that little extra has really paid off.

Monday, April 6, 2015

From the Archives: Pinterest for the Library

So many teachers are starting to use Pinterest to get ideas for the classroom.  I started using it several years ago, when it was in beta, so I know how huge it can be to curate and find ideas.  It got me thinking that maybe using Pinterest could also be a great tool for the library.  I decided to create a Pinterest account for the Library and share the information with the students and teachers at my school.  What a great tool for everyone.

I decided the key was to create boards that were based on our genre selections in the Library as well as tools we could use in the library.  We are adding boards left and right featuring titles, displays and specific genre.

I love using the boards to organize things.  I am hoping our students and teachers also refer to the site to see what we have available.  I am going to spend a large amount of my summer and snow cancellation days building the boards so they are easy to use and meet my needs.  I also made a lot of posters and advertisements to put around the school and let everyone know what we have been doing.  Let's hope we see an influx of people using the tool to help them out.

To check out either of my Pinterest boards, you can go here:  Library  or Personal

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finding Primary Sources Part 4

I am back to the topic of primary sources and have come across even more that can be used by many for research projects and papers.  All of them are free, some of them have a focus more International than National, so the opportunities are endless.

America in Class is a site established by the National Humanities Council.  The focus is primarily literature and history, but it also offers Professional Development.  The site links topics to the Common Core State Standards as well.  The site focuses on America from its beginnings to present time. The site also has a collection of secondary sources, such as essays and literature written by scholars.  It’s all free to use.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has started chronicling newspapers from all over the United States.  Users can access newspaper articles from every state in the US.  It is sorted by state and paper name.  It lists the oldest issue available as well as the number of issues available.  It’s free to use.

The Wilson Center Digital Archive features an international collection of documents that have been previously hidden from society. The browse themes and documents features send readers to clippings, maps and images about the topics available.  Users see a map with pins in specific areas.   The themes section leads users to many international topics.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Finding Primary Sources: Part Three

The last few posts have focused on Primary Sources for a paper.  Because I am such a nerd when it comes to research and I feel that the most accurate information is by far the best, I feel this topic is one to address over several posts.  I continue with three new places to visit to locate primary sources.

The Avalon Project:  Yale Law has established a large database dating back to the 4000 BC.  Most of the focus is historical and legal, but, it has a lot of materials that a classroom teacher can access.   You are going to find more documents in the 1800s and beyond, but there is a collection of material that can be used for a paper or project.

Spartacus Educational is a collection of documents about specific people and events throughout history. There are specific events listed in the database, but you can also connect to the Index and get a visual link to several topics, including the World Wars, General American History, British History and Biographies.  This site is developed by a Brit, so the text might be written with British flair, (for example, the History of Football isn’t what we American’s know as football, but soccer) it does covers a lot of information.

Fordham University has created a large database of full text sources that is accessible free of charge.  The content  includes a lot of information about Western Civilization, Religion, Revolutions both foreign and domestic.  When you find the topic of interest, you click it and it takes you to a large list of links that relate.  Some topics have hundreds of items available to use for research.   The information is both internal on Fordham’s site as well as external on the web.  Either way, it offers a lot of free information for a paper or research project.