Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Student accountability in the library

I have been pulling my hair trying to get ideas in place that would make a student's visit to the library accountable for what they are doing.   I have a lot of kids who sneak by the circ counter and make their way to the back to the corner.  A lot of them are here to find books, research materials and the like, but a few of them are here to meet a friend and play games.

I have no problem with these concepts, but, I need to keep track of data about their visits, so I started collecting information during sign-in that tells me a lot of information about the kids and their visit.

I started with a google form that each student is required to fill in either with an iPad or on a computer. The form identifies the class period, teacher, student and purpose for the visit.  I can take the information collected and determine the purpose for visits.  Some kids, I am learning, have no purpose. They are here to just hang out or their teacher sends them here for no reason. The google form has helped me a lot with identifying the reasons kids are here and what teacher has sent them. It has helped me get a grasp on the purpose of the library.

It has been a true lifesaver for me.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Revamping space in the library

I am one who rethinks about space a lot.  I spend a little time now and then looking at the library commons I manage and try to figure out what would be the best way to manage the space, especially on the limited budget I have.   I started a coffee shoppe last year and that has brought in a little income that I can use for my space, but not enough.  At this current moment, my library space is merely a book search area.  I want to change it to more of a tech hub/ nook/ reading space.  I want kids to come in and find a spot to relax and get comfortable.  I want to get new shelving so we can provide the students more open areas and we have more visibility.

I have started my process by watching sales and the internet.  I was lucky with one acquisition. The local library where I live was having a garage sale and I was the first to respond.  I got these great work chairs where kids can sit and work on the computer at the same time.  Things like that help me make the space where I work better for the kids.  They come in, find a spot, sit and work.

This summer, we are even going farther. Our custodial manager is also a master carpenter and we have asked him to build us some reading nooks.  Our library is loaded with windows, and the way we moved our shelves to out exterior walls allow for little window seats.  We are so excited to see that and the kids are too (mostly so they can text and read a book).

We are diligently working on a few grants too that might get us some money to buy shelving.  If we get that, the space we have will look like a totally new library.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Blind date with a book, part 2

I posted recently that we were going to do Blind date with a Book in the library.  I had absolutely no idea how AMAZING it was going to be!  We finally came back to school two days ago.  We had wrapped books last week before the big storm hit, since we knew it was coming.   We started with maybe 10 or 12 titles that we were using as new releases that week.  Since Monday, we have already wrapped 20 more books.

We have been keeping track of our circulation statistics and we have checked out 18 books so far.  Some of you might be saying, 18 books, that isn't too many, but, we are a district of 200 7th-12th graders with only about 45 to 60 permitted to visit the library on any given day.   I have never, in my four years in the library seen such an overwhelming response to a theme!  It is amazing.

I have learned a few things with the concept. First of all, no series books unless it was book one.  A few of the books we grabbed were series books and some of them were later titles.  (Can't read a series if you haven't seen book one.)  Secondly, label books that are strictly female.  We had about five boys refuse to get books because they were afraid to get a girl book, so we labeled them as "Great guy reads" or Great Book for Boys too! We will see how much we get tomorrow!

I may have to rethink this and do another Blind topic (Don't judge a book by its cover or something like that!)

Overall, this is by far the best monthly promotion I have done. The students are really enjoying it and I am so excited to see it work.  Anyone out there thinking about a unique way to get kids reading something new, definitely consider doing a Blind Date with a Book theme.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blind date with a book

Anyone who has looked at Bulletin Board displays on Pinterest has seen the Blind Date with a book display featuring a fancy board with some text and then a stack of books covered with paper to unwrap after checkout.   We decided to jump on the band wagon and do that theme for the month of February.  We added a little bit of a twist, all the titles we wrapped are new releases that have never made it to the shelves. We thought it would be a fun way to get some new titles out there in a fun way.

We are working to make the board setup. (The three cancelations last week have made it impossible to complete a bulletin board, so I have no photos to share, just my thoughts)  We wrote the call number on the books and will manually check them out.   We are telling students they have to read at least 30 pages of the book before they return them so they can give them a chance. We are hoping to see a few people turned to a new genre or author.

We are hoping the fancy twist on checkout will make it a fun month for our students and readers.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Snowed in and out of ideas

Usually, I set a goal to write two times a week about something tech related.  I have been snowed in so much lately that I can't try tools and see how they work with my students.  I am stuck at home with the computer and Netflix and not much of a chance to experiment before I share.

We are out again, our 12th day since Christmas break ended.  Probably going to miss the rest of the week. It has been absurd to say the least, and it has made me so behind that I can't keep up with my blog and my school work.  I am hoping I can spend a little time today while I am drifted in to reflect on a few things I have come across of late.

I have been spending most of my free time at school working with our video for the Follett Challenge.  I had to learn how to use Camtasia, I figured I may as well.  The school bought it for me, so I might as well try to use it.   I really like the software and I think it so easy to work with.  I have spent a really long time assembling a video.  I think what we have is going to be awesome and hopefully, fingers crossed, we can win some money.   Our library is such an antiquated mess. My shelving dates back to the 60s, it is all high and double sided.  I would like to win enough to replace what I have and add exterior wall shelving around the entire library and try to do away with as much shelving in the middle.  I would like to make reading spaces and work zones.  I would like to start weeding out more of our nonfiction, some of it is so old and unused. I would like to revamp the coffee shop as well.  A gal can dream, right?

So, that is what has taken me away from my blog- working on grants and contests.  Hopefully, I can start spending more time doing some research and get back to blogging.