Library Connections

Entries Tagged as ebooks: No Shelf Required Here

Stay Connected During the Dog Days of Summer

August 05, 2013 · 33 Comments

In previous school years I collected all the library books, conducted an inventory, and hit the door with a few books in hand to read over the summer with little thoughts of how I could stay connected with my faculty and students.  With the interest in our digital and audio eBooks this year I knew this summer would be different.  This was going to be the summer I was going virtual with my school library.

As vacation approached I designed an infographic with suggestions for librarians to stay connected with faculty and students.  I really wanted the list to motivate myself and I also wanted to become more familiar with an infographics software.  As my list evolved, the virtual library plans proceeded to develop.  It all began with a summer reading campaign and promotion highlighting eBook usage during our vacation.

First, I gathered a summer reading committee and we collaborated on photo suefitzgerald2.jpg designing a simple reading campaign promoting our digital and audio eBooks, using Google forms, and posting entries on social media.  I included teachers, administrators, students, parents, and other librarians on the committee.  Although it was difficult to gather for meetings we used Google Drive to collaborate and communicate.   Basically students and faculty signed a pledge to read during the summer on a Google form and entered books they read on a second Google form.  Links to the forms were available on our school website and Facebook page.  

As books were entered I posted results on our school's social media accounts.  Participants will receive a chance to win prizes for each book entered into the Google form during the summer. My principal has agreed to purchase incentive prizes for the summer reading campaign.  In an assembly at the beginning of the school year, names will be drawn and prizes awarded from those who participated.  In the same assembly we will announce the beginning of our school-wide 25 Book Challenge Campaign for the 2013-2014 school year.  This would be a smooth transition from our summer reading campaign into our school-wide literacy program.    

The summer reading campaign was promoted before students left for the school year by inviting classes into the library for a quick eBook usage review, information was posted on our social media sites, students made commercials for our school news show, lessons on eBook usage were screencast and linked to the library's website, our school marquee flashed the data, bookmarks were given out with instructions and passwords, and we skyped with in-coming 5th graders promoting the reading campaign. 

I am pleased to announce that roughly 100 students and faculty have signed the pledge and many books have been entered into the Google form.  With each entry I have posted comments on our social media sites which in turn promotes more interest. I have also answered emails from parents, faculty, and students who were requesting information on eBook usage. I have been able to manage the program at any location with little time taken away from my vacation.

So far the campaign has been successful and I plan on making a bulletin board in the fall titled Where in the World Have You Been Reading.  With the information gathered  from the Google form I will display the location of where our students were reading this summer. 

As a school librarian, I have gone virtual during our summer vacation with a simple plan of blending the tools of the 21st Century, promoting our eBooks, and using social media.  The plan was simple but it kept me connected with my students and faculty during the long hot summer break.   

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 photo SueFitzgerald.jpgSue Fitzgerald began her educational career as a classroom teacher in 1980 in the Houston Independent School District.  After nine awesome years as a classroom teacher she became a secondary school librarian in 1989 and haven't looked back. 

Sue has had the honor to facilitate libraries in Houston, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Dallas, Fort Worth, and now Justin, Texas.

I love to blend my knowledge and enthusiasm into the changing world of libraries.

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33 CommentsTags: ebooks: No Shelf Required Here

eBooks: Delve into Digital

July 02, 2013 · 22 Comments

Are you ready to delve into the digital age with adding eBooks to your collection? Have you already purchased some eBooks only to find no one checked them out? Are your students still stuck in the stacks while you are stumped with strategies on how to manage the digital transition? These are all scenarios that I have pondered over the past few years.

Here are a few components that helped introduce eBooks into our school library program.

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Set goals - Take some time to analyze your collection, circulation statistics, and set short term goals. Stating that you want students and faculty to checkout eBooks is too vague. I started with setting a goal of 100 patrons accessing eBooks by the end of the school year. Statistics showed only 2 eBooks were checked out in the prior school year so this was a tangible goal as far as I was concerned. I am more relaxed and stress-free when I set goals that I feel I may accomplish.

Demonstrate- This might sound like common sense but take quality time to show your students and faculty how to access your eBook collection and sure you fully understand the process. I actually began with my faculty and was amazed they were immediately interested.

Come up with a gimmick or hook- As with any lesson, program, or presentation you need to grab their interest from the beginning. I didn't plan that my gimmick was BYOD (Bring Your Own Device Day) but it just fell into place. I've also used the term Device Petting Zoo since every imaginable device came in on Device Days. It was awesome to watch student on student teaching and learning with the menagerie of devices.

Empower your students with the teaching process- I had great student aides and volunteers but no adult assistant. With 1 librarian and 670 students I have become quite creative in using others to help manage the library program. I coined the phrase "eBook Expert" and when an eBook question was asked I called for an "expert". In the beginning my student aides would step up to assistant but by the end of the school year students that I barely knew were volunteering their time and knowledge in accessing our eBook collection. I need to take note that many students want to help so I need to encourage a process with more student drive assistance.

Promotion- As with any program, your successes need to be promoted and advertised. The more enthusiastic you become in letting everyone know your statistical accomplishments; the more contagious this phenomenon will spread. I probably went overboard since I became ecstatic when my eBook goals were met in December before the Christmas holiday began. As our vacation continued, I watched the eBook reports and sent text messages to my principal with news of eBook usage over the holidays. I also posted on our school Facebook and Twitter feeds with the exciting news. As the eBooks circulation reports climbed I included this data in faculty emails, the school news, the library online newsletter, in leadership, faculty, and district library meetings, wrote blog articles, brought in donuts for faculty celebrating mini accomplishments, and virtually told everyone whom I came in contact with during our  2nd semester.

Inclusion- As I watched my school embrace our library eBooks I also noticed peaks and valleys in the circulation reports. The students and faculty checked out our digital eBooks as long as I promoted the collection. Thus I referenced our eBooks when book-talking, included a quick title eBook list for my patrons, put stickers on books indicating it was also available in eBook format, provided demonstration screencast videos for the school news, and included promotion of eBooks in every facet of programming.

Reflection- Analyzing and reflecting on the eBook data is very important. The library had 106 eBooks when I began this endeavor in early December and I quickly realized I needed more eBooks added to our collection. I delved into Titlewave looking for high interest titles and added roughly 300 more eBooks by early February. I must add the process of ordering and receiving eBooks was a pleasant surprise. I ordered online on Tuesday and was thrilled to see on the following Saturday the books seamlessly appeared on our FollettShelf. That in turn created more text messages, Facebook and Twitter posts, and emails over the weekend.

I am proud to announce that our students and faculty have enthusiastically continued to checkout and access our eBook collection. We have surpassed 1,200 eBook transactions since the beginning of this campaign. I have added audio eBooks to our collection and have embedded our eBook collection use in a summer reading campaign. Factors that may have contributed to our success may include our district providing 1:1 device, students having access to many types of devices, the school's policy for allowing student devices, and the library's device friendly environment.

 photo SueFitzgerald.jpgSue Fitzgerald began her educational career as a classroom teacher in 1980 in the Houston Independent School District.  After nine awesome years as a classroom teacher she became a secondary school librarian in 1989 and haven't looked back.  

Sue has had the honor to facilitate libraries in Houston, Spartanburg, South Carolina, Dallas, Fort Worth, and now Justin, Texas. 

I love to blend my knowledge and enthusiasm into the changing world of libraries.

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22 CommentsTags: ebooks: No Shelf Required Here