Ohio school librarians have some really great websites and we want to highlight a few that we think are All-Star School Library Websites. Why is it important to have a good library website? "Making libraries more visible on the web has two benefits: improving the service for the ones who are already committed to the library...and giving libraries the opportunity to reach those who never—or only sometimes—think about the library" (Fons). Much of the research on library website design is focused on academic and public libraries but proponents of the PreK-12 Virtual Learning Commons would argue that a school library's online presence is equally important because "it serves learning 24/7" (Schaffhauser).
This week we're focusing on Saint Joseph Academy's Nazareth Library. During the recent OELMA conference, Saint Joseph Academy's Nazareth Library was named Outstanding Individual School Library. The library staff at Saint Joseph Academy include INFOhio D/B ICoach Rebecca Synk, Megan Fowler, and Lou Ann Wensink. D/B ICoaches are education professionals who have been certified to provide professional development on INFOhio tools and resources in their school building or district.
Saint Joseph Academy is using LibGuides for their school library website. Find it here:
Here are just a few of the things we like about their school library website:
1. Provides easy access to resources
Saint Joseph Academy students can search nearly all the resources available to them without leaving their school library website because Nazareth Library is using widgets. "A widget is a computer element such as an icon, button, selection box, or pull-down menu that displays information and/or responds to a user's actions" (Mazzei). Nazareth Library has widget search boxes for ISearch along with their JSTOR and Gale subscriptions on their main library page. You can find widgets that you can embed in your learning management system or library website in the INFOhio Toolkit. To learn more about how Saint Joseph Academy uses ISearch, watch the recording of our Learn With INFOhio webinar, Integrating ISearch into Instruction: Best Practices from DBICoaches.
2. Makes users feel like they're in the right place
Students, parents, and teachers who visit the Saint Joseph Academy website and then navigate to the library website using the "Academics" drop-down menu don't feel like they've gone to a completely different environment. Even though Nazareth Library has a unique name (they aren't the St. Joseph Academy School Library) they still use their school logo and colors. They also use a different platform for their website (LibGuides) than their school, but their use of familiar school and community visual details helps provide consistency and lets users know they're in the right place.
3. Makes the library social
Nazareth Library is social! They've embedded their Twitter feed on their library website. They've also linked to their Goodreads profile so you can see what they've been reading. If you've been hesitant to use social media for your school library, check out the Learn With INFOhio webinar recording, Social Media in the Classroom: Engage Students & Modernize Learning.
4. Gives their community what it needs
According to their website, Nazareth Library offers extended hours--before and after school. Do the students, parents, and teachers in your school community know when they can use your school library space? They've also made it easy for students, parents, and teachers to contact them by putting an "Email Me" button on their website. And members of their community can even suggest a library books for purchase using a link to an internal form.
5. Supports teaching and learning
Nazareth Library uses their website to provide instructional support to their community. Guides or pathfinders are a great way to point your students in the right direction, even when they aren't in the library. Their "Conducting Research" tab lists several guides the librarians have put together based on their curriculum.
A student can choose a subject area and then select a class to find a curated collection of librarian-recommended books, databases, and websites along with citation help.