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 Zanesville High School Media Center. The Zanesville High School Media Center librarian is Lori Lee, a third year D/B ICoach. Find the ZHS Media Center website here:
Here are just a few of the things we like about their school library website:
1. The school library is easy to find
Zanesville teachers, students, and parents don't have to look very hard to find out what's going on in the library and what services they offer; there's a link to the media center on the main high school website. Not only does this make it easy for their community to find them, it also reflects a school culture in which the librarian is a collaborative partner in student learning and academic rigor is the expectation.
Having a media center link on their main page is important because students and teachers can interact with the media center website in important ways.
2. Uses Web 2.0 tools effectively
Zanesville teachers can easily see when the media center is available for a class visit or when the laptop carts can be borrowed because links on the media center website display embedded Google calendars. Alongside the calendars, Google forms have been embedded that allow teachers to reserve the laptop carts or schedule a class visit to the media center.
The media center website also features a four minute library orientation video created using GoAnimate for Schools. In the video, the Zanesville High School Media Center librarian, Lori Lee, narrates while an animated version of her visits different spots in the media center. Which brings us to the next thing we like about the website...
3. Gives ownership of the media center to the students
In the video, Mrs. Lee introduces herself as the library media specialist and lets students know what services she provides (e.g., "I'm pretty good with Google so ask if you need help," and "Part of my job is to teach you how to use these"), but more than once she reminds the students that the media center belongs to them calling it "YOUR library media center." The video informs students that they don't need to have a specific reason to be in the library and that food and drinks are permitted in the media center. According to the video, students can print and make copies for free, find basic supplies like markers, tape, scissors, and glue for use in the media center, or purchase other supplies from the "library store." Supplies available for purchase are also clearly listed on the website.
Along with ownership comes responsibility and the video describes student expectations too (e.g., "Make sure your teacher gives you a signed pass, place the pass in the basket, and sign in on this computer," and "Your device, your responsibility"). Media Center behavior policies are also listed online. In short, the video and website prepare students and let them know exactly what they can expect from THEIR library media center.
When the students own the the media center and the librarian's role is to facilitate learning, the dynamics of the relationship are different. The librarian meets learners where they are.
4. Speaks to students in their language
In the video, Mrs. Lee doesn't use a lot of jargon. She encourages students to "kick back in our comfy seating" and tells them that if they want to listen to music but forgot their headphones, "we have some for checkout at the front desk." While talking about how the books in the media center are organized by genre, Mrs. Lee describes it as "more like a bookstore."
She also encourages students to engage with the library through social media saying, "Follow us on Twitter. Let's go blue!"
Not only is the librarian meeting learners where they are when they are in the physical library space, but she is joining them in their virtual environments.
5. Supports student learning
The Zanesville High School Media Center website is organized and links and icons are clearly labeled.
The "Research Pathfinder" takes students to a webpage designed in Google Sites with recommended library books and databases for 11th and 12th grade students doing research in literary criticism.
Have you used an All-Star School Library Website? Share with us on Twitter or Facebook. We'll continue to feature All-Star School Library Websites here on Teach With INFOhio and through our social media sites.