Posts Tagged ‘library’

PostHeaderIcon Mobility and the Library: Creating a Mobile Library Site

Hello Everyone,

So sorry for the lack of updates in quite some time.  I can only say time flies in a Middle School Library and especially during your first year in one.  I have been working on so much and the students are really enjoying the space.  In fact, students decorated the library windows with holiday messages written with window markers (a very excellent investment might I add).

I have currently been looking into Mobile options for my site.  So, whenever I am looking to do something, I begin researching what others have done.  It is a lot easier to edit than to create from scratch.  There are many options out there: template, free, paid, and coding from scratch.  Now my comfort level at some of the information needed to create from scratch was lacking, so I decided I had to find something that had already been created that I could edit.  I am pretty good at understanding content and editing it somewhat.

For a quick and easy solution, I used winksite to create a mobile site:  It does serve its purpose, but I have to admit that I want a site that is a little bit cleaner.  It was much more flexible than many of the sites I tried.

There are of course many paid possibilities, however, saving money is key in a library.  If we do not have to spend that money, why do it?

In my quest for a free option, I came across Washington Research Library Consortium which has created a mobile site resembling many apps used today.  They have really taken the idea of the mobile site to heart and realized that it is not a replacement for the website.  It is merely another access portal.  It does not try to be everything but whittles down the site to three components that patrons would want to view on the go.  View the site here:

WRLC used the iWebKit and with a bit of CSS, HTML, and time was able to create something truly professional and stunning.  I emailed the creator on the site and the Systems Librarian gave me all the information on the mobile sites creation via Google Doc of course :)  That sent me to iWebKit which I am really excited about.  I have not delved too deeply into the kit but thus far I am impressed and feel I can use it to create a really customized mobile site.  As long as you are not a commercial enterprise, it is freely available at 

Joel Shields gave some good advice when trying to create a mobile site:

“A few things to keep in mind when designing your site:
- Brevity is the soul of mobile design.
- Make the URL familiar and easy to type for a mobile device.
- Don’t overdo it.
- Make it a personal experience for the user.
- Mobile is a supplement, not a replacement.
- It is OK to leave things out.
- Make it look good.
- Plan for the future. Leave yourself room for growth.
- Track usage.
- Advertise.”

Enjoy and keep creating :)

PostHeaderIcon Learning Commons Update

I am currently in a Middle School that had the traditional library model in place for many years.  I am not a traditional librarian.  Leave your library media specialists titles at the door.  The library is about the students and creating an atmosphere students want to come to and become creative and innovate.

In fact I have renamed the library the library learning commons.  Why not just learning commons?  Well it has a lot to do with baby steps…completely changing the name would not help a transition.  I also like to think about what Valerie Diggs said about creating the programming first.

One of my major breakthroughs was when some students wanted to create websites for things they are interested in.  This is outside of school work and school projects.  They are taking things they care about and are interested in and creating.  What more could I ask for?  I was a bit giddy with excitement when the students felt comfortable to ask for help.  As a result of this, I will be staying after-school each Thursday to help and learn with students about web design.

The floor plan of the library was extremely compartmentalized.  In an effort to make the space more inviting, I relocated two bookcases.  Teachers and students alike have enjoyed the space.  I also, with the help of student assistants, have sorted the fiction books into genre. The reason for this change was to aid students’ location of books themselves.  Making the library more user friendly is always paramount.

Student helpers have become a big part of making the library a welcoming atmosphere.  Staff reductions have challenged the library program.  I do not have a library assistant every day.  All three learning commons share a single library assistant.  So every 6 days she is at the middle school two days.  Therefore, student helpers are imperative and the students love it.

Future plans include book fairs, of course, as well as listening lunches.  Taking advantage of the musical groups and talents in the school will result in an open forum for student talent.

Technology and wireless are a defining part of the new learning commons.  The last librarian purchased 4 ipod touches but did not have a chance to utilize them.  Upon the opening of the library learning commons this year, those iPods were loaded with educational apps, music, audiobooks, and much much more.  Students can check them out during study halls and use them in the library learning commons.  Thus far, I have noticed many students use them to listen to music while doing homework.  They also tend to use one as a group.  It is a social experience.  They use the camera and edit pictures on the fly with CamWow.

More to come….:)


PostHeaderIcon eBooks

International Children’s Digital Library

The International Children’s Digital Library is a website with thousands of eBooks from more than 60 countries.  Browsing the catalog does not require registration.  However, if you do register you can save pages and create a personal bookshelf.  There are iPhone and iPad apps for reading books.

You can find books in nearly any language from Afrikaans to Yiddish.  An excellent source for international students and ESL students.

Browsing in the catalog includes age, genre, language, length, and color of book cover.  One can read the book page by page or by selecting a specific page.


PostHeaderIcon LM-Net

LM-Net Wiki

This post is just a reminder on a resource I have used for years.  LM-Net is a repository and listserv for librarians.  You can find the wiki here with has aggregated the information from the listserv.  You can also sign up for the listserv.  “LM_NET is dedicated to school library media specialists worldwide, and to people involved with the school library media field.”

April 2014
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