I'm just curious how many of you have developed your own school library websites? Do you feel that they have improved your profile in the school community? Do they provide better access to resources for your students/staff?
I developed my school library website 5 years ago. Because I am at a 2 year junior high, I always feel like I am reinventing the wheel with the parent community. Students use the site when they have reports and I have a couple of Blogs that kids use as well. I think that it is an ongoing battle, and depends on how techy your staff is.
My school district provides a site for each school and the library has a page within that site. We're limited to one page. The page does accept html and that's about it. No creativity. No flexibility. My page has needed updated for a couple of years now.
Two years ago I developed a website for my school library. I took a class in xhtml/css and coded it myself. The first year it was up I didn't update it so frequently as I would have liked and I didn't do a very good job of publicizing it.
Last year I did weekly updates, spending 30-60 minutes a week, but it's not clear to me how much use it got.
This year I plan to make a real push to publicize it and encourage staff and students to use it, especially since I put a lot of time into researching helpful/useful resources.
I'm hoping to add some interactive features, which might encourage more use.
I checked out your website - it looks great! I like how you have divided information into 4 sections. It works really well. I noticed that you have purchased a subscription to BrainPop. Would you recommend it? I have used some of the free BrainPop movies, but was unsure about how much use they would get by my staff if I purchased access to the entire collection. I'd love to know your opinion.
Marketing the website is crucial. I added a counter to my page, but I've noticed that I actually get a ton of users from outside the district - even outside the country. It's hard for me to tell exactly how much use the website is getting from my own students/staff. My site has been up for a year and a half and I promote it constantly at staff meetings, through memos and in the school newsletter. Nevertheless, I still have staff who I'm sure have never even looked at the main page.... sigh....
Hi! Our district provides us a server for hosting our websites, so I have easy access to update mine whenever I need it. Our faculty and students know it is the "portal" for accessing lesson pathfinders and our databases. Right now, I use FrontPage to do the website---I have been using that for about 7 years---but our district will be migrating to Sharepoint in the next few months, so I will have to redo the entire site down the road. You can visit our site at http://webtech.cherokee.k12.ga.us/creekview-hs/mediacenter.
I also started a blog in February, http://theunquietlibrary.wordpress.com . It has not taken off as much as I thought it might, but it takes time to get the word out....I think that we will see it used a lot more extensively next year as a tool since we will start the school year with it.
I am looking forward to exploring ways to integrate Web 2.0 technologies in school library programs!
By the way, I should mentioned I am very lucky to work in a technology rich school district. We just opened our high school last year, so we are REALLY lucky---every clasroom as a SmartBoard, a mounted LCD projector, and several computers in the classroom. Every teacher also has his or her own laptop, too. In my library, I have 60+ computers, including my own teaching lab. Technology funding for training, hardware, and infrastructure is a major priority in our district---it is an embarassment of riches!
Your website looks great. I love the graphics that you've chosen. It's too bad that you'll have to re-do the whole thing when you move to Sharepoint.
Your blog is terrific too - I may have to add it to my "blogroll"! I keep thinking I'd like to start a library blog, but in an elementary school I really don't think many students would check it out. I'll be that once more people find out about yours it will really take off.
I'm drooling over your list of technolgy in your school. When I mention SmartBoards my staff looks at me like I'm from another planet (obviously we don't have one in our school). We have one LCD projector in the school and it is rarely used by anyone except myself for teaching purposes - a few teachers have used it to show movies to their classes on a "big screen". My library has 8 computers for student use, and our school has a lab located in another part of the building with about 30 computers. At the moment, we do not have a computer on every teacher's desk, however, we are moving to "thin client" technology in our district and within the next two years every teacher should have one computer on their desk - but certainly not several in the room for student use. Don't be embarassed by your "riches".... you should be celebrating! I think it's wonderful that your district is making this a priority - you are really doing your students a favor and preparing them in a big way for the "real world". Enjoy!
I started my library's webpage my first year. http://www.letchworth.k12.ny.us/HLibrary/libmain.htm The school's page was fairly stagnant, so my page was breath of life into it. It has worked like gangbusters both professionally and inspirationally. The classroom resources and research pages have been a valuable assest for fostering collaboration between myself and the classroom teachers. The students have responded positively to the materials put there specifically for them. I try to keep abreast of their interests and tap into my own youthful nature to make it a fun and dynamic environment for them. It is a constantly evolving monster that affectionately refer to as "Sloth" and has not come close to match my vision.
"Sloth" looks great! It's amazing how a website can get both you and your students excited about stuff, isn't it? Yours is really cool. I can understand your feeling of the website being "a constantly evolving monster" - I feel the same about mine. For the first 6-8 months I had mine up and running I spent nearly every evening and day off working on it. I started to burn out. My updates haven't been nearly as frequent lately, but as a result, I have a file of several hundred fabulous sites that I want to add when I have more time. Yikes!
Does all your staff use the website regularly? Mine is hit and miss. I have a few who are big fans, several who have tried it a little, and a bunch who are technophobic and don't even want to bother. I have lots of people from other schools in my district using the site, because I'm the only elementary school in town with a really comprehensive library site. Students seem to be quite receptive, as are many parents, and I think it's extremely important to give them access to resources 24/7 - not just when our actual library is open.
I don't know how librarians today can even do their job without a Web site. I have had a library Web site since about 1996 and when I came to my current school in 1999 I immediately used my former Web site as a model to develop the one I now have.
Over the years the Web site has evolved along with changing technology and my expertise at using tools to develop the site. My most treasured mentors in developing my Web site were Peter Milbury when I was starting out (and stealing shamelessly from his Chico High Web pages) and later Joyce Valenza whose suggestions in various presentations helped me evaluate and refine my site. I've also developed presentations myself on developing school library Web sites for CSLA and IASL conferences.
I work on my Web site almost every day using Dreamweaver as my editor. I am fortunate to have direct access to my Web site and so don't have to wait for changes to be posted or rely upon someone else to make the changes for me. On the down side it also means I can't do certain things with my site because I don't have the expertise to do them but on the whole I'm quite happy with the way my students and staff use the library Web site. Check it out!
Our School District uses an online website software - SchoolWires. It easily allows website development. We do have a list of suggested minimum requirements for each library webpage. We do have quite a wide range of development of the library websites, across our 30 schools. Our district library site has lots of traffic, which I think shows people are looking to the library website for information. In the last quarter of 2007 we had 11,238 page loads and 6389 unique visitors. These are the stats for visitors from outside our school district.
This is my first post (I just joined) and I am blown away by the web sites I am seeing. My own has been up and running for at least four years but still very much a work in progress. I look forward to incorporating some of the what I have learned looking at the listed sites when I return this fall. (Thanks for sharing.)
My site mainly gets used by teachers who ask me to post links supporting various projects.
I was disheartened to read so many say that they did not feel their sites were getting optimal use from their colleagues. At my school, some teachers have created personal web pages that are posted on the school's homework page. They use these pages to create support their currciculum and research, making the concept of having similar resources on the school library page rather redundant.
Is this a trend at other schools? If so, what should a library page look like?