Promoting School Library Services
How do you promote your school library and the services you provide? Often, because we are the sole librarians in our school, it is difficult to get the word out about our collection, our resources, and our expertise. On September 11, 2018, the #KyLChat tackled this topic. Guided by questions posed by moderator, James Allen, school librarians from all over Kentucky and some “visitors” from other states provided examples of how they promote themselves and their library services.
What library services do you promote and why?
The short answer is that we promote everything we do! As Kate Osterloh stated, we promote “a little of everything in hopes of finding something for everyone.” Inspired by Jen Gilbert and her EDhub Menu of Services, several school librarians have followed suit and provided teachers with a tangible (or virtual) list of the services they provide. Some of these services include promoting use of the Kentucky Virtual Library, curating resources, instructing on information literacy, giving book talks, organizing breakout games, delivering professional development, integrating technology, collaborating with teachers, and creating tutorials all while checking out books and materials to students and teachers. Rachel Burgin’s motto for her library, #ReadWriteThinkMake, underscores what a wide variety of services are provided by our school librarians each and every day. As Katie Newton stated, promoting our services is “letting people know what we can do or what we have before they will come to it.”
How do we promote our services to our staff?
As mentioned earlier, the menu of services graphic has been a very popular method of making staff members aware of the services offered in our school libraries. Katie Newton has taken the menu a step further by attaching the menu to the school calendar for easy access. Staff members at Jessica Sparrow’s school cannot even visit the restroom without seeing information posted in their stalls! Leslee Frosta created bookmarks and attached sticks of Extra gum to highlight her library services. Cindy Hundley, whose classes operate on a fixed schedule, created a brochure which lists the activities and apps that she will be using with her classes.
Renee Hale has inspired many librarians with her “Ten Minute Tech Tips”. Other librarians promote technology integration by providing professional development sessions before or after school, sending out technology tips in email, and demonstrating use of technology in lessons. Advertising the use of KYVL, databases purchased and digital tools are promoted heavily, and several librarians including Kelli Ralston mentioned screencasting to show teachers how these resources may be used. More than one librarian mentioned “stalking” the workrooms and labs to find out what the teachers need and how they can help. Emily Northcutt reiterated that it is important that we strive to meet EVERY teacher request and that the “answer to HOW? Is YES!
How do we promote our services to students?
Kate Osterloh made an excellent point when she wrote that we often assume that students know what we can do for them. That is not always the case. In addition to our yearly beginning of the year orientation sessions, there are many ways that we can promote our services to our students. Making sure students know about our library website and the resources on it is important. Kelli Ralston uses posters and school announcements to keep her students informed of what’s available online. Jamie Chenault and Katie Newton have book tastings for her students. Katie posted that “what they thought they like is not what they usually walk out with.” Jessica Sparrows hosts a lunch bunch book club. Erin Pifer’s students are on a two week rotation; she shows them something new and different each time and has STEM activities for them during checkout time. Checkout time is also a great time to talk to students and offer book suggestions.
How can we create a “one stop shop” for the library using digital tools?
Overwhelmingly, library webpages are used as our “one stop shop”. Many librarians including Erin Pifer, and Karrie Chajkowski utilize Symbaloo and have it on their Destiny homepages. Amy Page recommended using Google Sites for creating webpages because of the ease in keeping everything together in one place and the ability to link to and update documents. Heidi Neltner warns that we should strive to be “a curator and not a dumper of ideas.” To ensure that does not happen, Nancy Jo Lambert talks about her digital resources with each lesson, Erin Pifer color codes her Symbaloo pages and goes over the tiles to show students what is there, and Cindy Hundley organizes the apps on the iPads so students can find them more easily.
What are our favorite tools and resources for creating promotional resources?
In addition to finding teachers willing to try something new and testimonials from teachers and students to other teachers and students, here is a list of the resources which seem to be utilized the most for creating promotional materials (in no particular order):
- Google tools: Sites, Forms, Slides
- Adobe Spark (and other Adobe tools)
- Meme Creator
What is one new promotion you will try in this school year?
This question generated a wide variety of responses. Here is a listing of some of the ways we will be branching out with our library promotions this year:
- Using Epic! With special education teachers
- Using Flipgrid for book reviews
- More social media
- The Global Read Aloud
- STLP online digital projects
- Collaborate with teachers on PBL activities
- One Book One School
- Starting a KBA book club
- Pursuing Google Trainer status
- Organizing our digital life
- Tumblebook Cloud, Hoopla, and ebooks
If you have not participated in a #kylchat, you should consider joining the next one. It is a wonderful opportunity to not only share ideas, but to also get to know other school librarians. Watch the listserv and twitter for announcements about the next chat and share your great ideas!