Welcome, I’m Pam Harland, all of my slides are available on my wordpress site..
I’m the school librarian at Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston NH…
It’s a 4 hour drive.. We are close to the coast of NH
I’m going to talk about the 6 steps it takes to get from here…
to a user-friendly, relevant space, where they have the resources they need
from complicated rules and confusing materials
I’m going to talk about how we moved from a good library, to a great learning space
First step: When you have goals for your library or learning commons, make sure they are user-centered or user experience goals
Do not have facility-centered goals! These are real sigs at real libraries.My first day at every library I’ve worked at, I’ve gone around and taken down all of these kind of signs
If your goals are technology centered goals you get a lot of this. You’ll be the out-of-touch rule-enforcer, instead of a facilitator of learning.
This is the user experience model. Not just one or the other… but all three equally. I often start with usability, and then adjust for how it looks… finally, after watching people use the space, you will see the interaction.. It usually takes time and input to get a good balance.
This is one of our main goals. Our USER Centered goal is to connect users with information, we don’t mean: in any way possible- by inundating them with so much info they have no idea what to do… we mean focusing on our users and their needs. And figuring out a way to present it to them, at their level, on their terms- so it is usable, organized, and functional.
I think I’m breaking up with Dewey. Although it’s a process. We’ve been together for a long time and it was really good for most of that time. He helped me out a lot.
However, we outgrew each other. He’s actually kind of out-of-touch and not helping connect my users with the information they need.
Before I show you what we did.. I want you to understand that our nonfiction print collection was in its death throws.This was literally our last gasp at keeping the nonfiction collection… to show our users we are not “out-of-touch” rule enforcers- and to try to get these resources into their hands.
Before you even start thinking about this… our first step was weeding like mad!
We weeded more than 25% of our nonfiction books… very heavy weeding- every 4th book is off the shelf now. (we have about 15 books per student) but this was about our goal of connecting users with information… the weeds were confusing everyone with bad, outdated information.
After weeding we went through the collection and pulled titles that had frustrated and confused us and our users. For instance: travel books in the 914s…
And country books in the rest of the 900s. This was the 958-959 shelf.. Middle east to asia.. Country books and books about wars memoirs, primary sources..etc..
Old system: dewey range on the shelf marker. This always drove me crazy!The 900s were the most used of our collection, so we knew this was going to need a complete overhaul.
We made temporary signs at the top of each range - and started putting the books on the shelves so it made sense to our users.
For instance, we put the country books in alpha order.As we show the new system to students, they say: I assumed it was supposed to be like this and the old way was just messy books.As we put the books in the order we wanted, we realized we would have to recatalog every single book. We went with simplicity…
Close up of country label
We love it… we talked to teachers and students about this- and everyone loves it.. No complaints at all.
We chose headings based on books our users frequently asked us for.
Our original plan was to recatalog everything with new Dewey numbers, to get the books in the order we wanted. Just like the country books, we knew we were going to have recatalog almost all of the War and Decades books.
Why assign a code, when what we wanted to say was this? I remember saying to my assistant: we need to figure out a dewey number that will get the 1920s BEFORE the 1930s, etc. They were mostly cataloged in 973.9I said, we need a number that says “Decades: 1920s”. Our simplified system may not work for a large library, but it works for us.
In the catalog we kept it super simple!Students never ask us where the books are… they look it up and go right to the Decades shelves.
We tortured ourselves over what to put on the spine of the Shakespeare books. This was the first section we decided to not even use words!They used to all be “822.3 SHA”
After we set up the displays, changed the spine labels, we recataloged everything.
Student see this mobile display from all over the library.Access to these frequently requested materials is immediate and seamless.
Students asking for “the fun books” or the “the weird books”
Postsecret in the art books, How to Survive a Robot Uprising in the literary essay section.
Now they are in a section called “Curiosities & Oddities” Notice that we kept these dewey numbers… it’s a display with 6 shelves and we wanted to be able to find things quickly. We are not sure if it’s going to stay this way… but in the meantime, the books are FLYING off the shelf.
Some books we took out the call numbers… others we included a prefix.
For the bulk of the nonfiction, we kept it in Dewey order, but changed the Dewey range signs to subject labels (like in elementary schools). Not only do our students like this, but we like it too.
We tried to pick words that our students would be familiar with- we didn’t choose the Library of Congress subject headings.
Some of our Other displays are: Poetry- now alphabetical by poet, not broken into north american, european, and other (poor haikus were always in the 890s, far from the rest of the poetry)
Cookbooks. The biggest feedback we’ve had on this is people didn’t know we had cookbooks.
Geography & history along the back wall.
Our administration was pushing for this: Minneapolis' Benilde-St. Margaret's School Library
They were hearing news stories like this and hearing me talk about weeding books, low usage, and breaking up with Dewey… San Antonio’s Bexar County public library: BiblioTech
Cushing Academy, a private school in Massachusetts got rid of their books in 2009.I still love reading print books and I know there are students who do, too.
Second Step: Prepare students for a Quickly Changing World
For rapid change!How are you preparing users for their next steps… college, career, or just the “real-world”
Teach them to be TRANSLITERATE- to view things in more than one way!across multiple medias and formats)Be the place that supports your students and teachers…
collect different versions, evaluate resources (not just for accuracy, but for entertainment and student engagement) and curate it for teachers and students.I create a libguide for required reading titles- as a place to curate information and prepare our students for a transliterate world
We have a tv mounted at the checkout desk… it’s always on the news. We have newspapers, magazines, and other print current events, but I wanted students exposed to events happening now.We leave the tv on closed captioning, and occasionally turn the volume up.
One of my favorite things is having students walk into the library and say “oh wow, did you hear about that?” and then 2 or 3 of them stop by the tv and comment on some current event. Just another form of transliteracy: viewing things in more than one way.
(prepare your users for the Real world)We feel like we are all being inundated with a wide range of hands-on computing tools… we wanted to expose our students to them. We created theTechnology sandbox: Another UX Goal:increase access to new technologies and give all Sanborn students easy access to these tools that are revolutionizing education, information, and the creation of digital media.
We saw that our students needed tools to create and access their own content. So we purchased digital cameras, video cameras, usb drives, digital voice recorders, iPods, media card readers, ipods, apple tvs, headsets, chromebooks, ipads, and android tablets.We weren’t sure which tool was best for our students, so we were sure our users (students, teachers, administrators, and technology staff!) wouldn’t know either. We wanted to see students experiment with devices. We wanted teachers, tech staff, and administrators to try out some different tools before investing in them. We wanted people to be able to hold a device before buying a Christmas present.
This is how we organized it. We keep batteries, headsets, cords, memory cards, tripods, a mobile green screen, with the tools themselves.
And we promoted the technology sandbox with messages in the school newsletter and signs on the tables.Provides users with a laboratory
And we set up a permanent green room for using some of the tools in the sandbox
And encouraged them to learn to evaluate the right tool for the job
How is the library contributing towards these skills? Complex problem solving gets into evaluating information sources. From Forbes!
This is how we get our students to evaluate information sources.. With a Memorable, attention-getting name.Developed by librarians at California State University, Chico.
We use the CRAAP test as a template in our school’s Google Doc account. All students, teachers have access to this document. I can also embed it in Libguides.We tell students to fill this out for every general website they use in their research. They don’t have to fill this out for databases and ebooks- those sources have already been evaluated.
Step 3. Establish Anywhere Anytime Programs
Create a useful website. I’ve adapted our school’s Joomla website into my library page.
I love libguides. Essentially they are a place to organize links & content for projects… mostly research projects.
Scholarly resources for college-bound… see the tab for presentations
Scholarly presentation, embedded in the presentation. The teachers of our AP classes show this to students before they start a research project in the library.
Video tutorials.. Teachers are told to flip their classrooms… well, we can flip our libraries, too. This allows us to spend more one-on-one facilitation of research skills, rather than time lecturing.
Our EasyBib accounts are connected to our Google Accounts… makes it easy for Freshmen to get into EasyBib (no account creation step)Whatever tool you use… try to make it easy for students. They may remember to use it when they leave your library!
I like to remind students of anytime, anywhere citations with the EasyBib app!
Databases by subject… I like how this looks, but according to this, we have 9 databases to pick from.
When I list it this way, we have over 20 databases to choose from- in a variety of subject headings.When they get to college, they are going to be overwhelmed with the number of databases to choose from.
Here is a subject specific guide… with links directly to our ebooks, parts of Ebsco, ProQuest
make web tools available on the mobile devices your users have. Before I buy a new database, before I buy ebooks, I like to check them on my iPad and iPhone.
we talk to students about different ways to access our resources based on the devices available to them.
Step 4. Obsess About Service (this is willow the white whale, seen off the coast of Norway.
I’m not recommending we obsess like Ahab… but always have it in the forefront of your mind.What is it that you can do for your users that will make their learning & teaching more authentic; more successful?
Start by Giving ‘em what they want!
Create a self-service supply area, so you don’t spend your day handing out scissors and glue sticks
Don’t enforce arbitrary circulation policies.. Allow your users to check out as many books as they need.
Watch them to see what tools they need while they are in the library.
Watch your users, to see what they use and how they use your space. Observation is SO crucial. Here is a time when you may feel uncomfortable… things may not be pretty and you have to let go of some control. Which is hard for a lot of people.But if you can literally step back and just watch your users.. You will learn a lot!
Watch them to see what tools they are bringing in.
And where they want to use them.
Allow users to adapt your space
Peer-to-peer learning cannot happen in a silent library.. Learning is noisy. Don’t waste your time being the library shusher!
Collaborate with anyone and, eventually everyone. This innocent teacher came in to read a book and listen to his iPod between classes. I hopped right over and started talking about his US History class. The next thing you know, we had planned a short research practicum with his Juniors.Don’t make your teachers make appointments or fill out complicated lesson planning sheets or collaboration forms.
Our administrators and staff were looking for a more flexible space to hold school-wide trainings and events. Before: the library was split in half with all of these high reference shelves. We got rid of the shelve and replaced most of the reference collection with the Gale Virtual Reference Library
Now that the ref shelves are gone we can open up the whole library.. By wheeling our mobile shelves out of the way. Our administration likes to have staff meetings in the library because it’s comfortable, we have the technology they need, and now it is so much more flexible with the mobile shelves.I like to have staff meetings in the library because people are surrounded by our wonderful resources and in our comfortable space.. They want to bring their classes down and collaborate.
This is what we replaced those print reference books with.. The print reference ruined the flow and the flexibility of the space and NOBODY touched the books. This, however, I can embed in research guides and students can access from anywhere. This one decision touches on the Look, Feel, and Usability of our space
Create easy-to-use resources, in a welcoming and attractive, environment
Step 5. Assess, Change, Repeat
Yay for Surveys!We give SHORT surveys occasionally throughout the year… allowing us to slow down, reflect on what we’ve observed and find out what people THINK.It’s one thing to give a survey and get all of the data back.. But you NEED to incorporate the “change” in your cycle.
When this came up almost unanimously “NOT VALUABLE TO ME” – we knew we had to address the nonfiction books. This lead to our breakup with dewey.
We are always curious why people come to the library. What were their original intentions.
Plymouth State University slide… this is a map of the PSU Lamson Library. As students walked out of the library, they were asked to place a pin on every resource they used..
They used this protocol at Middlebury college in Vermont with post-it notes… other libraries have used stickers.I love this idea for a larger library with multiple rooms and resources.
I love these questions… sometimes we found out that teachers didn’t know we had services as they filled out the surveys. We could take that information and tailor staff meeting or PLC short presentations.On a recent survey, I had several faculty indicate that they did not know where to access Primary Sources…
So I created a libguide and emailed it to all staff. I created it in Feb. and I’ve seen the use of primary source research increase like mad– teachers asking me to talk about it with their students, embed primary source links into research guides, and help locate specific resources for projects.
We no longer send home a print newsletter… ours is entirely electronic and embedded within the school’s newsletter. This was useful information!
This is our school’s email newsletter. It is sent out to over 2000 email addresses each week, much better than when I sent home a print newsletter with grade reports.
Ask people what they think: I wanted this to be our Cookbook Icon. My assistant hated it. I went forward and started asking students: what books go with this image? They all said: Modern Art books.
This, they knew immediately.
So that’s the icon we use
Magazines: Nobody touched our magazines. Current issues in weird plastic covers.. Protecting them from being used, perhaps. We cancelled all of our magazines, threw out the red plastic covers, and started from scratch this year…
We asked for suggestions, talked to students and teachers about they wanted to read and browse (not titles for research, as we were covering that with our databases).
We catalog each title, keep them for about 6 months, and then delete them.People mag is one of the hottest titles!
Consumer Reports was most important to the faculty!
These are the titles most checked out by our students
These have the most in-house use
We’ve spent time being the “food and drink police” in our libraries. I talked to our administration and our facilities director and said we will reassess every year. So far, so good!Food & drink policy. We explain to students that we don’t want to smell any food (not pizza delivery, no mcdonalds) and we expect them to clean up after themselves. Before we found sneaky food packages everywhere. Now, they clean up after themselves!
This is the TRAILS assessment of information and literacy skills from Kent State University.We use this in our district. For several grades…
Here are some sample questions…Identifying potential sources, telling fact from opinion…
After students take the TRAILs assessment you get a class report. These are the 5 categories it measures.Our students are strong on identifying potential sources, and search strategies, but they were not good on evaluating sources- which is why we began incorporating the CRAAP test into our research projects. I use the measurements taken at middle school to assess what incoming freshmen need.
Step 6. Stay NimbleI don’t mean to imply that you will be eaten by crocs if you stop moving.. But you won’t get to the next level.Pitfall on intellivision
I will let Steve Jobs explain this step for me
No resting on your laurels!Our magazines may go out all of the time, but we kept thinking: how else can we get our students reading magazines? Our intern came up with this idea. She placed these all around the print magazines.
The QR Code takes users to our Online Newsstand… which is an interface created by a public librarian in NH to make searching Ebsco and Gale databases more User-Friendly.
Just in case students didn’t know what a QR code is, we created these signs.Directions to install your own QR code reader.
We are all thrilled with how our “Dewey-Lite” system is working, but we brought it to the next level..When our 1960s research project started, this shelf was full of books. We created a libguide for the project and now when the students go to “decades and find the 1960s shelf nearly bare, they can scan the QR code and access all of our ebooks, databases, and links that I’ve selected for them!
When someone looks for the MLA handbook on the writing shelf, they could instead scan this code with their smartphone.You have to think in a complex fashion, so your users don’t have to.
These link directly to the transliteracy resources I’ve curated for students on our libguides
Create a monthly or quarterly library report. It will help you to stay nimble… constantly reassessing what you did each month. Share everything with your stakeholders.Make sure the school board or your trustees see happy users in your library space- and they can see how much your services and resources and space is used.
I use a lot of pictures and some high impact statistics
This is my favorite part of our library report
No matter what you do… Create an invaluable space. Make it flexible with a lot of tools.
We’ve created a comfortable space for this crew of students who meet in the library every day after school, but what more can we do? Are we doing enough to prepare them for a quickly changing world?Whatever I do, I focus on them.