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Increasing database usage at oak park river forest


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This is a presentation for Dominican University (River Forest) Graduate School of Library and Information Science, class 773: School Libraries.

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Increasing database usage at oak park river forest

  1. 1. Erin Linsenmeyer
  2. 2. About the School Oak Park River Forest High School is located in Oak Park, Illinois Only school in Oak Park River Forest School District 200 2011 school population of 3,241 Graduation rate of 94% Average class size of 19 students Operating budget of $80 million Source: Illinois Interactive Report Card
  3. 3. About the library 2 librarians and 3 assistants. Space has been reduced to one level of the building for circulation, reference, and teaching. Staff size has been reduced as well, placing extra work on remaining school librarians. 2011/2012 school year:6,871 books checked out24,153 total visits to library pathfinders957 classes came to the librarySource: Oak Park River Forest High School Library 2011/2012 Annual Report
  4. 4. The Project Amber Hooper, school librarian, reported that database usage could improve. A review of monthly library reports shows certain databases being used in higher volume, while others are not. Consistent use: JSTOR, Gale History/World History in Context, Gale Science in Context Lacking: CQ Researcher, Gale Global Issues, Oxford African American Studies, Oxford/Grove Art OnlineSource: Oak Park River Forest High School Library Monthly reports, found at: Monthly-Reports.cfm#.UCQWfqC4q7s
  5. 5. The approach Utilize new subscription of LibGuides Utilize social media/Web 2.0 Improve web presence Increase teacher involvement
  6. 6. Utilize new subscription to LibGuides Oak Park River Forest High School Library has just subscribed to LibGuides for the new school year, eliminating pathfinders. Librarians can create LibGuides on database instruction. Target LibGuides to either teachers (Mesa Public Schools) or students (University of Washington)
  7. 7. Mesa (Arizona) Public Schools
  8. 8. University of Washington Sample
  9. 9. Benefits Allows students/teachers to learn at their own speed on their own time Gives greater visibility to LibGuides and sends traffic that way. Takes pressure off of librarians when they are unable to meet a class face to face.
  10. 10. Logistics Librarians could split up the databases to author LibGuides Cost would be negligible, since library already has a subscription to LibGuides Since certain databases are in high use, thodr LibGuides can wait while librarians author little used ones to boost traffic. Barriers include alerting students and teachers about the new system and ensuring LibGuide doesn’t cut out role of librarian.
  11. 11. Utilizing social media OPRFHS Library currently has a blog and a facebook profile. 527 ‘likes’ on facebook. Blog numbers unknown. Blog reports on book reviews, book trailers, and monthly reports. Facebook posts about monthly reports, book reviews, events for teens in the area, and news in the library.Blog found at: found at:
  12. 12. Social Media Since facebook has updated on technology in the past, posting information about the databases wouldn’t be much of a surprise. Blog entries allow for more details and greater explanation. Key for social media is to make it interactive, hosting monthly trivia using the databases or a scavenger hunt to push kids to databases is an option.
  13. 13. Benefits Teenagers love social media and can access it anywhere, anytime. Trivia with small prizes makes learning fun and gives students incentives. Information can be straight to the point and students can give immediate feedback, another form of assessment.
  14. 14. Logistics Librarian who updates blog and facebook could write posts for databases. Since library already has free sites, the cost would be the prizes given away for participating. Number of databases means one could be highlighted each month. Deterrent is the short format blogs/facebook posts are written in. May serve as more ‘commercials’ for databases rather than actual instruction.
  15. 15. Improving web prescence Databases are easy to find on the website. Come with a description of the database Website is practical and easy to navigate with plenty of options for the research process.
  16. 16. Improving web presence Clean up dead links, ensure that everything goes where it is supposed to go. Database descriptions aren’t engaging for students. Using language that the kids use, or that is found in their assignments will help them better understand. CQ Researcher: “lengthy single-topic reports on contemporary political and social issues primarily in the U.S.; published by Congressional Quarterly (select the PDF version for printing).” Example of dead links: (after clicking on ‘research tools’ on the sidebar, and then clicking on ‘subscription databases’ (on the first page, the ‘research tools’ button)
  17. 17. Benefits Easy fix with needing to devote little time or energy. Saves frustration for students and teachers who are looking for databases. Makes website more user-friendly and focused.
  18. 18. Logistics The person who updates the website (IT department or librarian) would be responsible. Longest time would be needed for coming up with new descriptions for databases. There should be no cost involved. Deterrent may be the time it takes if work is not done by librarians, and if the databases have descriptions subscribers have to use.
  19. 19. Increasing teacher involvement Amber Hooper reported that science and history classes are very involved in the library and using library resources. This is evident by the numbers of the databases in the annual report—science and historical databases are frequently used. Other departments should be reached to improve usage and research skills for students.
  20. 20. Increasing teacher involvement Amber is set to become English department liason Library can host Lunch and Learns or breakfast sit-ins featuring databases. Librarians should attend department meetings and give brief demos of databases. Librarians should attend new teacher orientation to talk about library services and tools. Library can also host ‘awards’ for best collaboration, highest class percentage using databases, highest department.
  21. 21. Benefits Teachers are the ones who set the assignments and the requirements for the assignments. If they don’t believe in the library, the students will not seek out the library for help. Teachers may not know about the databases at all, and so any exposure is good exposure. Targeting new teachers means that you could have an advocate in the school for a long period of time.
  22. 22. Logistics Both school librarians should split up the departments based on who buys for whom and target those departments. By far, the most time consuming. Library staff may have to sacrifice their own before-school, lunch, after- school, and department meeting time. Costs would include what library chooses to give away, lunch, coffee, snacks, prizes. Could be costly depending on how many they choose to do.
  23. 23. Logistics Deterrents include staff who do not support the library and will never change their minds. Increased collaboration between library and teachers mean librarians are cutting into the little time they have for teaching. Teachers are busy as well and may not feel they have time to sit for an hour long demonstration, or may feel that their students are capable of learning on their own.
  24. 24. Overall Most suggestions have little costs because the department budget has already been established. Viral suggestions don’t put more on the already stretched schedules of the librarians. There are many things OPRFHS Library is doing correctly, with small tweaks program could improve even more and database usage will rise to satisfactory levels.
  25. 25. Works Cited "Health Sciences Subject Guide." University of Washington Health Sciences Library, n.d. Web. <>. Hooper, Amber. "Library Monthly Reports." Oak Park River Forest High School Library, n.d. Web. <>. “Illinois Interactive Report Card Oak Park River Forest High School." Illinois Interactive Report Card. Illinois State Board of Education, n.d. Web. 03 Aug. 2012. <>. "Oak Park and River Forest High School Library." Blogspot. Oak Park and River Forest High School Library, n.d. <>. "Oak Park River Forest High School Library." Oak Park River Forest High School Library, n.d. Web. < Library/143215332378831>. Sears, Laura. "Exploring Instructional Databases." LibGuides. Mesa Public Schools, n.d. Web. <>.