Close reading VIII: The reader-friendly library service

Open book

Image shared on Pixabay with a Creative Commons public domain licence

Chapter eight: Readers online

I’ve been slow to get a library website up and running – and after reading this chapter I’m kind of glad! I think I would have fallen into all the online traps that are mentioned here, and probably wouldn’t have put the user-experience at the centre of the website design.

I definitely do want to create an online space for my library users (because I know that a lot of them leave their schoolwork to the last minute – when the library is often closed) but I want it to be a useful space. Not something to impress the senior management team or Board of Trustees, but something that the students will actually use.

Things I will need to think about before creating the library’s online space:

  • organise information so that students can find what they want by a direct route (minimise the number of clicks!)
  • don’t simply reproduce what the library offers offline – what is suitable for a web audience
  • the web thrives on users sharing information they discover – allow space for students to do this
  • think about who needs what online and why – don’t rush into writing web content that nobody will ever visit
  • interactivity is one of the biggest advantages of online spaces – use it

There is a lot of thought that needs to go into online services and these also need to be maintained once they are up and running. Limited staffing and resources are what have slowed me down at this point. Maybe it is time now to start putting aside time to do this and prioritising it the same way that offline services are?

 

Actions arising from this chapter:

  • start designing a library website
  • make a plan to get LMS opened up anytime / anywhere
  • make a plan for catalogued websites to be accessed through the LMS – it’s 2016, people!

Reference:

Riel, R. V., Fowler, O., & Downes, A. (2008). The reader-friendly library service. Newcastle upon Tyne: Society of Chief Librarians.

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Website: Bob’s Books

Bob's Books

Docherty, B. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved January 5, 2015, from https://bobsbooksnz.wordpress.com/

Category: fiction reading and reviews for primary school children; fiction reading and reviews for teenagers

Overview: Bob’s Books is a blog where children’s and young people’s books are reviewed by New Zealander (and ex-National Librarian and ex-book award judge) Bob Docherty.  The reviews are categorised into loose age bands and genres, and are also labelled with tags.  Bob reviews books regularly and, while he does not review New Zealand books exclusively, they do get their fair share of real estate.

Website: Kids Books NZ

KidsBookNZ

Kids Books NZ. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://kidsbooksnz.blogspot.co.nz/

Category: fiction reading and reviews for primary school children; fiction reading and reviews for teenagers

Overview: Kids Books NZ is a blog where New Zealand children’s books are reviewed by two New Zealand authors, Maria Gill and Lorraine Orman.  The reviews are categorised into loose age bands and types, and are also labelled with genre tags.  Maria is a tireless advocate for New Zealand children’s authors.  The blog also contains useful links to New Zealand booksellers and reviewers.

Website: Storylines

Basic CMYK

Storylines. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://www.storylines.org.nz/

Category: organisations involved in the promotion of reading and literature

Overview: Storylines are a great promoter of New Zealand children’s literature.  While I couldn’t find any links to reviews on their website, they offer a free subscription to their quarterly newsletter and for a modest fee you can access their themed book lists.  The website also provides information on their past prize winners and gives access to profiles on New Zealand authors.

Website: Christchurch City Libraries

Christchurch City Libraries

Christchurch City Libraries. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://christchurch.bibliocms.com/

Category: interesting and useful

Overview: I have followed the amazing Christchurch Kids Blog for a while now, but have recently discovered that they are moving to a new platform in December.  That new platform is the all new Christchurch City Libraries website hosted on BiblioCommons.  The new site is currently available for preview.  It looks amazing and there is a whole lot of information on it to explore.  I look forward to going back and spending some time looking at how this public library has its online presence nailed.

Website: ACHUKA

ACHUKA

ACHUKA. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://www.achuka.co.uk/

Category: ???

Overview: As you can see I’m not really sure where this website fits in the scheme of things.  It’s very aesthetically pleasing but I didn’t find it a very useful website at all.  It was difficult to navigate around, and links didn’t always lead to what was promised.  I don’t think I’ll be visiting here again.

Website: Around the Bookshops

Around the Bookshops

Around the Bookshops. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://barbaramurison.blogspot.co.nz/

Category: fiction reading and reviews for primary children; fiction reading and reviews for teenagers

Overview: For 19 years Barbara Murison produced a quarterly book review journal, Around the Bookshops, for schools and public libraries.  She ceased publishing this at the end of 2012 and now produces book reviews for her blog of the same name.  The blog has a search function enabled, and Barbara also handily tags her reviews with suitable age ranges, so books may be accessed in this way.  Reviews are also tagged with themes and genres.

Website: School Library Journal

School Library Journal

School Library Journal. (2014). Home. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from http://www.slj.com/

Category: interesting and useful

Overview: The School Library Journal is a professional journal for school and CYA librarians.  The print subscription cost is quite expensive for overseas subscribers, however, we are lucky to have access for free through the Open Polytechnic or Ministry of Education databases.  The online version of the journal is not displayed like a magazine but there is access to a ton of information, including the blog of school library maestro Joyce Valenza and a few well known review blogs.  There is a lot to explore on this website.

Website: Books for Keeps

Books for Keeps

Books for Keeps. (n.d.). Home. Retrieved November 14, 2014 from http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/

Category: fiction reading and reviews for primary children; fiction reading and reviews for teenagers

Overview: Books for Keeps is an independent magazine about children’s books.  The website allows access to issues online, as well as providing downloads of PDF versions.  There is a subscription service to their electronic newsletter and all book reviews are archived and searchable by title, age range and date.

Website: Literacy Online

Literacy Online

TKI has developed an amazing one-stop-shop with its Literacy Online webpages.

It is somewhat ironic that I have discovered this useful resource as a librarian, that I did not have the time to discover as a teacher.

And isn’t the tagline great?  I beat Mem Fox would approve!


Ministry of Education. (n.d.). Literacy Online. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://literacyonline.tki.org.nz/

Category: interesting and useful

Overview: Literacy Online is a website designed to help develop teaching and learning programmes to meet the literacy needs of primary and secondary students.  As well as providing access to MoE documents and lesson plans, it also has links to professional readings and relevant research.