Thing 20: Tools for creating websites, pathfinders, portfolios , etc.

"Officer distributing mail to the crew of Magdalene Vinnen" by Samuel J. Hood, 1933. No known copyright restrictions.

“Officer distributing mail to the crew of Magdalene Vinnen” by Samuel J. Hood, 1933. No known copyright restrictions.

When I started as a teacher librarian ten years ago, I knew that it was important for me to have a web site for both educational and communication purposes. If I expected my students (and also my teachers) to use reputable and reliable library resources, then I had better  start publishing some web pages. Fortunately, I had some tools, some resources, and some know how.

My initial ventures were with html. We use a bulletin board system (BBS) as our communication tool in our school district. In addition to providing email services, teachers also had access to a web page module and individual root web directories. This module, while functional, did not meet my needs. Fortunately, a commercial software product was made available and this better met my needs. I could easily create and post web pages for my different classes as needed. However there remained several key limitations. My resources were limited to the html coding and graphics creation skills I possessed or picked up since we did not have a web master available. Web page creation took time, valuable time that could have been sent providing instruction to students, curating resources, developing the collection, and managing my library.

My next big venture was with blogs and wiki. Through the SLS Office at our BOCES, we had a training on creating blogs for our school libraries. I saw that I could create and post pages of information for my classes easier and quicker than I could with Web 1.0 technologies. Although I was stuck with one layout and some basic colors, using a blog worked for me although I had challenges navigating my blog to find previously posted materials. I had also explored using a wiki with similar results.

Recently LibGuides were made available through our BOCES. It provides design flexibility, easy access to my informational content, collaborative features, and access to resources posted by other LibGudie users. It is a product designed for and used by libraries. Working together with a colleague from a neighboring school district, we built a LibGuide and presented it as a poster at the 2014 NYLA-SSL conference in Syracuse. In addition to meeting my needs, LibGuides are also friendly on mobile devices and this makes my information more readily available to my students.

After this school year, I will officially retire my remaining html pages with LibGuides as the main vehicle for my class project pages and other related information about my library program. As for my teachers needing to create wed sites for their classes, we are encouraging them to use Google Sites since it is easier and more flexible that the html module found in the BBS.