Thursday, August 30, 2012

Library Orientation

One of my most important (and exhausting) tasks during the first weeks of school is library orientation.  Our school is grades five through eight, and I teach a library orientation class to all the fifth and sixth graders.  That means 4 classes of fifth grade and 5 classes of sixth grade, a little under 200 students, over two days.  There are few new students in grades seven and eight, so I try to find a time to give those students a brief, individual orientation during their first scheduled booktalk.

After going over the policies of the library and taking the students on a quick tour, I showed the students how to use our online catalog.  We installed the students' iPads with an icon that takes them directly to the library catalog.  Once they log into Destiny, they can see all our subscription services with user names and passwords.  They no longer have to waste time logging into our desktop machines and searching for the link to the catalog. I am hoping that this convenience and ease, will result in higher circulation statistics this year.  I also showed them how to log into Follett Digital Reader to access our ebook collection.  I will write more about the Follett ebookshelf later, but suffice it to say, I experienced limited success getting students into the program.  Those who were able to log in felt that the interface left something to be desired.  One boy quickly returned his electronic copy of Mockingjay and checked out the hardback.

I always end orientation with a quiz.  This year I was able to give them a QR code that they could scan to watch a book trailer; they then had to find the call number of the book in the catalog.  I also gave them call numbers, and they had to prove that they could find the books on the shelf by taking pictures with their iPads.   

I always feel like I need a nap after teaching the same thing so many times in one day, but I have to admit, library orientation went much smoother this year with iPads.  This is the only lesson that requires me to talk for the majority of the class period.  With it over, I'm ready to start fun lessons and programs!

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