HHS Library Quarterly Report

August-October 2014

Life in the library...

Students read...

The chart below illustrates book circulations this year as they compare to first quarter last year. Circulation numbers, for all practical purposes, are the same as last year. Books still circulate less than they did several years ago, but it's good to see that at least for now they haven't decreased in the past year. One of my goals this year is to create opportunities to talk to more kids specifically about reading books for fun, so it will be interesting to see if anything this year can increase the number of circulations.

In addition to students checking out books for seminar, Mr. Broadfoot's World History classes and Mrs. Becker's Biology classes checked out fiction books to complete assignments.

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To continue working towards having a collection that meets the needs of the students at HHS, 16 books were purchased this quarter. Some of the books are pictured below.

Students use resources...

Although there wasn't a lot of formal research happening in the library this quarter, from database statistics it is evident there was research happening. During August and September, there were a total of 195 sessions and 3902 searches on EBSCO, the database available to us through the State Library. There were 17 total searches and 55 full text retrievals in Opposing Viewpoints in Context and Science in Context, the databases for which we have purchased subscriptions. I would guess those numbers will increase as the year progresses and more research happens.

These numbers are a reminder that the resources the library provides are not limited by the physical space. The library is not just the books it holds! But because students are using databases, one can also guess that databases are not the only place they are researching. I will continue to work with teachers and students to discuss where to find reliable sources, how to tell if sources are reliable or not, and how to use the information they find ethically.

The physical and online library...

One of the fun additions this fall to the physical library is a "charging bar." Because the library was built in 1970 when electrical needs were not as great, we didn't have adequate electrical outlets in the library for students to be able to charge their devices. We re-purposed one of the bookcases by slightly raising it and taking out one side of the shelves to create a countertop with stools. In addition to adding outlets, one of the suggestions for improvement by students in the end-of-the-year survey last year was a need for more seating in the library, and the charging bar has filled that need as well. It has been regularly used by students, and there is a picture of it at the top of this flyer. The charging bar and stools were made possible through a grant from the Hesston Community Foundation and the generosity of materials and time of USD 460's maintenance staff.

I continue to work to make the library website a place where students can find information they need. One way I plan to make the website more useful in the coming months is to add short videos reviewing how to access the databases. This way students can be reminded how to access the material they need even if it's been awhile since we've talked about it in class.

What's next?

One idea I am exploring for the physical space of the library is to add some "Makerspace" elements. The Makerspace movement is fairly new within the past several years, and the idea behind it is a place where people can gather to explore, experiment, and create. The idea may have started in the public spectrum where patrons were encouraged to play and do based on their own curiosities and interests. The trend has continued to school libraries. Playing off of students' own interest in learning by doing, and incorporating the "4 C's" of 21st Century Learning (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity), physical elements such as 3D printers, Makey Makey kits (http://www.makeymakey.com/), LittleBits (http://littlebits.cc/about), and Legos, as well as virtual elements such as the online Scratch program (http://scratch.mit.edu/), have been added to school libraries around the country.

There is a large group of students who gathers in the library before school and during LS each day, and a smaller number who prefer the environment of the library during lunch. Right now those students play games on their iPads, sit and chat, and generally "chill." I am so glad students consider the library to be inviting and choose to spend their time here, but I would also love to move towards an environment where there is positive creating happening rather than just being.

I am still very much in the brainstorming stage of this idea. I have not worked out any of the details! But I am intrigued by the idea of a makerspace, and will continue thinking about ways I can possibly add some of those elements to the library to introduce an environment of collaboration and creativity to the space.