About

This is the teen page for the Attolia Public Library, a fictional public library in Indiana (no copyright infringement is intended through the use of names found in Megan Whalen Turner’s work) and was created for the final project of Indiana University’s School of Library Science course, High Tech Learning (S603) with Dr. Annette Lamb. This is where teens could get information about upcoming events and new books, book reviews, and links to educational and entertaining websites.

The audience for this project are the teens of the community that this fictional public library serves. I would attach this blog to the library’s webpage, place plenty of advertisements for the blog around the library and let every teen patron I come in contact with know about it.

I chose to create a blog like this to encourage this age group to take advantage of the services that the library offers, whether it be through after-school tutoring, help with a research paper, getting involved in scheduled events and activities, or simply becoming more aware of the excellent reading material is available. I’d know if this blog was promoting all of these services effectively through the results of the survey that has been stickied at the top of the blog main page, as well as through direct response I’d hear from patrons.

I used a blog format because it’s not only easy to update, but it allows teen patrons to comment on posts and interact with one another, which excercises those inter-personal skills. Patrons can also subscribe to the blog and get alerts emailed to them when the blog is updated, so they can keep on top of what is going on at the library and the like. Jessica Zellers believes that posting reviews on blogs is a great new way of providing reader’s advisory. She states, “Our reviews are reaching people who would not normally benefit from the RA services offered in our physical library.” She has also documented increased circulation among the items she and her colleagues have reviewed.

A GoodReads discussion group would allow teens who aren’t able to make the book club at the library each month a chance to still be involved in the book discussions. Though it’s not quite the same as having an in-person discussion, they still learn how to interact with one another and utilize their written skills in defending their thoughts and opinions.

The teaser video for The Queen of Attolia offers something for both audio and visual learners (though perhaps a bit more for the audio side), while at the same time promoting an excellent book in a unique way.

Kinesthetic learners would be appreciative of the use of del.icio.us  to provide links to various book blogs geared toward YA material, as they could participate by sending other useful links to my account.

Additional technology incorporated is the digital photograph of the book display, which allows patrons to visualize the new books available at the library, and the short online poll, which offers me immediate feedback on the effectiveness of the blog and what I can do to improve it.

These technology tools aren’t, however, foolproof. A lot of work needs to be put into many of these technologies to make them useful. Del.icio.us links need to be tested on a regular basis to make sure they are still active. Those in charge of book discussions on a site like GoodReads need to be prepared by reading the book and providing good questions to prompt discussion. They also need to monitor responses to make sure they are appropriate. Unless one provides a regular stream of updates on blogs, users will quit visiting them and they will become useless. With all of the available widgets that can be put in the sidebars, it’s also easy to overwhelm visitors with what is available for them to access on your blog.

It’s sometimes difficult to resist trying every available new gadget and technology, but Shippert reminds us  “as tools come along, try some, ignore some, watch some, keep some, and discard some.” She also states that it’s best “assess your needs, evaluate options, and select tools accordingly.” It might be easy to incorporate a new technology just to say you have, but it might not be the best way to address your patron’s needs.

                                                                                                                                                               

Shippert, Linda Cook. “Thinking About Technology and Change, or, “What Do You Mean It’s Already Over?”” PNLA Quarterly 73, 2:4. 26. Retrieved from WilsonWeb Library Science Full Text on December 8, 2009.

Zellers, Jessica. “In Blog Heaven: A Painless New Approach to Readers’ Advisory.” Virginia Libraries 53. 3(July/August/September). 23-4. Retrieved from WilsonWeb Library Science Full Text on December 8, 2009.

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