Innovative Interfaces in School Libraries

Libraries/media centres/resource centres have a critical role in our schools in terms of the full range of resourcing they can provide for our teachers and learners.

As I engage in deep and meaningful conversations with our artchitect/project manager of our revitalisation programme, I can’t help but muse how much we still have to do in the overall scale of things compared to public and academic libraries. I’ve spoken about this a lot in some of my presentations, but I am more amazed than ever at how much we still have to do.

The Wilton Library Association has put together a list of Innovative Internet Applications in Libraries. What a wonderful list, and it continues to grow. I highly recommend that school librarians bookmark this link and use it as a bit of a source of inspiration. I must not forget to try and develop more innovative things for my school once our Simply Books mashup has a “life of its own”.

Hot on the heals of this great list are the continuing changes coming out of Google, that can often help support the work of our school libraries.

Mashable writes that Google Book Search, the popular and somewhat controversial service which has archived millions of books into digital format, has added a new set of tools and partnerships, none bigger than the ability to embed a preview of The Da Vinci Code or the entire encyclopedia on Diabetes onto external websites.

Now this is a particularly interesting development. Though it is not a service I can use just yet, it does seem that several libraries including the University of California and the University of Texas Libraries are incorporating the previews into their online catalogues. This is a new form of content enrichment, and one to keep a close watch on.

Our libraries really will become virtual storehouses of information – if we want them to be!

Not to be forgotten though, while we gradually move towards launching services similar to our public and tertiary counterparts, is the wonderful ASK NOW service for Australian and New Zealand – including school students. I’m writing this down here to remind myself to DO something about this – embedd it into the intranet home page so that we never forget the value of this information service being delivered by experienced reference librarians.

Give it a go! Chat with an online librarian next time you are stumped for an answer!

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