Community School Library Blog Memo 

Mr. Potato Head has his nose in a bood by Enokson on CC Flickr

Mr. Potato Head Has His Nose in a Book by Enokson via CC Flickr

While working on our school library blog for several UX assignments, I had been thinking about the challenges for school libraries to keep a blog, the lack of experience, the turn over, the lack of time, etc.  Yet, these blogs provide an important opportunity for the schools (students and staff), parents, school district, and community to access important information, find out what is happening in the school library, and leave feedback in the form of comments.  This can be very helpful in seeking support for quality school libraries and teacher librarians.  I’d like to propose a solution to this problem that incorporates Kelly’s 5 Steps of Design Thinking (Understand, Observe, Prototype, Evaluate, & Implement) for our school district which has over forty schools that is useful, usable and desirable.

Dear District Librarian,

School library blogs provide a great way to communicate important and interesting information to students, teachers, staff as well as parents and the entire community.  They also can be a powerful illustration of the worth of school libraries to maintain and seek support.  Yet, many of our school libraries do not have a blog.  This may be for a lot of reasons, including a lack of time, experience, and frequent turnovers in library staff, all of which makes blogging overwhelming and places it at the bottom of our priority lists.

I’d like to propose a solution for this problem:  A district wide school library blog.

This collective blog could be maintained by a team with experience in blog management to spread the load.  Each school can be set up with an author account so they can publish their own content at their convenience, and would still give them control over their content.  It would provide a way to build our school library community within our district by sharing what is going on in our libraries, as well as demonstrate their worth to all of our constituents.

A planning team could anticipate and address many practical issues while planning the blog.  Simple guidelines or recommendations can be offered to ensure meaningful content for our students, staff and other constituents.  Categories can be developed so that visitors to the blog can view all the posts from their school.  Those who want to continue with their own blog can be accommodated by providing links to their blog on the collective blog.  Posts can be imported for those who want to migrate their blog to the collective blog.

The blog could be implemented in a district wide meeting, followed by long distant training and support, using Microsoft Lync and screencast tutorials.  These tutorials can be collected for future reference for review and to help acquaint new library staff to the blog.

The team could use web analytics as well as a visitor counter and map, as well as the number and types of comments to track the usage of the blog.  A brief survey may be sent out to find out who has visited the site and how usable it is at the end of the year to evaluate its success.

A test blog can be set up to experiment with and help decide if this idea will work.  I look forward to exploring this idea further with you.  Thank you for your time!