Libguide Love

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If you are already using Libguides (per Springshare, pronouned lib (as in bib)-guides), then you know how helpful they are in streamlining the research process and integrating information literacy instruction. I find them particularly helpful in shepherding students towards the most appropriate databases, web resources, weaving in source evaluation checklists/instruction, embedding videos, promoting print and ebook collections…I could go on and on. I’m not ashamed, I’ll just say it:

I heart Libguides.

For those of you considering purchase, check out the features. They are reasonably priced and worth every dollar you spend, in my opinion, for the platform they provide for library instruction and integration into existing curriculum. Many university libraries are using them as well, so if you’re a college prep school, exposing your upper school students to them becomes an even more valuable experience.

One of my favorite attributes is the community directory, searchable by keyword, institution type, or my favorite, best of . Inspiration overload!!! In true librarian fashion, you can ask permission, then borrow parts or entire guides that make sense for your school, attributing where the information came from.

Disclaimer: I am by no means a Libguide expert. In my first 12 month position, I plan to become much more savvy this summer and I also plan to build up a good repository from which to draw next year (hopefully creating them poolside with WiFi…hey, it’s work, right?!). So, not an expert, but having started the program from scratch at two schools now, I would share the following advice:

Spend more time on the front end designing a consistent look/feel/flow of your guides so that your students are trained in how to read them. Customize your color scheme/logo to fit with your school’s site. I design my tabs to go left to right through the research process, from assignment home page to book tab, databases, web resource/evaluation, and then citation (or perhaps an avoiding plagiarism tab for good measure?). These things are not just useful for research, though! When my last school announced that they were instituting an iPad program in the middle school, I shared Berkeley Prep’s awesome iPad Initiative guide, tweaking it to fit our school/program. My colleagues were appropriately wowed (thanks CD!). Other schools, like The Overlake School have used a Libguide as their  homepage. I like this too!

I will say that when I start with Libguides, I spend days setting up a good admin guide that goes unpublished. In it, I create as many boxes as possible that I think I might link to later: a Destiny catalog search box, Gale Virtual Reference Library ebook search widget, research tips, citation information and online style guides, that sort of thing. Once this is in place, you can take an assignment and just whip up a guide, linking to those boxes without having to recreate the wheel. Need to make a change? Just do it within the admin guide and the change will be reflected in every guide you’ve linked to that particular box. I have stopped creating database widgets, honestly, because it is typically a basic search and I am trying to train my girls to choose the advanced search option every time to build in Boolean, look for full text, document type, pub date, and just basically create the most sophisticated search that they can do right off the bat.

So now I ask you seasoned Libguide creators: Can you share any lessons learned OR give us the link to some of your guides that you’re particularly proud of?

Newbies: have any questions that others might answer in the comments below?

The Libguides 2.0 platform is being launched now. Here are my notes from the Hot Topics session in Dallas. Have you had any experience with the new version? What do you like/not like?

Come on guys, light this comment area up! I know it’s a crazy busy time of year, but show me some LIBGUIDE LOVE!

 

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11 Responses to Libguide Love

  1. Wyne Cler says:

    Would it be possible to add libguides to the Haiku Learning platform?

    • Katie Archambault says:

      Hi Wyne! I’ve never used Haiku, but if it’s anything like Schoology or Blackboard, then yes, you can. You would simply link out to the guides that you create, or to your guide homepage. Each guide has a unique, customizable URL.

  2. Dorcas Hand says:

    I just discovered over the weekend that NoodleTools has a fabulous LibGuide filled with tips to strengthen use. Check it out. http://noodletools.libguides.com/

  3. Sue Hodge says:

    I am also a huge LibGuides fan, Katie! Below is a link to my Tour de France guide for our French 4 assignment. I made this one more visual, with links to not only the usual databases, books, websites, but to films, and even some uber-swell Pinterest boards, since the students also needed cool visuals. After creating my first-ever guide, the others have been progressively easier to do. It’s a great one-stop-shop for our students; when showing the AP Art History students their guide, I actually received applause! The teacher told her students to go to the guide before doing anything else, which meant that the usage soared! Cool stuff, to be sure!
    http://flintridgeprep.libguides.com/content.php?pid=538173
    Sue

    • Katie Archambault says:

      Sue, I’m in awe of your delivery of an AP Art History guide that garnered applause from your students. I’m off to check it out now. You’re kind of awesome, you know?

  4. Katie Hammond says:

    Thanks for the great ideas, Katie. This is my second year using Libguides, and I am thrilled that more teachers are asking me to create them after seeing others I’ve made for various classes and projects. The students know what I’m talking about when I suggest that they “check the Libguide,” even if they aren’t thinking to do so on their own (yet), which I see as a victory. I recommend the book Using Libguides to Enhance Library Services by by Aaron W. Dobbs, Ryan L. Sittler, and Douglas Cook: http://amzn.to/1uUrq9V. One helpful thing they recommend is to create an admin guide with a grab page, as you suggest, and a style guide which is helpful for consistency if more than one person is creating guides for your library and school. I’m no expert yet either but plan to spend some more time this summer getting to know our site even better – there’s so much to try. Looking forward to the column-spanning boxes!

    • Katie Archambault says:

      Thanks for this! I’ll check this book out today. I can’t wait to try those column-spanning boxes!

  5. Claire Hazzard says:

    My tip of the week re LibGuides. If you are using them with grade 4s, turn off the comments feature. Or at least, turn off the notification to you every time someone leaves a comment. I taught an 80 minute research period on habitats for our 4s yesterday, and came back to an inbox filled with 96 notifications about comments that had been made. It wasn’t the first time, either!

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