When Friday comes around, there is one task that supersedes all others on my to-do list at the library. Friday is the day I write and send out the Weekly Web Hits. This year is the tenth “anniversary” of the WWHs, as I’ve come to call them, an email compilation of resources and items of interest that I send to 150+ people each Friday. What began as a way to reach out to our middle school faculty has grown into one of the cornerstones of faculty culture at our school and beyond.
Each week, I tap into my extensive personal learning network to find websites, apps, articles, and tech tools that might be of interest to the faculty. I created a Weekly Web Hits “banner” for the email, and I follow the same format for them each week. To introduce a web hit, I find a photo online labeled for reuse that matches the content of that hit. The photo goes above that hit’s text. The text gives a brief summary of the topic and contains links to any relevant web pages. Each week’s email consists of 3-4 of these hits.
In addition to the week’s web hits, I usually include a weekly search challenge. These are inspired by Dan Russell’s excellent SearchReSearch blog, and I always include the solution to the previous week’s challenge as well as a delineation of the search lessons the challenge taught. Over the years, the faculty’s search skills have improved tremendously. In fact, a core group of faculty who solved the search challenges every week became known as my Star Searchers. I gave each of them a detective nickname, like Trixie Belden, Encyclopedia Brown, etc.
I’ve found the Weekly Web Hits to be a terrific way to start a dialogue with faculty members about ways the library can help them with their classes or with their advisories. I can’t count the number of times that a faculty member has come to and said, “You know how you wrote about XYZ in the Weekly Web Hits last week? I want to try that in my classroom. Can you help me with that?” The Hits spark ideas that lead to faculty taking new risks with students, trying tools that they wouldn’t otherwise have been exposed to, and utilizing the librarians’ expertise in exciting ways.
The faculty tell me that they look forward to my Weekly Web Hits each week. At the bottom of the email, I always include a paragraph about things going on in my life, whether it’s my plans for the weekend or a review of a book I’ve recently read. Readers say they love that personal touch. If you would like to subscribe to the Weekly Web Hits, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll add you to the mail list.