School libraries: Excellence in practice Raroa Intermediate

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The library service at Raroa Intermediate serves its students better than ever through online services.


Clare Forrest: My name's Clare Forrest, I am the library manager here at Raroa Normal Intermediate.

We started the library website last year, mainly because we wanted to get the library out there.

I looked around and I looked at other schools' websites, I thought: "I can do this". The way I learn how to do things is to make mistakes, so I try things, they don't work, you fix it, you figure out what to do and you just keep going.

So it just takes time and a little bit of passion.

We can get into our website from anywhere that you've got internet access, so I wanted to make sure that kids could get into it at home, that teachers could get into it in the classroom, kids could use it in the classroom, parents can look at it, because that's really important

And I wanted the blog because, you can update it all the time, and you can show off what the kids are doing, or what's happening in the library.

We have pictures of the most popular books so far this year, and I have put links on those that lead to book trailers, or to the author's website.

We have an events page, because there's always things happening and as far as I'm concerned everybody should know what's happening in the library or what the library is going to be doing within the school.

So I put on there anything that is coming up, so if it's a visiting author that's coming or we're going on a trip somewhere. And I put pictures of the books on the display page and they are linked to book trailers, so, we talk about the books when the classes come in to try and get them to read them and encourage them to read them.

Then, if we don't have time

They can look at them at home.

They can go in on the website and look at the book trailer.

And often, it sells the book. The kids can use the catalogue, which is online and available at home and they can reserve the books from home, and they can do it from class.

It just means that the library is not just in the library, it's out there, it's in their homes, it's in their classrooms, it's wherever; on the Ipad if they're at the cafe, wherever.

Student 1: I normally just use it to reserve things,and to find out when my next reserves should be coming in.

I just kind of use it to, see what's happening in the library.

Student 2: Yeah! Pretty much it's everything that's happening at school, and links to like, research and search engines. So, a very helpful website. And it's got a link to our book club website, which makes it even better.

We're members of the Raroa NERDS, which has well yeah its our book club. Notoriously enthusiastic readers, digesting stories.

We've created a website on Weebly. Its just like a drag and drop website.

You can even drag and drop pictures from say, your desktop, straight into it.

Someone started up a Hunger Games shrine, soo I just added a whole lot of Hunger Games stuff.

Student 3: 'Hunger Games' is a really good story, it's believable, it's interesting, it's engaging. The action is good, it's a really good story.

This is a QR code, this little thing here. What they can do is, they get their iPhone, they scan it, and then they can follow a link to our website.

We've put QR codes on the back of the books. We've put them on this beautiful display here. We've put them around the library, where people are going to notice them, and think:

Hey what's that?... and have a look.

There's a link to the author's website. There's some links to good videos that people might want to watch. There's pictures. We've written short little blurbs about the books.


if someone thinks: "Oh what's this book?" Scan, and then they can find out what it's about.


Clare Forrest: I look at all sorts of other people's websites and follow all sorts of blogs and get amazing ideas. The National Library does a wonderful. wonderful blog, and I follow their stuff all the time.

So we links to other great websites and blogs.

Also on that page I have links to recommended reading lists for boys and girls because parents really, really like those.

We update those every term. So they are up to date lists of what we think are great books and
we do them by genre. We have an inquiry page, which has lots of useful links on it as well.

I know teachers have said to me that these are really good for them to be able to use in class or the kids can use them at home, so I have put some maybe useful search engines on there and not just Google, because Google's great, but it's not the only thing that you can use.

And it also has all sorts of data bases on. So these are free databases that anybody can use, like the New Zealand encyclopedia; the statistics department have got

So there's links to anything that comes along that's useful,
that might be helpful.

It's there so that they don't have to go looking elsewhere for it, it's just all collected in there.

There is a link to the library website on the front page of the school website.
We're really important. We are an important part of the school so it has to be out there. Right up front.

It's really well supported by staff and by management. And it's great fun.