Uncategorized

Finding Your Home Page

In our digital age, it’s so important to have a website that is easy to navigate and read, aesthetically pleasing, and relevant to the users. Building a website, though, especially if you are like me and have zero experience with coding and web design, can feel like an impossible task.

School libraries have to have a good website if they want students and teachers to use the resources there. When I say “good”, what I really mean is a website that includes information about the school, easy access to the tools students need (like research databases, for example), and engaging curriculum based content. Below are two examples of school library websites that have knocked it out of the park!

Douglas Freeman High School‘s library page was created using Weebly, a free tool (although there is a paid version as well that includes additional themes and features). Weebly is popular because it is user-friendly for both the creator and for people browsing the site. Freeman High School’s library staff in particular have done some really impressive work. The front page is very clean in it’s design, and space is well-utilized. They mix text and images very effectively. I loved that they included their staff as well in the “What Our Teachers Read As Teens” page for suggested reading. They include library lessons on citations and using databases, and a number of electronic sources for research and information for students. They clearly have a student-centered focus, and it shines through on their page.

Wellesley Middle School has a much more simple but still well planned website. All directions on the site are clear, and direct students to find information and resources in the library and online. They offer the option for students to recommend books through a Google Form embedded directly into their homepage, which gives students the opportunity to be active participants in the library. They provide clear and easy access to research and planning tools for students and teachers. It’s clear that the library is a really important part of the school!

I will confess that I am easily frustrated when it comes to website building. My go-to has always been Google Sites, which I know has been a source of annoyance for many people who are building a complex site; however the simplicity of the design and the easy of embedding YouTube videos, Google Docs, Forms, and Slides has made this so easy for me as a teacher. My district uses Google Apps for Education frequently, so we have a lot of tech support in Google Sites, as well! My students build class websites for projects, and it’s a great way for them to collaborate and have access to other pages and information. This spring as a review activity we used this as a sort of digital jigsaw activity, and my high school seniors really enjoyed it. I’m branching out of my comfort zone now, and trying out Weebly for my school library page, as Google Sites does limit formatting… stay tuned for how that works out!

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