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Home > Online Outreach for School Library Media Centers


Online Outreach for School Library Media Centers


10 Tech Tools to Build Connections


  • What's your message? A good place to start! What do you want your community to know about your library? Are you trying to get parents involved with activities in the library? Do you need a better way to get information out to teachers? Want the administration to better understand how the library fits in  with their priorities? Are you trying to model effective use of technology for students?
  • Who's your target audience? Parents, teachers, staff, students, administrators..... 
  • What's the best way to reach them? Ask them! Do they prefer paper newsletters? Email? Are they using RSS feed readers?  Do they visit your web page? Are they on Facebook?  MySpace? Twitter? Or ??
  • Try something new, evaluate it, try again, Rinse & repeat.


In class exercise:

Pick two or three ideas that you interest you and try them out.  We'll share experiences and tips during the session. There's no handout for this session, so you'll need to explore the tools to find out how they work. Use the instructor and your fellow students as resources to help you figure things out.


The 10 Tech Tools 


1: Google Calendar  (




Ideas to try: 

  • Set up a library calendar on Google Calendar

  • Use the embed calendar options to customize a calendar to put on your web page, blog or wiki.

  • Encourage other departments in the school to create calendars. 

  • Display a consolidated calendar somewhere prominent on the school site.

  • Google Calendar help.



2: Blogs



Ideas to try: 



3: RSS

RSS lets people subscribe to your content and get the latest updates automatically. This content could be: blog posts, events updates, delicious links, twitter updates, flickr photos, articles from your databases - anything that has an RSS feed. And these days, tons of services have RSS built in.  


People can use any number of tools to subscribe to your RSS feeds.


Ideas to try: 

  • Check to see what services you're using have RSS feeds.

  • Help students and staff use RSS effectively, by helping them set up feed reader accounts or personal start page accounts.

  • Make links to feeds on your web site, blog or wiki (example - Hopkinton (NH) School Library)



4: iGoogle, NetVibes, PageFlakes

iGoogleNetVibes, PageFlakes

These are great tools for monitoring updates from a wide range of sources, Help your students, teachers, parents and administrators keep up to date with their favorite news sites, professional reading, fun stuff and of course, your library content!



  • Creekview  HS Library on Pageflakes - Brings together content from many sources. Pages on Pageflakes can be made public and shared with other users.

  • Librarienne - example of a librarian using Netvibes to organize lots of professional and personal information


Ideas to try: 

  • Set up an account for yourself. Add feeds from your blog, delicious account, local newspapers, professional blogs, etc.

  • Set up several tabs for different subject and topics. What type of information do you want to share with your community.

  • Add content from lots of local news sources creating a page full of local content that can be shared with others.



5: Twitter (


Ideas to try: 

  • Sign up for a personal twitter account to get a feel for how it works.

  • Get another one for your library

  • Post announcements of events,  new resources, new books, tip of the day, etc.

  • Use Twitter Widgets to  put your updates on your web page, blog or wiki.

  • People can follow your updates through their own twitter account, subscribe to the RSS feed, get your updates as text messages or even receive them in email via feedmyinbox.



6: delicious (

Delicious helps you organize your favorite web sites and share them with others.


Ideas to try: 

  • Set up your account.

  • Add web sites that will be of interest to teachers and administrators.

  • Use tags to describe the sites by topics.

  • Each tag you use has it's own RSS feed.  Your teachers and administrators can get the latest items you add to delicious by subscribing to that RSS feed.

  • Ask them if they'd like to get updates from you, sign them up for email via FeedMyInbox.  Or send them the RSS feed to add to their own feed aggregator. 


7: Flickr (


Ideas to try: 

  • Sign up for a free account, up to 200 pictures are stored for free.

  • Upload photos from library events, new materials, displays, events in school.

  • Search for other photos from your school and town. Leave comments on those photos. Add those people as contacts.

  • Use photos on your web pages.

  • Create a flickr badge gnerator to get a widget for your web site. 

  • Use 3rd party tools like bighugelabs to create posters and other products with your photos.



8: Animoto (


Take all those photos you have on flickr and turn them into an instant video.


Ideas to try: 

  • Just have some fun with this one!

  • Cfreate a short video with pictures from your flickr account or upload directly from your computer.

  • Use the animoto embed option to put the video on your web page, blog or wiki.




9: Google Docs - Get Feedback (



Ideas to try: 

  • If you already have a Google account, just go to to get started. You can also sign up for an account at that page.

  • What do you want to find out from your community? Don't create a huge survey, just a few short questions. Make it easy!

  • Use the New --> Form option to start your form.  Enter questions, preview and edit till you're satisfied.

  • Under More Actions, get the embed code to put the form on your own web pages.  Or  just send the URL for the form to the intended audienc.e

  • Resonses to the form will appear in a spreadsheet by the same name in your list of Google Docs.



10: LibraryThing (


  • luv2read - Online teen book club San Jose (CA) Public Library

  • LeBrisary - LibraryThing widget, notes that most of the books are in the school library collection.

  • Pesky Library - Governor's  Academy, MA


Ideas to try: 

  • Start an account and add books from your collection

  • Find others in your community who are on LibraryThing and connect with them there.

  • Use their widgets tool to highlight books on our web site, blog or wiki. Highlight a different part of your collection each month (use tags to retrieve just the books you want.)

  • Or use the widget to highlight recent additions to the collection.

  • Holding book related community events in your school? Post them to LibraryThing Local.

  • Use the RSS feed on the Local page to find events in your region. See RSS section above for  more ideas.



NOTE: Here's a quick screecast on how to create a search alert in a Gale database and then add it to your iGoogle  page. 




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