One of my biggest challenges is getting the right resource into the right hands at the right time. When I was in my school library I tended to rely on my website and monthly newsletter as the primary places for showcasing resources, but I know those still weren’t always reaching the teachers at the point of need.
In my current position, ensuring that district leadership sees the value of their libraries is one of my most important responsibilities. I’ve learned that teacher librarians are just like classroom teachers in that they are overwhelmed and need multiple exposures to resources and ideas before they stick. I’ve been tweeting and sharing via weekly newsletter, but I know that’s not enough. My newsletter is typically opened by half of the recipients and fewer than half of my librarians are active twitter users. Knowing the statistics for my newsletter, I’ve taken to emailing information that I really want them to know, but that runs the risk of information overload.
I was glad to see Thing 20 in Cool Tools so I could explore more ways of sharing resources with my librarians. I’d been using MailChimp for my newsletters, but after seeing the examples in CoolTools, I decided to try Smore. It is much more visually appealing, but the analytics aren’t as helpful. (I even ponied up for the pro version and still didn’t get the robust reports I get from MailChimp.) I will probably stick with MailChimp for my newsletter, but I really like Smore as a possibility for in-depth resource guides. I recently attended the Future of Educational Technology Conference and several of the presenters used Smore to create their digital handouts. This is one of my favorites.
I’m not much of a Pinterest user personally, but I know lots of people are, so I created an SLS Pinterest board. I include a link to it at the bottom of every MailChimp newsletter. It doesn’t get much action, in fact, none of the 4 followers are local, but it’s there as an option. I also tried Listly. I hadn’t heard of this before and basically it’s a website that allows you to make interactive digital lists of all sorts of things. I had been struggling to find an efficient, appealing way to to share out all of the resources I learned about at FETC, and Listly provided one solution. I used it to create a list of my favorite AR apps from the conference. I still have a lot to learn, but the tutorials are concise and helpful. I like that there are multiple ways to share out the lists we create and I think I’ll be using this one regularly.
I can’t decide how I feel after completing this lesson. On one hand, I’m glad to have an expanded toolbox for sharing our resources. On the other hand, it seems like a monumental task to keep up with them all. I’ll be monitoring usage over the next several months to a year to get a feel for where my people are.