Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five open source tools libraries need to know about

libraries need to take a closer look at open source software. By removing the "owner" (aka the vendor) from the equation we get a lot more freedom to make software that does what we want, how we want, when we want. One of the hardest thing to teach libraries who are switching to an open source solution is that the power is now in their hands to direct the software!


SubjectsPlus is an open source subject guide tool. For the non-library types reading this: a subject guide is a common resource in libraries to point people to relevant resources on a specific subject. When I first started in libraries, what we were working with was a series of hard-coded pages full of links. Now we have tools like SubjectsPlus to do the heavy lifting for us. SubjectsPlus makes it easy to add staff (or guide managers) and resources (print, databases, links, and more) so that you can publish a handy subject guide for your patrons. For example check out the Oakland University Library's Course Guide for CSE 561.


Libki is a public kiosk management system designed for libraries by those working in the library! It allows for you to manage your public computers in the library (or any public setting) with minimal set up.
I remember when my first library chose a kiosk management system—it was torture to set up and maintain. That's when I went out looking for an alternative and found Libki. Using Libki, a library can manage how much time users can have on public machines, issue visitor IDs with different rules than those of regular card holders, reserve machines for patrons, and generally manage the kiosk so that everyone gets their fair share of time. You can see Libki in action in this introductory video.


BibApp is a research social network. It is a neat tool for academic libraries to use to connect researches on campus with experts in a field to assist them in their research. Researchers create profiles and add their works to their profile. This makes it easy for them promote their work, and it shows the rest of your campus community what the researcher is working on. For libraries, BibApp makes it easy to find out what research is being done on campus. See BibAppin action at the University of Illinois.

Guide on the Side

Guide on the Side is such an awesome tool, and it says right on the website: Know how to use Word? You already know how to use Guide on the Side! This handy little tool sits on the side of your website or library catalog to walk patrons through how to use the system. See the tool in action at the University of Arizona.
Basically, you write up your tutorial in the Guide on the Side interface and then tell it what URL to display on the right of the screen. Your tutorial can even include a quiz to be sure people are following along and understand your instructions. This tool could have many uses inside the library.


OpenRoom allows you to manage reservations for a library's public spaces. One question I get over and over in training sessions is for an open source room-booking application. There are actually several out there, but OpenRoom is designed by and for libraries. The simple interface allows easy customization of the theme, creation of reservations through a webform, and quick setup of rooms and/or groups of rooms. Take OpenRoom for a test drive.

by Nicole C. Engard

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Libraries go high-tech

Libraries go Celia Britton

The idea of humans being served by robots is no longer confined to the realms of Science Fiction. University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) staff and students will soon start accessing books from a new library retrieval system (LRS), a state-of-the-art underground facility that uses robotic cranes to retrieve books.

The 13,000m³ facility, which is part of a much bigger building program underway at the university’s Broadway and Haymarket campuses, includes six robots and seemingly endless rows of metal shelves that will eventually hold almost 12,000 metal bins filled with books.
Increased study space, financial and energy savings and better control over the library’s collection are just some of the benefits for UTS, which has a book collection that grows, on average, by 25,000 books every year.

“It was a case of building this facility or building a library four times the size of the one we currently have, in order to accommodate the growing number of books,” says UTS University Librarian Mal Booth.

Wife of the Vice President,Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur, Urges Librarians To Keep Up With New Trends in ICT

The Wife of the Vice President,Mrs. Matilda Amissah Arthur has charged librarians in the country to add value to themselves by embracing the task of keeping up with new trends in the information sourcing industry and the changing face of library services in the country.

She was speaking at the opening ceremony of a Collaborative International Workshop organised by the Nigerian Liberian Association (IT Section) in conjunction with the Ghana Library Association(GLA) under the theme “ Librarianship and the demands for new Leadership Skills,’’ at the forecourt of the Balme library at the University of Ghana Legon in Accra.

Mrs. Amissah Arthur,a librarian for over 30 years and the first female President of the Ghana Librarian Association noted that to build a Strong Librarian Association, the negative stereotyped notion about libraries and librarians has to be changed to embrace new technological ways of sourcing information and rendering library services.

Mrs. Amissah Arthur said over-time library services have become more dynamic with technological advancement worldwide so the need to upgrade ways and systems that support sourcing of information.

Monday, April 7, 2014





The word ‘library’ is rich in tradition, meaning, and usage. The definitions of ‘school library’ given by various library scientists and associations reflect this heritage. Throughout the world the school library is considered as part and parcel of the academic set-up. It is created and maintained to serve and support the educational activities of the school.

A school library is an organized collection of study and teaching materials aimed at pupils, teachers and other staff alike. It also includes access to local, regional, national and international information databases. The facilities, materials, equipment and staff of the school library as well as its operation are organized in such a way that they support learning within the pedagogic goals of the school.

The school Library provides information, inculcates ideas, and develops knowledge that is so essential to functioning successfully in today’s information and knowledge based society. It is fundamental to school library to equip students with lifelong learning skills and develop in them creative thinking and imagination, and enabling them to live as ideal and responsible citizens.

Thus, the school library must be made the hub of all the activities planned and executed in school. It can be used by students to prepare for their next class period, home examination, general education, information, competitions, recreation and inspiration.

Although the school library has been recognized as an essential component of a good school, yet many schools in our country lack library facilities. From the prevailing picture of school library situation in our country, it can be seen that much remains to be done in providing our schools with well-organized libraries, particularly so in far flung rural areas. Currently, the situation is such that a few books locked in a classroom are given the status of a library. Millions of our school children are being deprived of the full complement of library resources and services, which they need and are entitled to. Even in schools where library facilities exist, the picture is not very bright.

The provision of School Library service must be open to the whole school community regardless of gender, race, and economic and social status, religious faith, nationality, language, and physical disabilities.


The major objectives of a school library are to:
Effectively participate in the teaching-learning programme of the school;
Provide the students with appropriate library materials both printed as well as audio visual and services
        for the overall growth and development of the personality of the students as an individual;
Develop reading ability and interest, and inculcate love, enjoyment and pleasure of reading amongst the        students;
Offer opportunities for experiences in creating and using information for knowledge, understanding,               information and enjoyment;
Support all students in learning and practicing skills for evaluating and using information, regardless of             form, format or medium, including sensitivity to the modes of communication within the community;
Stimulate and guide each student in the selection and use of books and other reading materials;
Workout a programme in consultation with teachers for the effective use of all types of library materials;
Advance literacy and academic performance by engaging children in reading and reading-related                  activities.
Foster a love of reading through school library programs and services.
Involve stake-holders: council authority, school authority, teachers, pupils, parents and all family                     members in the library reading experience.
Improve children’s access to library materials and activities, which will encourage them to become                 lifelong library users.

The School Library Policy 

Each school needs a mission statement and policy that outlines the goals, priorities, plans and procedures for the provision of library-based learning resources according to educators’ and learners’ curriculum-based needs. The school’s library policy should be written against the background of the school’s development plan and policy development process.

Any changes in policy development for the school would also mean a review and change of the school’s library policy. It is therefore important that the school/teacher librarian is aware of current developments and plays a proactive role in school development plans.

The School Library Policy therefore:

Forms the basis for planning and decision-making in the library.
Should be referred to whenever changes regarding planning and decision-making are to be made.
Should be reviewed annually in order to keep pace with educational changes, e.g. the implementation of educational development goals, and also to keep pace with the increased use of information and communication technology (ICT).
lays down guidelines for providing a library that functions as the information centre of the school and which is able to obtain information from outside sources when necessary, e.g. through borrowing from other libraries and also through using technologies such as the Internet.
gives recognition to the important function of the school librarian/teacher librarian or library coordinator working with learners, educators, administrators and parents to carry out the mission of the school.

The main functions of the library must be focused on and incorporated into library policy development. When drawing up the school’s library policy, the following points should be considered:
the vision and mission statement of the school or institution
the purpose of the library
the patrons of the library
the roles and responsibilities of those concerned, e.g. the school librarian
the goals or desired outcomes of the library
criteria for monitoring the performance of the library, i.e. reviewing
the collection and its usage
priorities for the current year
accessibility, e.g. library hours

The school’s library policy may also include procedures and criteria for the selection of new items and general collection management or may have a separate policy for collection management.


It will be advantageous if the school creates a school library committee.
Creates a forum for educators, learners and the school management to have a say in school library matters.
Formally acknowledges the right of existence of the school library and determines its status.
Provides leadership for the school library.
Accepts responsibility for the school library.
Will help the school library staff to plan for the effective use of all its resources.
Promotes the effective functioning of the school library.
Will be accountable to the rest of the school community.
Promotes continued existence of the school library even though some of its members may leave the              school.

The school library committee could be saddled with the following terms of reference:
To develop a general programme of library service to suit the interest and requirements of different                 teaching departments of the school;
To formulate policy in relation to the development of resources for reading, reference and projects;
To make recommendations for proper functioning of school library;
To recommend suitable budgetary provisions for the library and resource centre;
To frame, review and approve library rules;

Composition of the school library committee
Ideally, the principal/headmaster initiates the school library committee. The principal/vice principal, headmaster/assistant headmaster acts as chairperson of the committee. The school librarian/teacher librarian or library coordinator acts as the secretary.

Other members may include:
HOD’s, subject heads, learning area heads or their representatives
representatives of interest groups, clubs, societies
representative from the Representative Council
library prefects or monitors
representative from the Parents Teacher Association

Duties of the school library committee
These duties include:
developing the library mission
policy auditing and rating the library
deciding on staffing
planning the library accommodation
acquiring library equipment
acquiring library-based learning resources
planning the budget
negotiating the library rules for learners and educators
negotiating the library schedule, e.g. times of use
ensuring the organization and management of library-based learning resources
monitoring the care and use of the learning resources
reporting the successes, activities and needs of the library to the school community
continuously evaluating and developing the use of library-based learning resources.
The committee should meet at least once a term to plan, to solve problems and to evaluate the entire library programme.


An official place for library-based learning resources is needed so that these resources can be made accessible to students, teachers and educators. An officially designated standard library room with space to prepare and store resources or a renovated classroom

A School Library could be:
an officially designated standard library room with space to prepare and store resources
a renovated classroom
two adjacent classrooms renovated and joined for this purpose
a combination of a traditional library and computer room
a mobile library bus serving several neighbouring schools.


When selecting the location of the school library, also consider:
library security, i.e. burglar bars, a separate lockable facility (keys should be kept by the principal and the school/teacher librarian or library co-coordinator only)
a central position in the school, i.e. easily accessible by all, including physically challenged people
protection from natural elements such as water, fire, sunlight and high humidity (which promotes mould)
good ventilation, enough natural light and/or reading light
adequate space to accommodate the largest class group
distance from noisy areas, e.g. cafeteria, music room, play ground
integration with, or close proximity to, the computer room.

The location of the school library is of as much concern as is its size and shape. It should best be located in an area of maximum accessibility to the students and teachers. The premises chosen to accommodate the library should meet the following requirements:
should be in a quite area free from excessive noise, disturbances and pollution.
should be away from canteen, common room, play ground and parking area
should have good ventilation and ample day light.
should have sufficient floor area in the Reading Room to enable the students to use it comfortably either in groups or individually.
should have sufficient work space for the staff to receive books on approval and undertake accessioning, classification, cataloguing, minor repair, issue and return, and reference service activities.
should have separate enclosure to be used as Committee/Conference Room by teachers and pupils for participating in joint or group discussions.
should have sufficient stack area so as to organize the books in open shelves.
should have a counter/enclosure for keeping personal belongings.


When designing the layout of the school library, consider;
flexibility of use that will allow a multiplicity of activities
easy supervision from a central point from which every area in the library is visible
efficient flow of traffic
strategically placed observation windows between user areas and other support service areas, e.g. an adjacent computer centre
sufficient electrical power points for present and future needs, e.g. photocopier, computer, etc.
sufficient notice boards and a display area to be used to display notices, project work, etc.
a special space for each different type of resource material, e.g. for periodicals, newspapers. (N.B. Different media types and book sizes will need specially adapted shelving space, e.g. wider shelves for picture books)
a space for the use of ICT in the library, i.e. computers, CD Roms, Internet, etc.
a teaching corner with a white board, interactive board, TV and video, etc. Avoid using a chalk board as the dust created in this way is bad for books, computers, etc.

Aesthetic Appeal

The school library needs to be attractive to all its users.
Choose a colour scheme.
Paint walls an attractive colour.
For carpeting use good quality non-toxic, non-static commercial grade carpets.
Window blinds or tasteful curtains are necessary if direct sunlight may damage resource materials.
Shelves may be painted or varnished.
Decorate with plants, mounted pictures, etc



The school library should be suitably equipped if it is to fulfill its function. Suitable library stationery and furniture as well as office equipment should be purchased.

Library Furniture
- made of strong wood or metal
  - suited to the height of the learners
- preferably with upright dividing sides and adjustable shelves
issue desk and chair for the school/teacher librarian (metal or wooden)
tables for  students/pupils-users
  - wooden or metal, rectangular or trapezium-shaped
chairs for learners
  - sturdy plastic chairs or stools which can be cleaned easily
filing cabinet
magazine display rack
newspaper display rack
notice boards or pin boards
catalogue cabinet (wooden or metal)
book ends
book trolley

Office Equipment
rubber stamp with the school library’s name
 date stamp
 ink pad
 ruler, scissors, stapler, punch, pencil sharpener etc
 computer,printer
 photocopier
 wastepaper basket

Library Stationery
accession register OR hard-cover counter book (no loose pages),
book pockets and cards, date sheets
catalogue cards
ballpoint pens, coloured marker pens, pencils
drawing pins, staples, paper clips
glue stick, wood glue (used for some book repairs), and glue brushes
Scotch 3M magic tape (wide, to cover spine labels or for minor book repairs)
paper and envelopes
plastic library-book cover (a roll or ready cut into different sizes)


Library-Based Learning Resources

The library collection should reflect the purpose for which it was established and is maintained. In developing the school library collection, strive to:
match resources to curricular and learners’ needs.
acquire a good collection of on-site materials, i.e. core resources.

Resources must therefore
be appropriate for the Learning Areas and ability levels of the students
meet high standards of quality in factual content and presentation
have aesthetic and literary value
reveal sound ethical and social values and
be consistent with national educational needs.

School library resources/materials/collections may include:
fiction and non-fiction books
reference works, e.g. encyclopaedias, dictionaries and atlases
audio cassettes
video cassettes
periodicals (magazines)
article cuttings, pamphlets, etc. (kept in files)
selections of stories, tales, short stories and poetry suitable for different age groups
slides, compact disc video, micro films
video tapes
dvd recordings
compact discs , tape cassettes and audio book
Internet and TV-channels
audio and visual and multimedia material
other items.

New York State Library. (2013). School Library Partner Manual

Improving literacy through school libraries by U.S National Commission on Libraries and Information Science. 2008

Klinger, Donald (2006). School libraries and Students Achievement in Ontario (Canada)

Skyes, Judith Anne. (2005). Brian-Friendly School Libraries

Lance, Keith Curry, Marica J. Rodney and Christine Hamilton-Pennel (2005). Powerful Libraries make Powerful Learners: The Illinois Study
Howars, Marilyn. (2004).Idaho  School Librarian’s Information Manual

Damon, Rose. (2001).Beginners’ Guide to School Library Organization