Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Advocating for Open Access to Resources

As part of my course I need to reflect on whether I am an advocate of open access to library resources.  In terms of technology I think my library has come a very long way towards becoming more of a library without walls.  The library has a website with many online resources linked to it and our library catalogue is available on-line as well. In the past five years we have an ongoing subscription to World Book Online and some other EBSCO resources as well as subscription to Culturegram. Through this course I have been able to further expand the reference resources available on-line.  For now they are not easily accessible as most of these resources are on my Destiny Library Manager home page.  Since our default catalogue application is DestinyQuest, students have to exit this catalogue and click on a couple of links to access all the reference links.  I need to expand my current reference page on my library website to provide easy and better organized access to reference resources.

At the beginning of last year I was able to advocate for additional library clerk time to keep the library open after school.  I am able to keep the library open 20 minutes after school each day.  This isn't much but is better than the many years of closing after school or opening on ad hoc basis whenever I had time staff it myself.

I would like to improve access to the library during school hours.  Our library schedule is almost fully subscribed (save for about an hour or two a week).  I need to seek ways to manage our small library space so that it still allows for patrons to drop in while other classes are using the library for book exchanges.  In our school, grade two to five teachers facilitate their own book exchanges because of our limited clerk hours and librarian time.  As a result these teachers would be responsible for other students dropping in and there would be no teacher-librarian or clerk support. Students dropping in during library skill classes or resource-based learning classes would have little or non support since my librarian time is fully devoted to the activity at hand.

I think I have advocated for open access to my library resources in terms of library layout and Internet presence but have far to go in terms of signage, advertising and training of students.  Students and staff are not very aware of all that is available to them.  They may only hear once or twice a year about reference resources. This is not enough to make them frequent users.  I am pondering whether I need to curtail some of my literature promotion activities to promote more use of our reference resources.

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't have to be an either/or!

    Good luck to you Ben. You are focussed and enthusiastic and your school is very fortunate to have you.