Thursday, November 29, 2012

Scratch and Sniff!

This summer at ALA, I bought a package of popcorn-scented scratch and sniff bookmarks from Upstart. They were a BIG hit with the kids, so I have since ordered several different scents for the kids. (Not pictured: popcorn, candy canes, or s'mores.)

Upstart is merging with Demco in December, so beginning then you can order these great, super fun, uber popular bookmarks from Demco. They're $6.95/100 bookmarks, but if you order 10 or more, the price drops to $6.50 each. They have 28 different scents to choose from... which is the hardest part of doing the order.

I have to say... these scratch and sniff bookmarks take me right back to childhood. I LOVED scratch and sniff stickers when I was a kid. (We were members of a Sticker Club at a store in the Clearwater Mall, and I would get really excited if the sticker of the month was a scratch and sniff!)

Monday, November 19, 2012

If You Build It, They Will Come...

Some days I go home and collapse. When I update these charts with our patron usage data and circulation statistics, I realize why.

When  my co-librarian (and library soul mate) Alden and I were hired in 2007, we didn't inherit organized patron usage data from our predecessors. They did have the students sign in when they visited the library, but it was all by hand; when we started, we just didn't have the time to crunch the numbers from the prior school year's sign in sheets.  Shortly after we began, we purchased a computer program called Preston from a local software developer that runs on a touchscreen monitor. Students sign in to the library by entering their name and reason for visiting; I have access to a password-protected website where I can pull up the data, which I enter into Excel to create these pretty charts. [Side Note: this data only includes individual student visits to the library; it does not include any whole class visits. So our actual patron usage is much higher than this.] Occasionally I email the charts to my administrators. I have also been known to chase them down around school and force them to "ooh" and "ahh" over them.

Circulation in our library has also steadily risen each year. Sometimes I look at this data and can't believe it's real.  But when I look at it with the patron usage data, I have to believe that we're able to draw more and more students into the library each year, which helps increase our circulation. 

This past summer I did a major weed of the collection, which allowed me to eliminate 2 bookshelves and rearrange the library space. Thanks to Gaylord, I acquired a new (3rd) study table for the kids to use (now I want a 4th!), so the kids have even more room to sit and use the library.  I believe this has been the reason for the increase (already!) in both patron usage and circulation.  If you build it, they will come.

We do have circulation data from the year before Alden and I were hired (see the navy blue line on this graph). We were thrilled at the end of our first year that we were able to increase circulation as much as we did.  We attributed the increase to the creation of a small collection of graphic novels and purchasing books that the children requested.  At the end of our first year, we created a Young Adult fiction section for the middle school and high school students. Again we saw an increase in circulation.

I attribute the increase in each subsequent year to purchasing new materials that the kids like and maintaining an environment where the kids feel welcome and respected. I also try to keep it fresh and new in the library; every year I change things, add things... buy new furniture or hang new decorations... keeping things lively and "new" brings the kids in more and more. Again... if you build it, they will come.

I dream of the day when we go under construction and expand the library.  It would be such a dream to have more computers and more study space for our students.  But until then, I will just rearrange, add, change, and keep things fresh so the kids will enjoy it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Look Who's #3!!

The new rankings from U.S. News and World Report are out!  And FSU's school library media program is #3 in the country!  So proud to be a graduate of such a magnificent program!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's National Picture Book Month!

Just sent this Smore newsletter to my elementary teachers promoting National Picture Book Month.  Smore is a great, FREE Web 2.0 resource that allows you to create attractive, online newsletters & flyers that can be emailed, posted to Facebook or Twitter, or embedded in websites.  It's so easy - this one took me less than 15 minutes to create.