Libraries and Infographics

Library Infographic - OCLC 1

Library Infographic - OCLC 2

Thinking about how to create an eye-catching marketing tool, I went searching for infographics related to libraries and found the following three:

In this blog post Andy Moreton, a ‘technology librarian’, considers infographics “a method for presenting data in a more informative and entertaining fashion than just dumping the content into a table.” He goes on to say,  “libraries are notorious for presenting data to the public in ways that are neither informative nor entertaining…”

This is certainly a challenge, and I would love to create an infographic to visualise my Library report at the end of the year. However, I think the skill of  developing an effective infographic is to use less information rather than more and therefore infographics perhaps work best as a marketing tool, focussing on key data, rather than a reporting tool.

In the meantime, while I’m thinking about how to do it, I’ll have plenty of sites to work my way through at Kathy Scrock’s  Infographics as Creative Assessment.  Here she has put together an impressive list of links to:

The history of infographics

Examples of great infographics

Literacies and standards

How to create an infographic

Successful K-12 practices

Infographic collections and info

Infographic topics keywords

Mobile Technologies and Libraries

Library in your pocketAccording to the 2011 Horizon Report, mobile technologies are one of the emerging technologies likely to be in widespread use within the year, and already “mobile computing has become an indispensable part of day-to-day life in the workforce.” The  mobilization of information in our society is impossible to ignore, and the proliferation of mobile devices has brought with it an ease of instant access to the internet. For the connected community we have become, this is increasingly mandatory.

Here in Brisbane last week, I attended the 3rd International M-Libraries Conference, along with university and public librarians from around the world. Students constantly engage in an online environment where they expect to discover anything they need to know and access it immediately and if  we, as information specialists, cannot deliver the information our clients demand when they want it, they may well decide we are irrelevant to their needs. While a growing number of university libraries recognise the imperative for them to offer new content or enhance existing services seamlessly via mobile devices, many are still grappling with the logistics of  how to achieve this, in addition to upskilling their stafff to cope with a massive shift in the provision of traditional library services.

Stephen Abrams, author of Stephen’s Lighthouse blog, was a keynote speaker who examined the profound shift in human behaviour that is happening with mobile technologies. He reiterated that libraries are social institutions, connecting people with people and people with information.  While librarians are at the heart of our learning communities, and are still needed as high-end professionals to help students make sense of the digital world, libraries are increasingly no longer just physical places.  He challenged the audience that “as technology advances emboldened librarians hold the key.”

Does this hold true for teacher librarians as well?  We have a more captive and less mobile audience in our schools than universities do, but does that make it any less imperative for us to be providing services via mobile technologies?  I believe not. I believe that schools in general, and teacher librarians in particular, should also be looking forward into the future and tailoring our services towards an increasingly mobile clientele.

To see what some university libraries are already doing with mobile technologies, visit the following sites:

University of Bedfordshire Libraries

North Carolina State University Libraries

Bavarian State Library – Famous Books App and Oriental Books App

Mobile Apps for Libraries – Libraryland Roundup

M-Libraries Wiki

Library Anywhere

Images from and

LibGuides for Libraries

Library Home PageI first heard about LibGuides on a blog post from Camilla Elliot, where she used the Victorian State Library’s Bushfire LibGuide as an example. In the months that followed I heard about other libraries using LibGuides, and finally requested a trial myself.  Once I started uploading content and creating the guides I was hooked!

LibGuides are an incredibly easy way to create a professional-looking library web page, and at BGS we have used LibGuides to create our Library homepage. We have then linked to other guides from that page, as well as to our Library blog (The Pulse) and our Reading blog (The Gathering). There are multiple options for customizing pages, as you can see if you go to the LibGuides Community site and look at how other schools and universities have set up their pages. Gulf Oil Spill Information Centre, by University of South Florida Libraries, is a good example to start with to see the amount of information that can be included in a guide.

LibGuides are made up of a number of boxes or ‘widgets’ on a page into which you can put specific types of content, depending on which style of box you choose – eg text and images, RSS feeds, books from your catalogue, video clips, lists of websites. The size of the columns on a page can be easily altered, and you can rearrange boxes on a page or move them to a different page. You can also copy an existing box onto another page or copy an existing page into another guide.

Once a guide has been set up, you can add pages which sit along the top as tabs, or you can add subpages to any of those pages. We have set up our Assignment Help guides as a separate guide for each year level and subject, and under those a page for each unit or topic. Within each topic we can then add subpages according to the requirements of each assignment.

It is very easy to set up other people as editors or guide creators, which means that other staff and teachers can also be creating guides and adding content to existing guides. We pay for an extra module which allows us to upload our own images and this has been a good choice, as we can make our guides much more visual.

If you would like to trial LibGuides, email the very helpful staff at Springshare.

QR Codes and Libraries

Phone Reading QR Code

A couple of days ago I was quite interested to hear a local real estate agent interviewed on radio about the way he is currently using QR (Quick Response) codes, and it made me think again if there could be a use for them in a library. Many real estate agents use QR codes – they put them on For Sale signs in people’s yards and so that if someone is driving by, they can using their mobile phones to read the codes. This in turn takes them straight to the internet site advertising the property.

So, how can you get your mobile phone to do this? Firstly you need to download a QR Reader – a piece of software which will allow your phone to scan the barcode (as you take a photo).  iPhoneapps have released Matrix QR Reader for iPhones, and you can view a video demonstration of it here. Of course there are multiple other QR Readers available for downloading onto any other mobile phone.

Once you have downloaded your QR Reader, you can then use your phone to photograph (scan) any codes that you see, and this will convert the code to text or a web address. From the point of view of marketing, the hope, of course, is that you will then visit the website and purchase or interact with the product.

In order to generate your own QR codes, you need to use a QR Code Generator. Kaywa Code Generator is a simple version where you can type in text, a URL, phone number or SMS and your QR Code will automatically be generated. Then you can simply cut and paste it and use it wherever you want it.

QR codes have been around for a few years now, and over that time uses for them in education have been  proposed, but have never really taken off. This is most likely due to the fact that schools are already struggling with the whole idea of allowing mobile phones  – particularly with the steady increase in cyberbullying, sexting, videoing playground fights and other inappropriate uses of mobile phones.

Educause Learning Initiative in Feb 2009  published  7 Things You Should Know About QR Codes, and here they comment: “the challenge remains to find appropriate and effective pedagogical uses of QR codes.” The article outlines the advantages and disadvantages of them, and contains implications for teaching and learning.

From another perspective, Leonard Low says “Where I see QR Codes becoming obsolete is through the rapidly improving processing capabilities of mobile devices, which are on the cusp of becoming capable of reading and interpreting printed text. Once phones become able to recognise a printed URL, for example, the use of a QR Code to “represent” a URL becomes superfluous… an unnecessary (and non-human-readable) duplication of information. Text-recognition will also be far more flexible than QR Codes; potentially, semantic constructs could be used to allow the recognition of an infinite variety of different types of data, the same way that OCR currently works on desktop computers.” (Mobile Learning Blog)

Nevertheless, I do like the following ideas for libraries from Lex Rigby, a science and engineering librarian. She suggests:

“If  we started to use QR codes to label books, journals, audio/visual, offprints etc and a user wanted to see further information about that resource, all they’d need to do is scan the QR code. They’d be able to find descriptive information, images, useful URLs etc all at the touch of a button on their phone. And what if at that moment in time they have too many books out? Well, by saving the QR code as an image they’d have a record of the resource stored on their phone so they’d be able to easily find it when they’re ready to loan it….

…How about using QR codes on your promotional/marketing materials to link users directly to where information can be found on the Internet? Do you have a library weblog? Are you producing leaflets to inform readers where they can find it? Why not stick a QR code on there so that they’re able to link directly to you? Got some particularly good skills tutorials you want your users to know about? Stick a QR code on your promotional material and they’ll find it straight away! Got an extensive reading list you want your students to read? Why not put a QR code on there to link students directly to the library catalogue record or even the article itself!!”

Will I use them in my Library?  Probably not at the moment (because I’m too busy) but that doesn’t mean I won’t re-look at them in future – unless they’re obsolete by then!

Using QR Codes in Libraries (John Lang)

Will QR Codes Take Off in Education? (Kerrie Smith)

By the way, here is a very interesting site showing documented uses of/references to QR codes on a timeline.

Top 50 Librarian Blogs

If you’re looking for some blogs to subscribe to, you’re sure to find something to interest you at this site. The blogs listed include personal blogs, collective and community blogs, library and reference blogs, fun stuff blogs and Twitter streams.



As information needs and delivery have changed so swiftly, so libraries are being forced to re-evaluate, re-invent themselves and re-emerge as exciting, contemporary and relevant spaces.

While a strong and vibrant web presence is vitally important, so too is physical space, as shown by the fact that 108 million people visited 1,500 public libraries in Australia last year. (ALIA)

The Rosedale branch of the Baltimore County Public Library in America is one such library that has had a vision for adapting to changing needs, and they have created a fantastic learning space for toddlers and pre-schoolers called Storyville.

“Caregivers and their young children can explore the seven museum-quality learning areas in the village. These include a library, a two-story house, theater, store, Chesapeake Bay waterfront for toddlers, baby garden and construction site. Each area is furnished with books and engaging materials and activities which promote language and literacy, as well as other vital school readiness skills.

Babies and their caregivers can engage in peek-a-boo and play with sensory toys or read board books in their garden; toddlers can crawl through driftwood, read in a lighthouse, rock in a toy boat, fish or gaze up at the stars; preschoolers can play house in the home living area, present plays and puppet shows in the theater, shop in the store and practice building at the construction site. The library, stocked with a variety of children’s books and comfortable seating, invites reading together. Books, displayed in every area, as well as parent resource materials and themed take home kits, are available for checkout.” Storyville Baltimore County Public Library

See also BookTagger Blog and James Bradberry Architects

Twitter for Libraries


Twitter – send a message in 140 characters – is one of the fastest-growing social networking phenomenas ever.  Guy Kawasaki calls it “the most powerful marketing tool invented since TV,…and it’s free.”

In just 3 years it has “evolved into a powerful new marketing and communications tool. Regional emergency preparedness organizations are looking at Twitter as a way to reach millions of people during a disaster. NASA is using it to regularly update interested parties about the status of space shuttle flights. And one journalist solicited help from fellow Twitterers to get himself out of an Egyptian jail.” (The Twitter Revolution)

To get a better idea of what Twitter is all about, here is an article by Sarah Milstein that explains it simply, and in particular looks at the ways in which libraries are using or could use this sevice. (Richard Beaudry)

Sarah says “a library could share all kinds of news that patrons want. Short messages can tell people about events such as readings, lectures, and book sales; newly available resources; or changes in the building hours. One message a day or one a week could share a tip on finding or accessing information online or in the building. Twitter posts can link to interesting news stories about literacy or about libraries. When appropriate, the posts can link to a library’s own website and blog for more in-depth information.”

Phil Bradley also has some suggestions for libraries and the types of things they could Twitter:

  • General information updates – opening/closing times
  • Staff information – new staff, old staff, anything about staff
  • New resources – new materials perhaps, collections of resources in particular areas, brief notes on resources that can be used for specific purposes/projects
  • General information – a library is there to provide access to knowledge, so why not do it via Twitter as well – ‘this day in history’, local events taking place in the town, pointers towards resources to supplement information on specific news stories
  • Countdowns for events taking place in the library
  • Linking to images of/in/about the library
  • News alerting services – take feeds from the BBC and CNN for example and reTweet (copy and send on) to your followers
  • Notify students/staff/users/clients about any and everything the library is doing.
  • Be involved in any conversations that take place regarding your organisation, library or subject area of interest
  • Current awareness with regards specific subjects for specific groups of people
  • Updating a news RSS feed on your library page
  • Share best practices with other libraries

“Given the many potential uses of Twitter for libraries—not to mention the likelihood that your patrons are already on it—it’s a great medium to embrace. And at just a few sentences a day, the lightweight format doesn’t require much time to make a big impact.” (Sarah Milstein)

See also  Librarian, Library and Catalog Tweets Revealed!

Reading 2.0

In the middle of the year I was fortunate enough to attend the NECC 2008 Conference in San Antonio, and one of the sessions which really inspired me was called “Feed, Tag, Research: Remixing for School Library 2.5″. A group of 7 innovative TLs from America and Australia shared their passion to incorporate best practice Web 2.0 technologies into their libraries to enrich and empower students of today and tomorrow.

Anita Beaman – librarian at University High School, Illinois State University – was one of those presenters, and her passion is to meld books, reading and Web 2.0 – using 2.0 technology to promote reading for pleasure. Together with Amy Oberts, TL from Oakland Elementary School, Bloomington, Anita has developed a wiki called ‘Reading 2.0’ aimed at bringing together all kinds of internet sites which promote interaction with books and reading. Check it out at

These ladies say: “Harnessing technology to excite and empower your students’ literary development is our mission for Reading 2.0!

To encourage the digital native generation to read, we may have to redefine what we mean by reading. According to a recent article in American Libraries, teens are reading all the time–they just aren’t always reading in the “traditional ways.”So why not use what they DO read to encourage them to read more books? Use online forums like MySpace, YouTube, author blogs, and online book groups to help get your students excited about reading. Compile a brief list of links with additional info about an author or topic and print them on an address label. Stick the label in the books in a highly visible place–on the last page, or opposite the first page. Encourage your students to explore reading in their own territory.”

Below are some examples of the types of information Anita puts into the novels in her library:

Meg Cabot

Want more of Meg?  Here’s where to look!


Meg’s Diary:


Myspace Groups: or

Teen Lit (MySpace):

Readergirlz: or

Not Your Mother’s Book Club:

Sarah Dessen

Hey!  If you’re a Sarah Dessen fan, check out these sites online:




Sarahland: A Live Journal Community for Sarah Dessen Fans:

Teen Lit (MySpace):

Readergirlz: or

Not Your Mother’s Book Club:

Scott Westerfeld

Want more Westerfeld?  Check out the web:




Westerfeld Myspace Group:

Teen Lit (MySpace):

Not Your Mother’s Book Club:

Flickr: School Library Displays

If you don’t already have a flickr account, consider using it for showcasing to parents photos of events that are happening in your library e.g. author visits, competitions, storytelling sessions,  recommended books (get cover images from Amazon), Book Week displays and events. Having a flickr account also means that you can upload and save your photos from any computer, making it very easy to share them.

 Once you have created an account, you can upload photos into ‘sets’ and make them private or public. If you make them private, then only the people you invite can view those photos. This of course is good for photos involving students.


You can upload photos quite large in size, but I prefer to resize them first (to 800 x 600) for speed of uploading. I use VSO Image Resizer, a free program you can download at  however Picasa will also resize photos for you.

If you would like to share some photos of your library displays, I have created a ‘group’ in flickr called School Library Displays:  It doesn’t matter if your displays are big or small, it will be a place where anyone can share ideas or get ideas. If you have downloaded Cooliris onto your computer (see my previous blog entry), have a look at the library display photos using the Cooliris photowall – they look really good!



 Some of our Redlands College library displays – see more in Flickr.