Jeri Hurd over at Bib2.0 got me thinking about library orientation. This year I didn't do one and in a way it's helped me to see where orientations are valuable. At the start of the school year we were up to our necks in renovations and the installation of the new automated system. It's now January and I am thinking about doing some modified orientations with the new students.
Frequently Asked Questions: What the kids want to know.
Where is the pencil sharpener?
May I borrow scissors, tape, glue, a pencil/pen, coloured markers...? The list is endless. This year I decided to try a library dollar store and stock basic items which I sell for $2 or less. The money goes towards book purchases. Glue sticks and fine liners are the hottest selling items.
Can I rent a book? Love this one. I always ask them how much they think I should charge.
Computer questions mainly relating to searches, saving work and finding lost files.
Here's what I've tried in the past:
A treasure hunt using a map of the library and a list features. The kids have to match up the number on the map with the feature. At the end we discuss the answers and provide additional information about things like printing rules.
A Resource Hunt: I do this in Socials classes and give the kids a list of questions based on a topic they will later cover in class. Their job is not to answer the question but to prepare an annotated brochure giving the best resource for finding the answer. The questions are designed to lead them to resources such as historical atlases, dictionaries, encyclopedias and timelines. I also give them several websites and ask them which one is the best for their topic. This works well as the kids have a ready-made list of resources when they come back later to do a research assignment.
What I Do Now.
My focus has been shifting to include an introduction to some useful web 2.0 tools which I see as part of any students basic toolkit:
del.icio.us I start out by getting them to create an account and then select some useful reference sites. They have to bookmark a dictionary, an encyclopedia and a thesaurus and then can add any other site they find useful.
Google Docs - How to avoid lost files and find time to collaborate on a project.
I think sites like VoiceThread and Animoto might also be worthwhile to include. I have started to search for other orientation ideas online and will post more later.
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