My school district in Kansas announced that we will go to online learning soon (no set date yet) in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a high school librarian, I have so many questions.
What is our role in a time like this?
How do I interact with students in this online environment?
What is the best way to support classroom teachers, students and administrators?
To help calm my fears and get a hold on the things I can do, I started to make a list of resources we already provide.
Library Website: Provides access to online lessons, databases, book recommendations and more. Students already utilize it and teachers provide links to the instructional tools on the site.
Collaboration: We already collaborate with classroom teachers. Many times a teacher starts an email chain as we plan a lesson, often planning without face-to-face meetings.
Books: Students have access to e-books through our online catalog. They have an easy password to remember.
Chat Feature: We recently set up a chat feature on our website. Although this feature is new, we promoted it in the past few weeks through our newsletter and social media posts.
I think the Chat Feature will become a source for both teachers and students. It appears on the front page of the library website and linked on each page. With two librarians on our team, we can both access the chat feature and respond.
If you are interested in setting up a chat feature for your website, see the links below for details.
LibChat/LibAnswers: Available from Springshare Libguides, this chat room has a lot of bells and whistles including a FAQ page for users, the ability to upload files and more. We currently use LibChat. (Not free.)
Tawk.to: Free! Download the app to your computer or mobile device. Use the provided directions to add the chatbox to your website. Tawk.to also provides widgets for your website as well. Click here to view all features.
MyLiveChat: Another free chat tool! Similar to the other options, add a chat box to your website. Receive alerts when someone asks a question and conduct multiple chat sessions at one time. A paid version is available for a few more features including no watermark. Click here for features and additional information.
Author: Becca Munson
Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.