Let's do things a little differently...
For this heading, I am going to generalize the first two parts of the citation to encompass all five websites (What is included in the tool? and Why is this tool helpful to you now OR how will it help you in the future?) I have similar reasons for why I picked these five and they all have similar attributes. If there is something that I found to stand out in particular, I will mention it in the last question of the citation (What are the strengths and weaknesses of the tool?).

  • All of these sites have a lot of external links to help students navigate to things that will benefit them in their various projects. There are also a lot of internal links, calendars, events, new items in the school, etc.

  • All of these websites will be helpful when creating my own school website. Sure, I might not have a choice when it comes to using a specific domain name but that doesn't mean I can't make it look snazzy and make it visually appealing to my students. These websites have strengths and weaknesses that will help me in the future when I am a part of creating a site that will draw in my audience and yet remain informative (learning disguised as fun).

1. Livingston High School

  • I found this on an LM_Net post by Anthony Doyle (who is the librarian on staff) on March 2nd.

  • This is strong because on the first page the librarian has given the user multiple options depending on who the user is. There are resources for students, teachers and other librarians as well as technology and links to other schools and libraries in their district. Next to all of these drop down menus, the librarian has an application which is sponsored by Accelerated Reader and they list how many books have been read followed by the number of pages and finally they have some of the recently read books. This is a fantastic way to promote an AR program and showing the covers of recently read books is a great way to draw students in even if they are not a part of the AR program. The inter-departmental links are rather disappointing since they all read "Under Construction" so it's really not helpful but in their Multimedia link I really like that they include specifically copyright-friendly sites. The book trailer that they have is pretty good but they only have one and I think that these trailers would be serve them if they were featured on the front page instead of buried underneath the AR page (which is first) and all of the links that are under construction. I can see that if someone clicked on all of those under construction pages they could get really frustrated and just give up before they see the links that do work.

Doyle, Anthony. "TARGET: Radioactive Love Song by Sherman Alexie" LM_Net. Syracuse University. Web. 14 March 2010.

2. Springfield Township Library

  • I found this link in one of the numerous posts on LM_Net by Dr. Joyce Valenza who is a librarian here along with Casey Arlen and Patty Gee.

  • I have to say, this is probably my favorite if only because of the interactive bulletin board navigation system; even if you switch to their "traditional" site it is a neat interactive cartoon version of the library. On their new site, however, they have all kinds of cool things like a "Classic of the Week", an interactive map of the world with headlines from The Washington Post, book covers for "Prerequisite Summer Reading", pictures of the students and staff during activities, a survey...it has so much that if you have trouble focusing this site might agitate that further! Sure it could be considered a little busy, but it was good enough to be declared the winner of "Best Librarian/Library Blog" by Edublogs in 2009. I think it's just amazing that this much was put on a wiki! In the sidebar links, there are even more resources, and Dr. Valenza includes a personal touch (resume, favorite workshops, her blog). I think the only thing I failed to find was a link to new materials in the library but when you include as much as this site did, I'm pretty sure you'll survive.

Valenza, Joyce. "HIT: responses about blogs" LM_Net. Syracuse University. Web. 14 April 2010.

3. Moline High School Audio Visual Department

  • I found this on LM_Net but I can't remember where; it was probably in a post by either Gail Brewster or Teresa McDonald who are the main proponents of the A/V Department at Moline High School.

  • This is a very interesting wiki because it's not exactly a school library website but I think that it's still pretty good. On their homepage they list the people involved and the titles they hold, where they are located and how to check out equipment from them. They also discuss what it is that they do and what kind of collection development policy they have which is very helpful. I like that they give walk-through instructions on how to find videos and give links to step-by-step instructions on wiki creation. They did not give a direct link to the card catalog which I thought would have been a good fit with the step-by-step instructions but it still looks very nice. There are also section for the new materials from the past few years as well as outside links to online video sources. I especially like it that they welcome the new teachers into the community. Overall it's a nice, clean website but in some respects it could be considered a little plain but then again, mine could be considered that too.

Brewster, Gail. "TARGET: Wikispaces Cost??" LM_Net. Syracuse University. Web. 14 March 2010.

4. Hamilton High School

  • I found this in an LM_Net post from Michelle Kelley Walker, the librarian of Hamilton High, on March 7th.

  • I must say, I'm not particularly fond of this website for aesthetic reasons, but I like the amount of resources and links that you can easily navigate to. The inter-departmental links are nice and I like that at the bottom of them you can navigate back to the library's site. I found it interesting that they did not have an online card catalog, but several of my websites didn't have one. The Edublog is very nice, it gives instructions for book suggestions and has fairly recent reviews of books for students. As for the aesthetics, I really would have liked to see pictures on the website; make it feel a little more personal or at least school-connected. On a side note: I was surprised to see that their school mascot is the Braves; while I know nothing about the policies in California, I know that in Michigan a lot of school have had to changes their mascots and it's rather surprising to see a logo such as theirs. I think it would have been better served to put the links that take up the entirety of the website on a sidebar and use the middle portion as an area with library activities, featured books, new materials, etc. However, after looking the the homepage for the actual high school which does have a slide show of pictures, it's understandable that that would not be included.

Walker, Michelle Kelley. "Re: SCHOOL LIBRARIES ARE IRRELEVANT?-Etiquette Reminder" LM_Net. Syracuse University. Web. 14 March 2010.

5. Seward Park Campus Schools

  • I found this in an LM_Net posting by Rena Deutsch, the librarian for Seward Park, on March 9th.

  • For being a multi-campus site, I think that it does a great job of keeping things simple. I like that the homepage is simple and has an easy navigation system to a variety of sources for students, teachers, and other professionals. At the bottom of the homepage there is a list of the schools that this site services and links to each which is helpful. I'm surprised there isn't an online catalog for this one in particular because it would be a great place to promote inter-library loaning (if the wished to) with a system similar to Monroe County Public Library's system in which there is a drop down menu to see which library it is in and to place a request. Speaking of drop down menus, I like how Deutsch used them in some of her sidebar links; she would give you an option to select your topic and there you go. Overall, cleanly built website and very easy to use.

Deutsch, Rena. "HIT: SEC: website showing students cost of living" LM_Net. Syracuse University. Web. 14 March 2010.