Dear Google: You are my library nemesis.

14 Oct

We have the benefit of district funding for online reference materials, but I know that they are not being used. I don’t know if it is because they are hard to access or if students are just unfamiliar with them, but I have an inkling that it might be a combination of both of those options.

As creatures of habit, we choose to deal with the monster we know rather than venture into the unknown. Students have grown up using Google and rely on this relationship when they have a research question. This makes Google my strongest competition.

I don’t think that one lonely librarian can take on the global juggernaut that is Google, but that won’t stop me from trying.

The amount of money that goes into online reference materials purchased by the district is huge and we are not getting out money’s worth. Being of incredibly Dutch descent, I hate to see anything go to waste (and I love tulips and own a pair of wooden shoes).

The big question now is: How will I combate Google?

Please don’t get me wrong, I like Google. I use Google. I have no personal vendetta against Google other than the fact that, because of Google, students may not be exploring the vast numbers of resources available to them through alternative search engines.

So here is my master plan…

#1. During the grade 8 orientation, I highlighted the online reference sources to all of the students and forced them to record our offsite subscription user name and password.

#2. At our Pro-D day in November we will be learning about making websites. This is not completely new to me, but our school website could use an overhaul to make it more streamlined and easy to use. Once I have created a new website with our online subscription reference resources on a quick link, my true propaganda campaign will begin.

#3. I will post the resources and instructions for use on our school library bulletin board and on the library window facing out into the atrium. Once that is up, our online discussions board for school staff will be updated with reminders about the fabulous resources for students and highlighting the new and fabulous library website.

#4. In addition, our district bought bookmarks for all of the students with the proceeds of a conference last year and there is just enough space on the back to affix a label with the library website, reference user name and password information. While I would love to have all the classes in to use the online resources, we only have a limited number of computers in our library so this is not a realistic dream. Maybe one day….

Unfortunately, I cannot force students to use these resources but I can make it easy and relatively painless. I have a hunch that even some of those students who seem to insist that they will make it all the way through high school without ever once visiting the library may be enticed to use some of the library resources since technically they need not step foot inside the physical library space. (This is akin to sneaking pureed vegetables into children’s food by using the justification that “It’s good for them and they will never even know it.” Thank-you, Mom).


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