Saturday, August 25, 2012

We Put The "Library In Our Pockets" at Van Meter This Week

Last spring, my friends Michelle Luhtala, Joyce Valenza, and I were talking about the whole idea of "putting the library in your pocket."  By suggesting to our students apps and resources that they could add to their own personal devices, we are giving them access to tools that they may need to be productive and successful collaborators, creators and connectors.  

Over the last week, I helped the students and teachers at Van Meter put the "library in their pockets."  

In the secondary, I worked with two of our new English teachers, Jessica Rabe and Renee Martin.  Every hour throughout the day, they brought their two classes into the library for a short library orientation and introduction to putting the "library in their pockets."  By meeting with these classes, we were able to see almost every student.  

I created a folder on my iPhone called "Library In Pocket" and filled it with great apps that I knew our secondary students would find helpful.  The folder contained the Destiny Quest app so they can search our library collections at Van Meter; YALSA's new Teen Book Finder app, EasyBib, StudyBlue, Rosen's Teen Hotlines, Evernote, SymbalooEdu, a QR Code Reader, and two databases we have through Heartland AEA....Britannica and Gale's "My School" app.  

I also showed them that I added "Mackin VIA" as a widget to my home screen and then moved it into the "Library In Pocket" folder.  They could do this with any website they use and would like to keep handy within their folder.  For a lot of them, this was the first time they had seen that trick.  

And to make it a little easier, I created three QR Codes that they could scan with their device.  By scanning these it would take them directly to the website (Mackin VIA, Van Meter Library Voice, and Iowa AEA Resources).  From there they would create each widget.  

I created a Google Doc called "Library In Your Pocket" for Jessica and Renee to share with all of our secondary students.  They emailed it to their students before the orientation and I encouraged them to refer back to it as they added these apps and widgets to their devices too. We also hung up posters in the library, hallway and in the classrooms for quick reference.  Please feel free to use any of this as you wish.  
In the elementary, I started the "Library In Your Pocket" campaign during our "Back To School" open house two weeks ago.  I created these posters and hung them around the library and school.  I also made several copies and laminated each one before laying them out on the tables around the library and computer lab.
I even made a few black and white copies for students and parents to pick up that night....and they did.  I had a few parents tell me that they were going to create widgets for the different sites right on their iPads for their children to use.  I showed them how to download a QR code reader and then how to scan the different codes.  This really encouraged great conversations with parents before the school year even began....which I loved!
I also created a Google Doc called "Elementary Library In Your Pocket and Websites of QR Codes". By creating these posters of apps and QR codes within Google Docs, it allows me to share it easily not just at school, but also at home and globally as well.
As you can see, the secondary and elementary "Library In Pocket" folders only differ slightly.
During library and technology time throughout the week, the elementary students would take their devices to search the app store for the ones on the posters or scan the QR codes to go directly to the websites that were found within each.   

As the apps were found in the Store, the students would get them loaded onto their iTouches or other device.  
 I really loved seeing how great they worked together during this process.
The students would either add the apps or create widgets from the QR codes they were scanning.  Two that they all added were the Little Van Meter Voice Google Site ( and the Mackin VIA website.

After they had a few added to their home screen, the students would create their "Library In Pocket" folders.
They now had a wonderful start to great resources that will be used throughout the year at school and at home.  As the year goes on, I will continue to highlight helpful apps and add them to my iPhone "Library In Pocket" folder and to the Google Doc's I mentioned above.

What a fun way to start the year....

seeing the students with the "Library In Their Pockets" was definitely one of my favorite days in the library so far, too.


  1. You never cease to amaze me with all the amazing activities you do with your students. You truly are a mentor to so many. Thank you for sharing your great ideas through this blog : )

  2. Hi Nikki,

    Thank you, sweet friend. :) I am happy to be able to share with you.....And I love what I learn from YOU too.

    Hope you are doing great.

    Hugs, Shan