Interactive Library Orientation with Glogster

library orientation digital backpackThis is a guest post by Rachael Costello, high school librarian. Her library orientation lesson for freshman is packed with options, engagement, and interactivity. Glogster provides the platform for delivery, but Rachael fills it with her ideas and productions. I wish all students had such a thorough introduction to their school library, thinking especially about the schools closing and cutting librarians!

Reflections on an Interactive Library Orientation

by Rachael Costello

Library Orientation Glogster

I would like to thank Lindsey for inviting me to guest blog. Before mass computer and internet infiltration in to the classroom, I always tried to spice things up with comic strip projects, museums projects and even puppet shows.  As a classroom teacher, I understood that a student’s level of enthusiasm dwindled after the third time doing a particular activity. So if several teachers incorporated a comic strip project the students were bored after the second and maybe third experience with a comic strip. Their saturation point is even lower today. When I moved into the library, I wanted to transform the student’s view of a library and the librarian, and my first priority was making sure that students saw me as a teacher first. We have a flexible schedule so I tried to get as many teachers to let me teach information literacy skills in their classes as possible. My first two years, 9th grade library orientation was me physically leading students around the library giving a tour of the physical library and highlighting procedures and resources. The first year, this was good. The students were excited and the feedback was positive. Last year the same tour received a lukewarm reception, and I knew they had reached the saturation point with me doing all the talking even if it was on the move. So, I went back to the drawing board with three goals in mind. The first was to cover the content of library orientation but to remove myself as the teacher directly from it, to make it more interactive for the students and incorporate technology. Through our Grassroots Technology Group (This is a group of teachers who meet one a week before school, who have an interest in incorporating more technology into our classrooms. It is teachers teaching teachers. Each week we take turns introducing something new and then use it in a lesson), I had learned a lot of new web 2.0 applications and used those as the foundation for the lesson.

The lesson…

Bring your Cellphones

First, I emailed teachers and told them to encourage their students to bring their cell phones. I was told that the students were very excited when they heard this. While students entered the library for orientation, there was a “Do-It-now” activity on the Smartboard. Using polleverywhere.com, they had to text a yes or no response to the question; did you read a book this summer? After class began, I outlined their options for the lesson. They had three options:

The Amazing Library Race

Yes, designed after the TV show The Amazing Race. It was a traditional low tech scavenger hunt and I thought would be the least popular. I was wrong.

An audio docent tour of the library.

Using Audacity, I recorded a walking tour podcast of the library. Yes, it was exactly like the one I gave the previous year, but this time it was loaded onto two IPod Touch’s with two rock-star splitters and the students were in control.

Video tour of the library

I created a video tour using Photostory. The irony was that, I produced all of these activities and therefore they all had my voice and all the options had almost exactly the same content and script as last year.

This year Library orientation was a huge success. A google form embedded in a netvibes page formed the lesson assessment.

Here are some of the Student comments;

“That was fun,”

“Great orientation,”


“I thought this was really great! Giving students the choice of how to learn about the library was really great,”

“Thanks for this wonderful tour,”

“I believe a good effort was made and a great outcome. I felt prepared for the orientation quiz and feel comfortable using the library now,”

“This was very helpful!”

“I enjoyed the podcast orientation. I think you should keep it for next year.”

There were also some good suggestions to make the various activities better. Of the 190 students who participated over three days there were a few students who thought it was boring (i.e. my challenge for next year).

I credit the success of this year’s library orientation to incorporating technology. Students were excited to use the ITouch and several asked where the rock-star Splitters came from. The other contributing factor to the lessons success was giving students a choice and control of their own learning. The lesson ended with everyone completing a Google form evaluation and survey. Additionally, most of Library orientation was electronic so I was able to upload it up to a Glog http://rachael0205.edu.glogster.com/library-Orientation/ which I was then able to post the link on our school’s portal for absent students, but also upperclassmen and staff who want a library refresher.


Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

IPod Touch and rock-star splitter

Photostory  http://microsoft-photo-story.en.softonic.com/


Google Forms linked to www.netvibes.com

Rachael Costello,


Email: costello@prsd.org

Twitter: @rachael0205

Library Website: http://www.pentucketrhs.org/lib.php

Netvibes: Pentucket Library

FYI: Software trainer and online learning designer

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