Archive for Reviews

Park View LibGuides: Learning on Their Time & Their Device

Stephanie Milles

Stephanie Mills
Park View Middle School

Stephanie Mills is a School Librarian at Park View Middle School in Cranston, Rhode Island. And to say that she is awesomazing, well, would be an understatement.

Through the Rhode Island Library Information Network for Kids, Stephanie and 70 other School Libraries in Rhode Island, have access to LibGuides through a single shared LibGuides CMS system. This way, participating libraries get their own customizable group and as students navigate through from elementary to middle to high school in Rhode Island, they’ll only have to remember one URL: It’s a win-win for librarians, educators, students, and parents.

The RILINK offices connected Springshare with Stephanie because she had some amazing things to share about how she’s using LibGuides to connect students to learning on their time and any device.

Here’s what she had to say:

The library has long been “research central” in a traditional sense but the need for libraries to be open and accessible at all hours has truly become an essential part of my program at Park View Middle School in Cranston. LibGuides allow students to see projects that I am collaboratively teaching and work on those projects from home, at their leisure.

One project that has been taught utilizing the LibGuide and Google Drive is a Constitution Jigsaw Puzzle. My instruction helped students learn the format of a Works Cited page and how to utilize as a way to create citations. Students could visit my plagiarism page to watch a small video clip, and take an online test about what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Students then used all of the research materials and databases on a specific LibGuide page designed for the assignment. The links brought them to YouTube clips, articles and reference sources to answer the questions. All of the student’s answers and citations were typed into a Google Doc and shared with me. The note taking sheet was designed so that as students clicked on it, it automatically created a copy and saved it to their Drive, where it could be edited and shared. The classroom teacher and I commented on everyone’s documents as they worked in real time so corrections to citations or answers could be made as students worked. Some students worked on their note sheets collaboratively. At night, if I received a notification that students were working, I could easily use my phone or iPad to comment on student work. The LibGuide also allowed me a built in opportunity for exit slips and formative assessments. Currently, the survey on the LibGuide is asking for student feedback as to whether or not the LibGuide helped streamline their research. One of the best features of the LibGuide is that it automatically shifts to a mobile version so students can access the content rich sites from anywhere.

Park View Middle School LibGuides

Park View Middle School LibGuides

One of the five laws of Library Science includes the law, “the library is a growing organism.” LibGuides has allowed my library program to grow extensively because students are using the website as gateway to learning from school, from the public library, from home and from the bus stop. As a staff member working with different teams, many content areas and two grade levels on a daily basis, I am able to use the site as a parking lot for all materials. I’ve also found that certain pages I’ve created for one teacher are being used by others. A student recently told me they were looking for information for a common task on Sparta. She commented that she used the LibGuide and found I had linked to information from so she incorporated that into her research paper. No one had directed her there- she just remembered using the LibGuide for other assignments.

Using LibGuides for projects is just one of the ways I reach students outside of the library and school day- students can use our library catalog, place holds and see what other Park View students are reading through the main page. Our Twitter feed and Awesome Box stream on the homepage and students like to scroll through to find out what the hot new titles are or what students are working on in the library. A long time ago, someone said to me that libraries succeed when you “give ‘em what they want.” I believe that holds true today. Students want easy accessibility and guidance on where to turn for the best resources and LibGuides helps me provide just that.

Honorable Mentions

Online discussions of LibGuides are coming at a fast-and-furious pace these days; here are a few of our favorite blog posts and reviews from the last few weeks:

Loving LibGuides – The Unquiet Librairian
A week or so ago, my library’s subscription to LibGuides went live!  I have designed three research pathfinders so far, and I am totally in love with the clean design I can produce with ease…

Instructional Technologies, Teaching & Learning in Medicine, Web 2.0: Oncology, LibGuides and Delicious – EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC
Librarians at Lyman Maynard Stowe Library purchased a subscription to a course management system called LibGuides in August 2008.  It has proven to be a good investment…

LibGuides as Pathfinders – Archipelago
At ALA in Anaheim this summer, I discovered LibGuides, and my teaching has changed dramatically because of it…

Teaching Library Stuff – The Logical Operator
…I wonder if the idea that this guide was created for them, and them specifically, pulled them in little more deeply. Not to mention having an online tool that helps them penetrate the navigation scheme of the library home page and get right to the important stuff…

Honorable Mentions III

We have not highlighted a LibGuides related blog post in some time, but when we saw the post on the Gonzobrarian blog today, we couldn’t resist!

One of the fruitions of my library’s attendance at a recent conference was to become more fully introduced to the increasingly popular service called LibGuides. After attending a session on it, the first thing my director mentioned was something to the effect of “I don’t care it’s coming out of the budget, but we’re getting this.”  We’ve got it, and it’s living up to the hype.

Now that’s an awesome start to a very positive review of LibGuides!!  Be sure to check out the rest of the post here:

Honorable Mentions: Anaheim Edition

Library Lady Dee posted about adapting LibGuides to document internal library procedures and policies.  While the “hit by a bus” analogy is a bit of a downer, the idea of reaching out from beyond the grave to instruct on ILL intricacies makes up for it.  Thank you Dee, and please be careful crossing the street!

Cindi has created a great LibGuides intro video for the BIGWIG Social Software Showcase 2008 and will also be hosting a LibGuides chat tomorrow afternoon (June 28th).  Be sure to check out for more information.  Thanks Cindi!

Finally, an important post found on the University of Iowa library news page; “We have recently added a guide with information on flood recovery – and with special attention to public health issues. This guide is available at  All of these resources are available to the public.”

LibGuides and Course-Specific Research

We recently came across a post from Sara at the world famous Tactless Librarian blog, that presents an interesting use for LibGuides.  Sara has been creating research guides for course-specific instruction sessions held at the library.  These “class shortcut pages” contain all the information presented during the instruction session, including reference tools, polls, and of course links to those expensive subscription databases:

“One database, Literary Reference Center, got 80 hits that month from my LibGuide alone.  If I had done my typical session the students would have forgotten the database and gone to Academic Search Premier because it was the first on our  list of databases.”

To help promote these instruction sessions Sara has been providing faculty with links to specific shortcut pages, which are then embedded into the campus courseware system.  In addition to reinforcing the lessons learned during the instruction session, this also creates an excellent integration point for the library’s online reference program:

“The guide solved a variety of problems.  First, it allowed us to link to a Meebo chat … with the librarian who made the guide if they put a Meebo box in.  Any guide made with our reference account gets the Ask A Librarian box because it’s on that profile.”

It is great to see librarians finding new ways to use LibGuides, and Sara’s approach to course-specific research guides is definitely one worth mentioning.  You can read her original post, as well as leave your own comments and questions, at

Front Page Material!

We are happy to report that LibGuides made the front page of The Butler Collegian last week. The article outlines all the right reasons for the success of LibGuides at Butler, and echoes what we’ve heard from our member libraries world-wide.

All of us at Springshare are very proud that LibGuides is bringing libraries and patrons closer together and changing the ways libraries deliver information to patrons. As one Butler student puts it, “(LibGuides) helps save a lot of time and makes researching more effective.”

You can read the entire article on our website:

Research Guides 2.0

Librarian “Mick” is an avid LibGuides user of North Eastern Illinois University’s LibGuides. He has put together several great LibGuides-related posts on his blog. One post reveals his (excellent and very timely) thoughts about what Pathfinders 2.0 should look like – check it out at “LibGuides and my Philosophy of Pathfinders 2.0

In addition, Mick has also created several “How to design a LibGuide” posts. Check out Part 1 (Rich Text Box), Part 2 (Web Links), Part 3 (RSS Feeds/Podcasts), Part 4 (Videos and, Part 5 (Utility Boxes), and Part 6 (Profile boxes).

 Great stuff Mick, keep it up!

Honorable Mentions II

I will keep this one short and sweet…thanks to Wayne @ ‘Princeton Academic Librarian’ and Bob @ ‘Striking Thoughts’ for their recent reviews of LibGuides.  Links and excerpts below…

Academic Librarian

“For those who don’t know, Libguides is a site that lets you create locally branded subject and library research guides that are very easy to make and take advantage of lots of social softwarey stuff. Here’s what our trial version looks like. Here’s what the developed and implemented site at Boston Collegelooks like. Libguides has all sorts of features I haven’t used yet, such as chat and rss and alerts, but the main part of it works like a wiki. It’s easy to add content and make it come out looking good…”

Striking Thoughts

“Our library just subscribed to LibGuides and I have to say that I am very pleased. We are still figuring it out and only a handful of us have even started to create a guide. Still, I have to say that my initial opinion of the product is positive. Aside from the 2.0 aspect of social networking, I think its strongest feature would be ease of use. It took me about 1.5 hours to create a guide and the guide looks very slick and professional. In short: You end up with an end-product that makes your library look like it’s on the cutting edge of technology…”

Excellent LibGuides Review

Special thanks to Scott Pfitzinger over at BiblioTech Web for one of the most glowing LibGuides reviews we have received to date.  Here is an excerpt from his post…

Last week I found out about one of the coolest library technologies that’s come down the pike. It’s a Web 2.0 application designed for Library 2.0. It’s called LibGuides and it’s worth getting excited about.  It’s a system for providing information and resources to library patrons in an engaging and organized way, but without the information providers (mainly librarians) needing to learn code or some complicated system. (I’ll refer to the people creating content in LibGuides as librarians from here on in, although they can certainly be non-librarians.) Statistics are even kept automatically, so you can see how many times each link or file was actually clicked on. They count click-throughs, not page views, so your statistics are more accurate…

Please visit BiblioTech Web at for the complete post, and be sure to leave Scott a comment letting him know your thoughts on LibGuides!

Honorable Mentions

There has been quite a bit of blog activity regarding Springshare and LibGuides lately.  Special thanks to the following blogging librarians (blogarians?) for their recent reviews and comments regarding our community!

MichaelRoy @ The Kenyon LIS Blog
Elisabeth @ Elisabeth Leonard on Libraries
Ken @ tracking changes/changing tracks