BiblioNasium is a reading community for students and their teachers. If you’ve ever used Goodreads or Shelfari, you know how great it is to keep track of books you’ve read, books you want to read, and keep up with what others are reading. BiblioNasium offers the same experience, only in a safe community just for you and your students. It’s pretty simple to use: you create an account for yourself, and then you can create a class, complete with accounts for each student.

Teachers can create lists of recommended and required books, and they can recommend books to a specific student. Students can, in turn, keep track of what they’re reading using a reading log, and recommend books to their friends. There is even a place where parents can log in and view what their kids are reading. The best part is that, while this is a social community, students can only communicate with their teacher, and (with parental permission) with other students in their class.

I love the idea of allowing students to review and recommend books to each other; my own Goodreads and Shelfari accounts have helped me find some great books that I might not have otherwise read. The site is in beta, however, which means it’s still in a testing phase. Sometimes, the pages hang and take a while to load. Some of the functionality is not intuitive, and it may take time to figure out how to do certain things. However, it’s a work in progress, and will only get better. Signing up is free, and they don’t spam you with emails, so make yourself (and your class!) an account and see what you think!


The New Applewild Library Website!

If you haven’t already checked out the new library website, please take a moment to look around. After months of frustration with our old site (dead links, outdated lists of databases, inability to add new content), I finally decided to throw a new site together using Weebly.

Weebly is a free website tool that our students use for History Day, and it could not be any easier. You can literally drag and drop elements (headlines, paragraphs, pictures, forms, documents, you name it!) into a clean design template. What began as a slap-dash temporary website quickly became an elegant, user-friendly home for Applewild Libraries online.

Some features I’m particularly proud of:

– Newly categorized database lists, complete with descriptions. Most of the links are static, meaning that even if you’re off campus, you can access these databases without logging in!
Book lists! Now the library website has a little bit of readers’ advisory built in, with cool-looking bookshelves thanks to the amazing Shelfari widget.

– An “Ask Ms. Herring” form that sends questions directly to my inbox
– A book recommendation form
– An entire section on Noodletools, how to get registered, and how to find tutorials online to learn how to use this great citation generator
– Tons and tons of online project guides for major class projects. If you have a class project coming up, and would like your project guide available on the library website, let me know. I’m also happy to help you find more resources.

So take a look around, and send me some feedback. I’d love to hear any suggestions to make it better!