A lot of my time recently has been setting up Junior Librarian.net in school.
Junior Librarian is a complete library system for schools. It allows pupils (and teachers) to borrow and return school books. It allows users to reserve and review books. Our version uses a barcode reader to check books in and out.
It's not cheap, but it is a good bit of kit and, although we are just getting started, I feel that it is going to be very useful.
I foresee it being used in many ways:
- Library books won't just get 'lost' any more. We should know exactly who has them.
- We can further raise the profile of reading in our school by using it to recommend books to the children.
- We can use it to guide our purchasing of books - if a type of book becomes popular we could then decide whether to buy more (or less) similar books.
- We can discover the books that are most commonly read by boys or by girls.
- We could use it to raise standards of writing by introducing a book review system.
We purchased Junior Librarian.net as this is hosted online, meaning it can be accessed over the internet anywhere in school and out.
One of the problems I had with setting this up is that I wanted pupils to be able to use the barcode reader to borrow and return books whilst in school. But out of school I want the children to be able to access the system to reserve and review books, and of course this can't be done without a barcode reader. So I asked if it would be possible to generate usernames and passwords for the pupils. I felt like this would be a perfectly reasonably request, and I'm sure I', not the only person who was ever asked for this facility. In the end it took absolutely ages to set this up. I had to download a file from SIMs, manipulate it in Excel and Access and then upload it. For somebody quite unfamiliar with this process this proved to be very difficult. I was virtually making phone calls every day trying to figure out why the file I had created just wasn't working. Luckily the helpdesk staff were really helpful and I finally got this sorted. But Microlib - you've got to invent an easier way to do this!
Year Six pupils loved scanning and labelling all of the books. It was really simple to do and they were really proud of their work.
The next part of the process (after half-term) is to introduce the usernames and passwords so that pupils can make full use of the site. I also want to train the staff to use the facilities of the site so that they can find out the most commonly read books in their class.
Long term, there is an option to upgrade to allow Learning Platform integration. This sounds really interesting - we'll see how we get on with the basic version first though.
Does anyone else have experience of Junior Librarian.net?