Friday, November 18, 2016

Mid November

Guess what question students most frequently text the library? If you guessed, "What is the user name and password to the database page?" you are correct. Another frequently texted question is, "How do I access eBooks?" Well, we are very proud to announce that we finally found a way to simplify accessing library resources. We are still fine-tuning our new systems by working closely with the folks who provide these services, so it is very important that students and teachers notify the library when they run into bugs (and there are bugs!). We can be emailed at and texted at (615) 669-6670.

This week, we added a search box to the library home page at Any search entered into the search box will cross search most of our databases. While this has been in place for a couple of years, the search box itself was only accessible through the password protected Database Page. Now, it is public. Before searching, we recommend that students log in to their account. This will automatically sign them on through to all the databases, eBooks, and magazines in the NCHS library collection.

We added individual links to all our databases in the right column of the search results in case students prefer searching that way. Each link in the list includes hover text with a description of the database. A digital carousel featuring our magazine collection appears above the search results. Students only need to click on the image of the magazine they want to read and flip through the content.

We made changes to the Destiny (the library's online catalog) sign in process as well. Students no longer need type in their authentication. So long as they are signed in to Google with their account, they only need to click on the large button to sign in with Google. Students using the Destiny Quest app for their handheld mobile device will need to sign out, and re-authenticate using the updated URL (leave out the http://)

Our digital magazine collection is featured among the search results as well. The list includes:

The AtlanticEsquire New Yorker
Automobile Design Food Popular Photography
Bloomberg Businessweek Forbes Rolling Stone
Car& Driver Horse & Rider Vanity Fair
ESPN Motortrend The Week

Friday, November 4, 2016

Early November in the Library and Beyond

We visited the Shark Tank at Saxe Middle School to serve as critical friends when the students presented their STEM projects. This year the seventh grade workshop has been redesigned to challenge students to create authentic solutions to problems they experience. The students define and research the problem, establish a vision for their solution, build a prototype, and pitch the final product. We are so grateful that they trusted our insight and our pedagogy so much that they welcomed us as panelists for these pitch sessions! For us it was a chance to see the learning that our future students are already doing and build connections with our middle school colleagues.

On Monday, November 7th, our online catalog, Destiny, will have an additional sign in option: Google! As students do in EasyBib, they will be able to click on the Google button without having to type to log in. Given that the most texted questions to the library involve passwords, we expect that students will be very pleased about this upgrade. We like being at the forefront of innovation. We like bringing new and exciting opportunities and services to our students. We like that providers trust our insight as active power users of their products. Sometimes that means we spend a lot of time on the phone with tech support getting everything to work as it should. When it does, it is excellent!

The game design class is gearing up to create their own video games. Ultimately, there final exam will be the creation of a game that either updates and improves a game from the early days of gaming or helps players experience and understand a current global problem. This is where we come in! We can work with the students to do the necessary research to understand these problems and reflect them accurately in their game. Furthermore, we are working to get a beta testing UX station running in the library so the game design students can get authentic feedback on their games and continuously improve them before their exam is due.

Some of the ninth and tenth grade biology students have been busy in the updated ColLaB (the former Lab B) doing research on infectious diseases, antibiotic resistance, and responses to spillover viruses to prevent global pandemics. Mrs. Cebulski and Mrs. Chieda are drawing upon the research skills the students have been developing with us and their social studies research projects to develop creative authentic assessments for these students in their science classes. We are enjoying supporting this creative work and gratified by the interdisciplinary transfer of research skills!

We can't let Halloween go without sharing our costumes! Día de Muertos inspired by Frida Kahlo. Even scarier than our makeup is that we can just go to our closets and keep finding these matching outfits.

No update would be complete without our bi-weekly Tech Tips; this installment: more on being a Google power searcher!

Please follow us!