Let’s Talk Libraries: Lloyd Street Primary School - Jen Nicolo
Since Lloyd Street Primary switched to Accessit Library in 2019 they have continued to support their students’ relationship with the library throughout over 250 days of COVID lockdowns. Librarian, Jen Nicolo, discusses how Accessit Library supported her with this as well as her students’ engagement with the library, continuous increases in books borrowed and how Accessit Library supports her and the specific needs of Lloyd Street Primary as an International Baccalaureate school.
“I cannot even begin to explain what a difference this system has made to our school. Accessit allows all the processing to occur so much more quickly. I can catalogue a bundle of books within seconds, move a book from one location or collection to another seamlessly or simply replicate a task without any work.”
Jen is employed by Lloyd Street Primary school as a Librarian Assistant with no formal qualifications, looking after all of the resources within the school. Jen was was part of the decision to switch to Accessit Library in 2019 and has been finding it to be well worth it ever since.
We decided to transition as our previous system was out-of-date and did not allow us the freedom and accessibility that Accessit Library did. The librarian at my kid’s high school recommended Accessit Library, and from there it was a matter of sorting out the funds to get it. We also heard about Accessit Library from another school and received some mail outs about it. I was involved in the decision as well as the actual transition. It felt like a bit of a risk as I didn’t know a lot about Accessit Library, but it was well worth it.
Jen found the transition to be seamless and used tools provided by Accessit Library to help her learn how to use more and more of the system.
The switch was seamless and occurred during our school holiday period. We had a few training sessions to get started and from there I was learning as I went. At the start, all I knew about Accessit Library was from the roadshow at a local school, which was essentially a general seminar on how it all worked. However, I was able to access any webinars as well as using the Customer Portal and Customer Service whenever I had an issue or wanted to extend my knowledge.
What was really great was the two training sessions with one of Accessit Library’s Customer Support team members. We would cover the basic things and the sessions were split over a period of time, so I could learn something, have some time to practice it and then come back to it later as well as learn more things. That then had me using the Customer Portal, as I would learn something from a training session, go away to do 100 other things, and then need a reminder of what it was that I had just learned. It’s also great because when I want to know something or remind myself of something I can go straight in and find it.
For me, I find the Accessit Library webinars the most beneficial. It doesn’t matter what the webinar is on, I will always sign up to it because there are so many things to do and know with Accessit that I know there will be something useful in the webinar. I have attended every one I have been offered, and even watching it at a later date after it’s been live is good because I am able to pause it, go and try something in the Management App and then come back.
Accessit Library has made and continues to make Jen’s life as a librarian easier by supporting Jen and the specific needs of Lloyd Street Primary as an International Baccalaureate school, such as improving the connection between resources, staff and students.
I cannot even begin to explain what a difference this system has made to our school. Firstly, from a cataloguing perspective, it allows all the processing to occur so much more quickly. I can catalogue a bundle of books within seconds, move a book from one location or collection to another seamlessly or simply replicate a task without any work. From a management perspective it just makes all the processing jobs so much faster. New books come in and are on the shelf quickly. Even though I am working on my own in the library, with Accessit Library I have been able to achieve so many more improvements and updates in a much shorter timeframe. Unfortunately, Accessit does not cover the books for me!
Secondly, it has improved the connection between resources, staff and students as books are easily tagged for the specific needs of the school. I like the ability and flexibility of being able to customise our Web App and the option to create different landing pages for staff and students. I am about to launch a teacher page so the staff land on a page related to their needs. Staff can quickly and easily search for the resources they’re after and can create lists of resources at school or from home. I have used Visual Search for the teachers, renaming it to “Teacher Resources”. Within it I have created the categories important to the teachers, like reading books, English books, magazines and other resources related to an IB school. I also have a QR code printed out and placed around the school so a teacher can scan it and access the Web App straight away.
Accessit Library supports our specific needs as an IB school, like the kids learning and connecting the IB principles with the resources which Accessit Library as a library management system allows them to do. For example, the kids may be learning about “sharing the planet” and Accessit can tag all of the books that relate to that very quickly and easily. So that also means when the teachers go on the Web App, they can go to IB specifics, like going to Visual Search and clicking on “sharing the planet” to provide them with all of the books related to that.
Another example is with kids learning to read. We have sets of books that are levelled, so we can easily tag all the books with the appropriate reading levels which makes it easier for the teachers to find them, making everything accessible.
Another example and something I did recently, was catalogue a website related to Remembrance Day as a resource so that teachers can go straight to the website and find further resources related to that topic. It now has me thinking, “Hang on, I can link not only resources but websites to create a safe space for students and useful place for staff to go for further resources.” Everything becomes available and accessible, being both visual and easy to find.
Jen and Lloyd Street Primary experienced around 250 days of lockdowns in Melbourne, Australia. But with Accessit Library’s Click & Collect service her kids were able to continue reserving and issuing books throughout this time.
Accessit Library’s Click & Collect service was very successful during lockdown, and more than useful. Kids and parents were able to reserve books from home and when the copy was available an email would go out to them automatically – I just had to alter the email to tell them where to find the books. I think Click & Collect also helped with the awareness of the Web App, too. I had launched the Web App at the same time, and then the parents started reserving books and were able to collect them from the foyer without having to actually come in to the school. For the kids that loved the library, it was fantastic. They couldn’t always access the public library so it was helpful for them.
Lloyd Street Primary’s kids are already well versed in using Accessit Library, running the library during lunchtimes and easily logging in to their own accounts to browse the library catalogue and reserves books.
They engage with the Web App more when they come in to the library. We have two tablets on the wall which they are comfortable logging in to on their own profile and using it to browse the school library catalogue and reserve books. They don’t even hesitate; they just go in and know how to use it. And of course, they have access to the Web App on their laptops, too.
Also, each class has a library session once a week where the students are free to browse and borrow books. The teacher allows a few kids to run the circulation desk and the students have been able to pick up how to use Accessit Library well. I go out to check and ensure they know how to use it, but they are very good. At lunch time some of the older kids run the library by doing all of the issuing, returning, shelving and stuff like that. They love it! And it’s great because I can get so busy and them doing that helps me out. I have a few kids in particular that are so professional at it. The system is great as it enables them to be able to use it well. Accessit Library has been invaluable to allow student agency.
We also run an annual competition for students for the ‘most active borrowers’ which has supported an increase in library circulation. For this competition we publish a list of our Top 50 borrowers, with the top 3 winning a prize. This list is printed on an A4 piece of paper and put up on the wall just outside the library for the year. I often hear them making comments about where each person is on the list. I have never seen so much interest in an A4 piece of paper! Then in the next year I have kids coming in to borrow books to try and be in the top borrowers. I also started adding in the most active borrowers at class level so it required more of a team effort. I think in a way all this has made the library a bit cooler.
Along with allowing student agency, Accessit Library’s visual presentation of books resonates with Lloyd Street Primary’s kids, resulting in significant yearly increases in books issued.
The students love searching the Web App. They also love to reserve books and check their borrowing history. But the visual presentation of the books within the Web App has been the most beneficial in terms of engagement for students and staff. The new items carousel is top and centre of the Web App and the news articles with images of the students are extremely popular.
For the kids in Grade 2 or under, they aren’t necessarily reading but are instead focusing on the visual side of things. With the way books are displayed in the Web App the kids are able to easily see them visually. Before Accessit Library, there wasn’t much interest in the non-fiction shelves, but now with Accessit the non-fiction books are catalogued in a way that the kids are able to see them. They started looking more at those books and reserving them. There is now much higher engagement because the visual display of the books in the Web App, the ability to reserve, and distribution of the Web App to the parents.
We got Accessit Library in 2019, so I did a comparison of books issued in 2019 vs 2020 and found a massive increase, despite spending about half of the time in lockdown. These are the numbers from running a Collection (Count & Value) report on the Accessit Library Management App:
|Year||Total books issued|
|2020||12,422 (despite 154 days in lockdown)|
|2021 (Oct)||17002 (despite 113 days in lockdown)|
Accessit Library as a Library Management System supports Jen and Lloyd Street Primary, but so does Accessit Library’s Support team.
They’re first class. The Customer Support team and the I.T team respond very quickly to any concerns or questions. They are very friendly and helpful. There are multiple ways of contacting them, but the ticketing option is quick and easy.
And to finish off our talk with Jen, one of the last questions we asked her was how she would describe Accessit Library in one word, to which she answered:
The name says it all – accessible.