Let’s Talk Libraries: St Anthony’s High School – Jill Adler
- Easy cataloging
- Student engagement
- Reliable support
- Flexible system
Having a student be able to write their own reviews, do peer reviews and have put it up for them is amazing. We have our students helping us build our collection – and we just didn’t have that before.
Jill Adler has been overseeing St Anthony’s High School library and its students for the past 7 years, as Director of Library Services. After encountering Accessit Library at a local SLMA/NYLA Educational Conference, Jill initiated the switch to Accessit Library in 2019, making St. Anthony’s High School the second school in the US at the time to switch to Accessit Library.
I made the connection right away. I walked past the Accessit Library demo and was so excited about it from the get go.
We were pretty frustrated with our current system that was really meant for a larger district. It wasn’t set up the way we needed it to be and I was thinking about either dumping all the data and starting from scratch.
After stopping at Accessit’s exhibit table, I booked an appointment with Bonnie and we just hit it off! It was just perfect timing and the perfect tool for what we needed here at our school.
Since that Accessit Library demo, Jill, her library team and St Anthony’s High School made the switch to Accessit Library in 2019 and ‘haven’t looked back’ since, with Jill crediting the library management system for helping to make her and her library team’s daily tasks easier.
There used to be tasks, that would take us forever to do.
I can distinctly remember doing the training with Accessit Library in the beginning, and two of my other staff members looked at each other like, ‘that’s it?’. It was so simple.
Things that were taking us multiple steps to do are now easily done within a couple of steps.
- Cataloguing used to be a lengthy, multiple step process before. With Accessit Library, you essentially just have to take out a scanning gun, scan the ISBNs, and there you go! You make your list, click Import, and you’re done.
- We were also never able to connect certain PDF resources for the kids, and now with Accessit Library we can put them and other resources into our systems. It’s not just a matter of things becoming easier, it’s a matter of actually being able to do it in the first place.
- Some of the reporting capabilities are easier for us to figure out when we have duplicate records and just generally messy data. We know the functionality is there to create or fix our data very simply.
- Creating our own barcodes became easier and the ease of which we could import and process books is great too.
Having switched to Accessit Library in 2019, the Accessit Library Web App was a helpful tool to support staff and students during Covid lockdowns, demonstrating the uses of the library and enabling seamless access to resources and information.
COVID was interesting. We gained a lot of traction from the library, which was something that would have taken longer to do in school. Being able to support students from home and demonstrating what the library could do for them outside of our school was very helpful.
Since the Accessit Library Web App gives us the ability to manage our own dashboards, we were able to make sure we had information out there for our teachers and students to use very seamlessly. It is customizable, intuitive and easy to use. Tasks that used to take many steps to do are often able to be done in just a few clicks, which helps to keep the information fresh.
Students can all go to one place. Before, they had to go to different places, but now they can interact with all of our library content through Accessit Library right from one app. It’s very simple to go between one thing to the next to find what they’re looking for. We’re making it relevant and accessible for the students by utilizing the Accessit Library and its dashboards.
The more we can get them to interact with it, the more fluent they become and can access what we’d like them to access – so they’re finding the materials that we have for them, whether it’s eBooks, audio books, physical books, data resources, announcements and anything else that we make available.
Available Dashboards at St Anthony’s High School
GO LIVE (Main Landing Page) – This is the general overall website where we house all of our information that the students overall in our school would need. It spring boards to Resources, Community Service, Tutoring, SORA platform, Google Classroom Code information for Library, Twitter, Instagram, HS Comics and a carousel of new books that come in highlighted collection.
Foreign Language Page – The Chairman of Foreign Language wanted to have place for resources for all of her learners, so we made a resource page made for the Foreign Language Department to help support their students learning various languages. We have lower-level games, links etc. so that they can practice in fun ways.
Chorus Page – Used for Extra Credit for Chorus to house resources for projects that these students can access easily, Our Chorus director has an extra credit project broken down by grades, and he wanted the students to have access to resources. So, with the same similar concept, we created a news item with a link that went directly to the page for just those students. Like the Foreign Language page being broken down into languages, the Chorus page is broken down by the different levels of the course projects.
Teacher Resources Page – A page dedicated for teachers to access specific curated content designed with them in mind. Our Teacher Resource page is a landing page with the teachers’ own resources, which only they can log in to with their login. This is another great feature, as we don’t want the students to be able to get into it. This page also links to our,
Resource box – a resource page that has all of our databases and what students need for their homework and research.
Jill and her team have created a variety of Accessit Library Web Apps. These platforms engage students and allow them to find accessible resources, helping to improve information literacy overall.
We didn’t have anything like Accessit Library before. There was nothing for them to interact with and the students were not using the previous LMS system at all. So right off the bat, I can say I’ve had 100% engagement!
Students have more access than ever before to our resources. The fact that we have information readily available 24/7 in such a user-friendly platform can’t help but have a positive impact on information literacy. We are grateful that the Web App can display information that is important for the students to be able to access.
Our Accessit Library reports indicate that we are getting views on our Carousels, Fast Find Searches, Visual Searches and Reviews all as the top usage. We still need to educate students to sign in with their own Gmail accounts rather than just browse through as a guest. This will help us with more detail in understanding individual usage. Honestly, though – I really don’t care how they browse, as long as they browse!
Also, having a student be able to write their own reviews, do peer reviews and have put it up for them is amazing. We have our students helping us build our collection – and we just didn’t have that before.
Despite initial concerns about the difference in time zones, Accessit Library was able to support and communicate with Jill no matter the time, with a representative assigned from either side of the world to answer any of her queries.
From the get go – Their support team has been amazing and helpful! It’s amazing, we can reach out to them with anything and every time they’re so wonderful and welcoming.
Where we are in New York, we fell between two time zones. So, Accessit put us with a customer service representative from both sides of the world, so we’d basically never be without someone – and that worked out super for us.
Now, of course, Accessit Library has United States presence, so sometimes we talk internationally and sometimes we talk to the Accessit Library team in the US. I can’t recall a time that we didn’t have almost an immediate reply to something that we’ve sent regardless of when we sent it.
I think that Accessit Library is very responsive, if a suggestion is made, I feel very confident that you will be heard. That to me, is huge, because that shows that they’re willing to grow with us.
Early on, I made a lot of suggestions based on what the US schools would probably be looking for, or a functionality that we particularly needed, and every single one of them was either commented on or investigated to see how they could do it.
They saw the relevance and importance of these ideas to US schools, so they wanted to figure it out.
Two years on from Jill and St Anthony’s High School’s bold move to become only the second US school using Accessit Library, Jill recognizes that Accessit Library has continued to grow in the United States, identifying features she helped to implement, that other US schools can now benefit from.
From a customer service perspective, I know Accessit Library’s resources like the portal and ALeC, where I can go to and work through all of the courses. Accessit Library is updating faster than I can learn it. So, in some cases, not all the resources are there – but it’s a great foundation.
Also, I was one of the very early people to do E-resources (eg. eBooks and audio books) using the Sora platform. We worked really hard with Accessit to get them to understand what it needed to look like from our side, and now our Sora application is integrated in with Accessit Library. We use authentication using the student’s Gmail accounts which is a game changer, because it is so much more efficient than two separate manual sign-ins.
The ability to integrate Sora was actually perfect timing, because when COVID hit, all the schools started jumping on the bandwagon of using Sora, because you needed to have resources for the kids. So, that’s a huge, huge improvement and I know others will now benefit from that as well.
Having been the second school in the US to switch to Accessit Library, Jill has often advocated for the library management system to other schools reaching out to find out more. When asked what sort of comments she would make, Jill said:
I definitely think that if you are looking for a flexible system to be able to create your own library space and engage your students timely, then Accessit Library is the perfect thing for you to investigate. The support is there for you. The flexibility and the ability to do what you can dream of is right in front of you with all the tools.
Accessit already offers what people would need every day for their libraries to function well. It’s just a wonderful system and I’m glad that we were able to partner with them. I am very happy that I made the leap and have not looked back.