Intro image with Lovett School's library on the right side

Let’s Talk Libraries: The Lovett School - Robyn Martin

The Lovett School switched to Accessit Library in May 2020. Robyn Martin, Lovett’s Director of Library Services & Upper School Librarian, spoke with Accessit about their experience since, highlighting how Accessit Library supports her team of six librarians and how Accessit Library supported their students’ virtual learning and the Lovett School community during the COVID lockdowns.

Colourful chairs to sit in the library

Dorothy Floyd Library
Type  Composite School
Roll 1,670
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“For our Lower School students, it is one-stop shopping. The librarians only have to teach them one place to search for any of the resources they need. The students are able to use the Web App by themselves and are confident in their abilities to find those resources.”

Robyn Martin

Director of Library Services & Upper School Librarian , Lovett School, US

Lion on the wall in the library and colourful library placeVasser Woolley Library

Lovett School switched to Accessit Library in May 2020. Robyn Martin, Lovett’s Director of Library Services & Upper School Librarian, spoke with Accessit about their experience since, highlighting how Accessit Library supports her team of six librarians and how Accessit Library supported their students’ virtual learning and the Lovett School community during the COVID lockdowns.

We understand you have quite the team of Librarians at Lovett School! Tell us more about who is in it and what each of your roles are.

We have a great team of six people.

Reading space
Vasser Woolley Library

In the Vasser Woolley Library (6-12) we have:

• Robyn Martin, Director of Library Services/Upper School Librarian – 18th year at Lovett, responsible for the K-12 library program as well as serving as the librarian for students in grades 9-12
• Jennifer Northrup, Middle School Librarian – 4th year at Lovett, first in the position as librarian to grades 6-8. Previously served as librarian in the Dorothy Floyd Library, primarily with grades 3-5
• Azeb Tadesse, Library Assistant – 35th year at Lovett, responsible for cataloging, circulation, processing library materials.

Library from outside
Dorothy Floyd Library

 In the Dorothy Floyd Library (K-5) we have:

• Perry Yates, Lower School Librarian – 4th year at Lovett, primarily responsible for grades K-2
• Kaitlin Taylor, Lower School Librarian – 1st year at Lovett, primarily responsible for grades 3-5
• Susan Amabile, Library Assistant – 5th year at Lovett (4 years previously, returning this year in the same position), responsible for cataloging, circulation, processing library materials

Both libraries are on the same campus and Accessit Library is helpful as there are some books we have in both libraries and Accessit Library makes it really easy to see where the available copies are to issue.

Tell me about your switch to Accessit Library.

We migrated to AccessIt Library in May, 2020. We had heard about Accessit from a neighboring school (where my husband works). They had a demo and he was impressed enough to talk about it. It sounded like something we needed to look into as we were not totally satisfied with our current system. So, we set up a demo for Lovett and liked what we saw. Some of the influencing factors were the PAC features – ease of use for our students, the overall look of it; being able to edit MARC records easily; hosting was available; cost.

Everyone except Kaitlin has experience with other systems at Lovett (she has used other systems elsewhere). And when Azeb started, the school was still using a physical card catalogue, so she was here for the original automation of the library. But Accessit Library is really intuitive so a lot of it we could figure out for ourselves. And on the plus side, we were all home when we switched to Accessit, so we were able to do training and learn the system virtually.

How does Accessit Library make your life easier?

For the library staff, AccessIt Library offers many features that make our lives easier. All of the management applications are on the home screen and it is easy to go back to the screen. In Cataloging, we can do global changes with just a couple of clicks. We can edit MARC records easily and we do Z39.50 searching to help with that task. In the Web App, it is easy to create lists of books for upcoming projects, send them to the teachers and verify that we are pulling the right materials for what they want their students to do. In holds, the ability to send emails to patrons waiting for books with a click also makes our lives easier!

What feature of Accessit Library have you found the most valuable, and why?

So many, depending on which of us you ask! For several of my staff, the ease of working with cataloging records makes the top of the list. From Z39.50 searching, to MARC editing, to global changes – five stars! The Web App presents an appealing page to post information for our community. It’s easy to select which labels to print – no wasted sheets. The ability to control what fields are visible in the PAC – so easy to change when we need to update. Automatic updates – we don’t have to schedule a time for the system to be down in order for you to send us the latest version. And a big one – your target audience is school libraries. You aren’t trying to be all things to all people. You (Accessit and the people who work there) understand what schools need and work hard to provide it.

How do your students use your library?

In the Dorothy Floyd Library, students come in before school starts to browse, check out books and chat with the librarians. During the school day, each class comes once during our 6-day schedule rotation, except for the kindergarten classes, which come twice. In the Vasser Woolley Library, Middle School students come before and after school, with their classes, and sometimes during class to check out books. All of our Middle School students have a book to read during the day, which they can turn to when they’ve finished their classwork or during designated reading times. If they need a new book, they are able to come to the library to find one.

Two boys browsing library catalogue on their computersDorothy Floyd Library

Upper School students are in the library all day long. It is one of the spots on campus they can go when they have a study period. They come with classes, at lunch and before and after school to do homework. We are also a spot for meeting friends and socializing. It can get noisy in here, but that’s okay with us!

How do your students engage with the Accessit Library Web App?

The Web App is used primarily for searching the catalog, which is accessible from anywhere and we do find they are using it, particularly in grades K-8. Our students have become expert at putting books on hold and sometimes they place too many!

The Web App functions beautifully, and our Lower School has made it their main website. Jennifer added the database links to the page, so our students were able to easily find what they needed whether they were at school or at home. We can also post any information our community might need or find helpful on the Web App.

For our Lower School students, it is one-stop shopping. The librarians only have to teach them one place to search for any of the resources they need. The students are able to use the Web App by themselves and are confident in their abilities to find those resources. Our Middle and Upper School students are using the Web App to look up books they want, put items on hold, and renew their books. It’s also very visual, which helps with our younger students – they can see the covers and then identify the books on the shelf.

Boy looking at resource record on his computerDorothy Floyd Library

They are more independent, using the catalog themselves without asking a librarian to help them. We think that is a good thing! Kaitlin says it is helping her students learn efficient keyword searching, Boolean operators and strategies for assessing resources.

What feature of Accessit Library have your students enjoyed using the most?

Browsing the catalog. They also love the carousels of books to see what is new, what we recommend, and placing holds. The spelling suggestions have been great from our point of view! There’s a lot less of “we can’t find anything” when they see the correct spelling of their search terms!

Lovett School Library computers
Dorothy Floyd Library

How has your school year been this year regarding COVID?

We have been very fortunate here at Lovett. We have been in-person all year. We opened last fall (2020) with a hybrid style for the first month or so. But by mid-October, we were in-person except for those who chose to be virtual.

Three boys browsing library catalogue on their computersDorothy Floyd Library

When working virtually, Accessit Library was great and quite useful for Lower and Middle schools. We trained the students how to use Accessit and they were able to put holds on books they wanted which their parents could then come to the school and pick up. Accessit made it easy to do this, especially with the visual display of books for the younger students. In January, nearly every student was back on campus. The libraries are open for business as usual and it is wonderful to see our students using the spaces again.

Kids reading in the library
Dorothy Floyd Library

How have you found the support offered by the Accessit Library Support team?

Support has been, for the most part, really great. The screenshots and videos in the Portal and on ALeC are very helpful. We do wish training was available in-person. Zoom style calls for something so involved are not ideal, so we mostly use tickets. I appreciate the ability to rank the question, issue or feature request when submitting them. Even given the time difference I do find the response time pretty quick and I really appreciate that. Christine from the New Zealand support desk was great and helped us solve some issues with our labels, and now we have multiple templates for printing spine labels so we can print the right ones at the right time.

How would you describe Accessit Library in one word?

Between us, we came up with these:
• Engaging
• Evolving
• Helpful
• Easy/Intuitive
• Economical (that’s our business office/IT input!)

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