School Librarians accumulate dozens of great websites as we read education and library listservs, bloggers, Facebook group comments, and Twitter feeds. The hard part is trying to keep these sites organized in a logical manner.
I’ve tried numerous curation tools, but for personal use I find a simple browser folder—Library & Librarian—with topical subfolders is faster than an external site for storing and using my most useful sites. Alas, always in a hurry, I often just save a URL to the main folder, so I have a lo-o-ong list of uncategorized sites to organize into topical subfolders.
While I do that, I’m sharing out these valuable resources on professional development & advocacy, library lessons & activities, reading promotion, and technology, accompanied by short annotations on why they’re helpful. So here they are: 41 Useful Websites for School Librarians.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, ADVOCACY
AASL eCOLLAB – 51 Free Webinars from the American Association of School Librarians on professional learning topics.
Library Impact Studies Infographic – a compact advocacy tool from Library Research Service. Available for print & online viewing.
Library and Information Science Encyclopedia – If you encounter library terminology in your readings, but may not be quite sure what it is, consult this brief list for an explanation! From internationally-known blogger librarian Salman Haider.
Mackin Community – Book vendor Mackin’s blog with resources for libraries & classrooms, makerspaces, and professional learning. Add this site to your feed!
Project Connect – Sponsored by Follett, this site offers guidance for the Future Ready Librarians framework, including PD and teaching ideas.
School Librarians: Why we still need them! – article by Jamie McKenzie with some strong support to use for advocacy.
School Libraries Work – While you can still download the 2008 version directly, the newer 2016 version wants you to submit your email address and other info. Still, a valuable document to use for advocacy and justifying (alas, we need to) having a certified School Librarian in a school library.
Top School Library Blogs – A list maintained by Laura McPherson with 50 librarian bloggers you can add to your blog feed!
Virtual Middle School Library – With dozens of links to useful resources for school librarians, this site, maintained by Linda Bertland, retired school librarian, has an especially valuable resource page for professional learning.
Web Junction – A free learning site from OCLC Research offers self-paced courses, webinar recordings on a variety of topics related to library services and management.
What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) – a U.S. Dept of Education website with research on programs, products, practices, and policies that answers the question “What works in education?”
LIBRARY LESSONS & ACTIVITIES
AASL Best Websites for Teaching & Learning – Every year our national association picks, what they consider to be, websites of ” innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. … free web-based sites that are user friendly.” What’s especially nice is the little icons that show which of our Shared Foundations each one addresses.
Bingo Cards & Word Searches are quick ways to engage students for reviewing content. Here are 3 sites that generate customized bingo cards on a 3×3, 4×4, or 5×5 grid: BingoBaker & ESLactivities both generate cards with words or graphics; MyFreeBingoCards has thematic backgrounds for words or numbers. WordSearchLab has already created searches, or create your own of any size and number of words.
5 Minute Lesson Plan Series – 37 different downloadable graphic templates to quickly create a lesson plan. Whatever your admin wants, you’ll probably find it here.
HyperDocs Interactive Content & Multimedia – As stated on the site: “The most difficult and time consuming part of creating a HyperDoc … is finding the content to engage your students in the learning process. I’ve curated several lists that I hope will help get your started.” There are a dozen categories with a varying number of websites with resources and tools.
Interactive Learning Menus (Choice Boards) – Ideas for differentiated learning that give students a menu or choice of learning activities; can be part of a HyperDoc. From Shake Up Learning.
Makerspace Starter Kit – The Daring Librarian, Gwyneth Jones, provides a list of great tools for starting a makerspace in your library.
Primary Source Sets – the Digital Public Library of America has more than 35 million digital resources including these curated collections on topics in history, literature, and culture, with teaching guides for class use.
Skype in the Classroom – Microsoft’s FREE go-to source for Virtual Field Trips, Guest Speakers, classroom connections, and live collaboration projects. I first heard about this from Stony Evans, and think it’s one of the most engaging activities you can do with students.
Smithsonian Learning Lab– free, interactive, easy-to-use tools using the millions of Smithsonian resources to adapt one of thousands of existing collections, or to create your own lessons, like digital research skills with built-in tools for creating & using proper citations.
Spruce Up Learning Centers w/ Tech – Tony Vincent’s blog post with lots of specific information and examples to make any learning station in your library that much better with technology.
Biblionasium – sort of a GoodReads for kids; free, protected site for ages 6-13 to encourage independent reading. Tools can create book reviews, reading logs, and personalized reading lists.
Classroom Libraries: Best apps for keeping track – We Are Teachers blog post offers 6 apps teachers can use to keep track of their class books. Hey, they’re gonna have ’em, so we might as well support them…and they’ll love us for it and support the library even more!
Librarians Love – nifty book talks and display ideas from secondary school librarians.
Library of Congress Center for the Book – a rich resource for librarians with recommended books, author webcasts, book awards, and the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled.
The Online Books Page – Plain website listing over 3 million free books on the Web, along with archives & indexes in languages around the world. This large database is maintained by a digital librarian at UPenn.
Social Justice Books – Booklists and other resources to help librarians build a diverse collection of titles and encourage a more culturally responsive reading experience for students.
State Award Reading Lists – This Simon & Schuster site has current Award Reading Lists from every state, along with curriculum, teaching, & reading group guides, themed collections, & reading levels. If you need labels for your State Award Reading List, they’re available as a customization in my Reading Promotion for ELA product at No Sweat Library, my TPT store.
SYNC – If you’ve never heard of this site, you are in for a treat. SYNC offers FREE audiobooks for teens every summer—2 complete audiobooks a week for 14 weeks. I always told students about it at their last library visit of the school year and provided the link and a QR code to the site.
AASL Best Apps for Teaching & Learning – As with the websites, AASL picks, what they consider to be, apps of “exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning.” They also have little icons to show which of our Shared Foundations each addresses.
BEAM Chart Maker – Yes, we teach students how to make spreadsheet data graphs, like MS Excel, but this online app is quick & easy. Just choose the style, click the graph element, and fill in the information. Graphics like this can add so much to those end-of-grading-period library reports for principals & teachers. (If you don’t do that, this is a great way to get started!)
GooseChase Edu – Free and reasonably priced options to create educational scavenger hunts with mobile technology (IOS or Android app). Students (or teachers!) earn points by submitting a photo, video, or text.
Kathy Schrock’s Guide to Everything – If you need information or guidance on educational technology, this is the place to go! Kathy has been blogging about edtech for more than 20 years and is still the best one-stop spot for general edtech info.
Media Literacy Educator Certification – Developed by PBS/KQED & Digital Promise, you can earn 8 media literacy micro-credentials to become a PBS Certified Media Literacy Educator.
Minecraft Education Edition – If you want to use Minecraft in your library, this site is the gateway to the education edition of the popular game. Special features for educators such as easy tutorials, classroom management tools, secure sign-in, classroom collaboration and tons of sample lessons, plus a global network of mentors and tech support.
100 Useful Websites for Educators and Students – With YA Books & More, Naomi Bates blogs about books, websites, and anything else a librarian might need. This page is a list of what she considers the most valuable website collection a librarian can have. It’s about 3 years old, but most of the links are still valid…and on my own “best” list!
Top 20 PowerPoint Alternatives – Post from the Visme blog offers an open-minded examination of free & paid apps to use for presentations. Video demos are helpful. (Heavy content, allow time to load in browser.)
You may be wondering about sites for information literacy or subject areas. Those are also huge unorganized lists, so we’ll save them for future blog posts. For now, have fun looking these over and adding them to your browser bookmarks. If you have some bookmarked sites on these 4 topics you’d like to share, add them into the comments!