Because I’m analyzing LibraryThing within the context of K12 Education and focusing on the public of educators, I decided to complete a main interview with a local library media specialist and a short interview with a local middle school English teacher. Both of these interviews were in-person and occurred on March 28th, 2014 in Madison, WI.
The middle school library media specialist I interviewed was not familiar with LibraryThing though had heard of it once or twice. Therefore, I gave a brief overview of LibraryThing showing my personal collection of books and how to access materials. After this overview, we began discussing how this technology might be used within K12 Education.
I interviewed this librarian in order to get her insights as to what benefits she foresees with classroom teachers using LibraryThing to log their classroom collections alongside how the logistics for incorporating this technology into the everyday lives of students and teachers. She has been a special education teacher as well as a media specialist who has an immense knowledge on K12 education and the needs of students and teachers.
During our interview, we agreed it would be essential to train students on using LibraryThing and create a tagging system all educators would have a voice in and use when adding materials. An interesting point which was brought up how to manage this type of technology. An idea brought up was the ability to print out small sheets with the tagging system printed on them. Teachers could then circle or highlight what tags needed to be used for a particular book and stick this note to the book. After this step, students could add the book to the school’s LibraryThing collection. Also discussed were logistics surrounding teachers who “check out” their materials” and how to get an entire school on board including teachers, students, and their caregivers.
My short interview was with an 8th grade English teacher how is knowledgeable in K12 education and the needs of middle school students and educators.
She was not familiar with LibraryThing. However, after she was given a brief overview of the system she immediately commented on how useful this technology would be given the amount of time she spends finding books from other classroom teachers or the public library when the school library does not have enough copies of a particular text. She was also confident her students would be able to manage this type of system and it would give them greater ownership over the classroom collection, potentially even allowing students to be assigned “library” roles within the regular classroom.
I was thrilled to hear comments from her I was already thinking about the usefulness of LibraryThing within the context of K12 education. These interviews created an even greater investment into this project and I look forward to the next steps.