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Reader's Advisory Google Drive Project


Resident young person in the department here. When I started working at my library last September our Youth Services department had just been handed Ipads for every employee. My boss informed me that I needed to join our department's group on GoodReads and that I would list the books I was reading on the group "shelves" so that we could use the reviews as a reader's advisory tool.

Ok. Great. BUT, we then discovered that the GoodReads app on the Ipad, (at least the group function), is terrible! Our plan to use this as a tool fell to the wayside, lost and forgotten.

 Sometime later I then suggested that we could use the Google Drive app and Google Docs to correct this disappointment. After all, making lists on Google Docs would be just like having our reading lists that we put out for summer reading, but they would be readily accessible and at our fingertips.

If this sounds interesting to you keep reading, I will try to break my process down. I am considering that this post will probably be read by a computer/Google literate crowd, but if it helps someone out there with process or ideas then I will feel satisfied.

1. First things first, I had to get all my co-workers a Gmail accout. This is as simple as going to and following the step by step instructions. (The trick is having everyone remember their google username and passwords) Once you have a Gmail account then you can use all of the tools Google has designed. Including Blogger which I am using now.

UPDATE: I received learned that you DO NOT have to have a Gmail account to use Google Drive. You DO have to have a Google account. This is through never know this information upfront and just discovering the tools after I had joined Gmail years ago. I made the classic mistake of assuming. AKA ignorance. You live and you learn I guess, (she writes evoking a worn out cliche).

2. Everyone has to download the Google Drive and at least the Google Docs apps. I also have Google slides (Powerpoint) and sheets (Excel).

3. While everyone is getting set up with the accounts and apps they need I am configuring our folders/documents hierarchy.

Our first folder is: Youth Services Reads

                               Inside that folder we have:  Children's Fiction
                                                                            Children's Non-Fiction
                                                                            Teen Fiction
                                                                            Teen Non-Fiction

Inside those folders we have Google Docs with different genres as their titles. Ex: dystopias, historical fiction, humor, romance, etc.

In those documents are short descriptions of the book, tags that describe the main themes and our age suggestions as well as if the book is part of a series.

These descriptions come right out of the book jacket, GoodReads, or Amazon. We are not putting our opinions into them as you would do with a book review.

4. Last step. Remember to "share" the folders/docs/etc. By sharing our first folder "Youth Services Reads" others have access to all the other folders and documents within. To share all you need to do is hit the (i) information button, hit the add people and enter the gmail account of the person or people you want to share the folders with.

So when a person is asked the desk for a book suggestion he or she can click through different genres and find suggestions that other people in the department have actually read. This tool has been most useful when someone is wanting a book in a genre that an employee might know little about. For me that would be teen romance. I have gotten good feedback so far from those who are actually using it. Our biggest challenge so far is reminding people to add their books. Another technical hiccup is once you are in a document you cannot go back to the drive without hitting the Ipad home button and opening up Google Drive from the beginning again. This isn't a major problem just an annoyance, but can be made easier by congregating the apps together on the home screen.

What tools do you use for reader's advisory? Any "in-house" creations?



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