Another post in the continuing series of how some of our most successful libraries promote Listen Up! Vermont to their users; this is a guest blog post by Dollinda Lund, Librarian at the Lyndon Institute and one of the schools with the highest circulation of titles.
I sent all the faculty information and instructions on how to access Listen Up Vermont, and they were encouraged to share this information with students. Some of them did and actually suggested their students make use of the audios for some of their required readings. That was rather hit or miss with students, though (depending on the teacher) so now as I am heading around to all English classes for GMBA booktalks, I also give them the students the information/instruction sheet for Listen Up Vermont and talk it up some.
The library has five mp3 players that we lend out (they are all out now!), and I have just ordered five more. Some students have their own and use those and do it all from home, but many students rely on using ours. Some students don't have internet access at home - or they are hesitant to try to download the books at home - so we help them do it here or, in some cases, do it for them. The mp3 players are signed out for two weeks.
Some of our English teachers are very excited about this program and are the ones encouraging their students to use it. Pride and Prejudice was a hot item last spring when one of the English teachers suggested students download it so they could listen to their assignements on the way home from track meets! Many of these teachers have bought into the Green Mountain Book Award program also, and they are pleased that their kids can access some of those titles.
I haven't done a formal training. Teachers are pretty protective of their time, and our in-services are already "overfull." Instead I sent out an intoduction and set of instructions to the faculty and then talked to those who seemed most interested. It was important to hit all the English teachers because all students have contact with them. I think I will try to do a voluntary after-school teacher training at some point in the near future for those who want to use the service but are afraid to try it - and we do still have teachers who are intimidated by technology.
I promote the service by talking to teachers, especially the English department, and talking to the students through their English classes. I also put a notice on our daily announcements last spring and let it run for a while, and I will do that again this fall.
I am so happy we got involved with this program. I have used it myself and have been very pleased with the choice of books I have accessed. I am excited about the program and hope it will grow.