Virtual bookshelves are an easy way to personalize literacy engagement for any group - students, clubs, teachers, and parents! These little libraries help students find titles in the same way that the front tables in your Library Media Center showcase new and noteworthy print titles. The difference is that virtual bookshelves support literacy equity because everyone with a license can access these stories, whether they're at home or in school. You won't have waitlists for popular titles, and teachers and specialists can create personalized shelves for individual students. Best of all, they're simple to create!
Before We Start
One important note is that anyone accessing your little library needs to be logged into Tales2go via the browser on their device to listen to the stories. This method will not open titles in the Tales2go apps.
Step 1: Pick a Theme
Like parties, virtual bookshelves are easiest to plan when you have a well-defined theme. The goal is to create a curated list of titles that helps your audience (try making one for co-workers, or parents!) find something to spark their interest more easily. You want to provide a good overview of the genre without overwhelming. Decision fatigue is a real struggle, and a well-curated shelf of any kind helps minimize that challenge.
Step 2: Choose Titles
Set up a spreadsheet to keep track of title possibilities. Here's a link to the spreadsheet I use. The most important column holds the URLs of the stories.
Log in to the Tales2go browser-based player. For each title you want on your shelf, copy and paste the browser URL into your sheet. At minimum, I also copy the title and author, so I know which URLs link to which stories. Remember to include the cover art (or a link to it) if you are using images. This will make it quicker and easier when you put the whole shelf together. All your titles will be in one place, with all the information you need to populate the shelf. Plus, you can sort them and do one last curation to make sure you've included a good assortment before putting the whole shelf together.
Step 3: Select a "Shelf"
The actual "shelf" for your little library can be any platform or media that can take a URL. Here are a few ideas. Click through to see examples. Feel free to share your methods - we certainly haven't thought of them all!
- Google Slides / Bitmoji Classroom - use an image like this one of empty shelves as a background, paste in cover art, and add URLs
- Online newsletter - this is a little library we created to share with a high school class on a free newsletter resource Smore.com
- Your library website or intranet page - here's a shelf we formatted for this blog
Step 4: Send!
Now that your shelf is full of stories, all that's left is to tell people about it. From Google Slides, you can share the link by clicking the yellow 'Share' button in the top right corner. Smore makes it easy to enter recipient email addresses and send a single email to a group. If you created a page on your own website, you can email the link or add a link to the school's homepage. Remember that anyone viewing your virtual shelf needs to be logged in to Tales2go on the browser of their device. If you're sending an email, it might be a good idea to let them know.