No more razzamatazz – Libguides go light

After an initial leap into Libguides a couple of years ago (inspired by Joyce Valenza’s passion and inspirational examples) when we crammed our guides as tightly as we could with fantastic content, images and videos, I’ve decided to go the other way and start stripping my pages down in favour of user-friendliness. Of course, in the teacher librarian world, we delight in our bounty of wonderful websites, infographics, and the such, and we want the world to see and marvel. But we must eventually admit that the world is not always marvelling because they are running away in fear – isn’t it overkill? and doesn’t it stop people from doing what we really want them to do – FIND stuff?

My friend and (now distance-) colleague, Dawn, helped me see the light but not without some time passing, during which I remained in denial, and stubbornly held on to my bursting boxes in our libguides, my pages which had to be scrolled and scrolled and scrolled. Oh, and how could I forget my tabs – crowded clusters of them, but wait! under these tabs I also had more pages.


At some point I have had to accept the unpleasant truth – that I’ve been carried away with sharing with the world my resplendent array of finds (every day – from Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Diigo, Feedly, and similar places). I’ve had to admit with a heavy heart that it’s been more about ME (look what I can do!) and less about my readers – students, teachers, others. Sigh.

So, it’s going to be a long, hard slog, but I will get there, and my online resources will be easy to find, logically organised, selected with restraint.

I promise.

See, the library webpage is much neater and more inviting.


Currently I’m working on English. Got rid of 5 tabs today; moved the pages into the body of the guide as hyperlinks.


What do you think?

11 thoughts on “No more razzamatazz – Libguides go light”

  1. I think the combination of all those textual links and the new opportunity to make things more cool and more visual led many of us to make things prettier but harder to use (not just librarians and teachers). We willingly adopted scrolling as the price of not being text-heavy. But that stuff got old, unless you want splashy to replace the content (as in entertainment websites), so usable is better if you’re really trying to communicate.

  2. Well said, Lisa. We were all for splashy – those infographics were enticing, and we focused on the visual aspect, perhaps, whereas students and teachers just want to find usable resources. Pinterest has provided the platform for visual collections now. Love it.

  3. This really resonated with me Tania! I believe we are so scared to lose all the wonderful treasures we find on line that we save them like maniacs, hoarding for the apocalypse! In order to try and please the two halves of myself (the hoarder and the organiser vs the teacher and sharer) I have tried several tools and have finally settled into using Diigo to collect my treasures and Livebinders to create spaces for curating resources specific to classes, teachers and other professionals. (I don’t have a Libguides subscription …. may need to consider that again ….) I often find myself rejoicing in a new, shiny bauble I’ve discovered but not sure that the shelf to put it on has even been built yet so I have to store it away until the right occasion to display it presents itself.

    1. Haha, that will be my new catchphrase for TL behaviour – hoarding for the apocalypse! Yes, I am a Diigo person, and have often sent teachers a link to my Diigo bookmarks at the point of need. For some reason I don’t do that for online resources – maybe I should. Livebinders are similar to Libguides, yes? Thanks for your comment, we are definitely on the same (web)page.

  4. There are definite similarities. Here’s a link to the Livebinders for Education and here’s a link to mine The two I’ve used most recently are the two last ones: Y8 Bushcraft Unit and Evaluating Websites which I use directly with classes. I’ve set others up for teacher resources and parent resources as well.

    1. Thanks for a look into livebinders. A bit different in layout, not sure how that impacts on user-friendliness. I love, love your pizza research. Could I add it to my research page in Libguides please?

      1. I think in the end it comes down to what you know will work best with your school community. I’m keen to take a closer look at Libguides but working through a number of other school-wide digital decisions that need to be made first.
        Yes, of course you can use my pizza research process! Thrilled to know you think it’s useful :). Would love to get any feedback on who you might use it with and how it goes if you do use it. I’m always looking for ways to improve or refine any of my lessons.

  5. Yes! LOL. There was an ad campaign around Yellow Pages and “Let your fingers to the walking” in NZ as well!! Don’t remember our ads being so hip though! LOL

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