Displays, Library Life, Virtual Learning

How to Create a Virtual Library Book Display

Though my school has been back to in-person since September, we are still embedding virtual opportunities wherever we can. For me in the library, this means no students are allowed to be in the library, all of my library visits are done virtually, and all books need to be requested through our new online reserve system. During my first round of virtual visits this past fall, when demonstrating to students how to place reserves, the number one question I got from them was this: “how do we know what books are in the library?” I hadn’t thought of the fact that with students not allowed in the library this year, they would not able to look around the library at all the books like they normally do. They wouldn’t be able to browse the shelves, see which books I had on display, nor would they be able to riffle through the returns cart and see what other students in the school were reading. This art of discovery is lost to them this year due to COVID, so even though I am doing all these other wonderful things to keep bringing the library to them, they were still missing out on that sense of browsing.

I knew that I had to do something about this and I also knew it would have to be done virtually, so this is what I came up with: a virtual library book display. I got the idea after creating my bitmoji library during the beginning of COVID shutdown in the spring. I loved how the bitmoji library was another way to connect with students virtually during a time of distance. I decided to start this school year by updating my original bitmoji library and I linked it to teachers’ D2L classrooms. After students raised the question about how they were going to know what books were in the library this year, this lead to taking the idea of the bitmoji library and moving beyond it and enhancing it to become something more.

The look of this virtual display may be familiar to those who follow TeacherGolz on Instagram. Jessica Golz, a Learning Commons Teacher in Illinois, created something very similar to this for her students, but for pre-COVID times, to explore genres in their library collection. I have included this in my version, but have added some additional features (thanks for the inspo, Jess!). With the virtual library display I created, students can now see what new books we have in the library, browse by genre, receive read-alike suggestions and view featured displays for various celebrations and events, all virtually. Enough talk now about the why and let’s dive into what you are all probably most interested in, the how!

Step 1: Learn the Basics

The first thing I would do before you start creating anything is if you haven’t already gone through the steps of making a bitmoji library/classroom, this is where I would begin. Building a virtual display requires many of the same skills you would have acquired through creating a bitmoji library/classroom, but I found the virtual display to be a little more challenging. I would suggest either trying to build a bitmoji library first (not fully to completion, but just enough to get the gist) or read through my tutorial on how I created my bitmoji library. This will help you to understand some of the basic steps that will be required to build your very own virtual display.

Step 2: Build Your Slide Show

You are going to create your display by using Google Slides. If you are familiar with creating a bitmoji library/classroom, you may have seen people have learned to create multiple “rooms.” This is essentially the same idea that I applied to creating my virtual display. I technically have multiple “rooms” for my display. If this idea of “rooms” does not completely make sense to you, don’t worry, this isn’t important to know in order to create your virtual display.

To start, create all of the slides you want to include in your display. For me, I wanted to create slides to feature the following:

  • New books in our library
  • Different genres
  • Read-alike suggestions

Here are some sample slides of what these pages look like:

I made sure to create all of my landing pages too and positioned them in front of where I wanted each section to start. These pages were created so that students can click on them to take them to the appropriate displays.

Step 3: Hiding Slides 

You may be wondering why you need to hide pages when you want them all to be viewed. This is done so that your slideshow won’t act like a traditional slideshow where you can click through to move to the next slide. By hiding all of the slides except your first slide/main landing page, this makes your Google Slideshow act more like an app that students can click/tap through. By hiding all of the other slides, only your first slide can be seen and people will be forced to click their way through your display.

To hide slides, right click on the slide you wish to hide, then select Skip Slide.

Step 4: Hyperlinking

After you have hidden all of your slides, you will now need to hyperlink. Here is what you will need to hyperlink in order to make your display function properly:

  • Directional buttons: you will want to put these on each slide in order to allow students to click and navigate to different pages (ie. to go forwards, backwards, and home).
  • Book Covers: you will want to hyperlink these to your library catalogue, this way, students can click the book cover and be taken directly to your library catalogue to place a hold.

To hyperlink a directional button or a book cover, click on the image you want to hyperlink. Then click the Insert Link icon. Next, insert the website URL or indicate the slide number you wish to link to. Then click Apply.

Here is a sample image of my directional buttons I included to help with navigating through the display.

I also included a Requests button, which links to a Form I created where students can submit book requests for purchase.

Step 5: Publish to the Web 

Once you are finished all the previous steps and you are happy with how your display looks and what you included content-wise, you can now move on to your final step, publishing to the web. When I initially created my first bitmoji library, I learned to make it a clickable and accessible document by turning it into a PDF and uploading it to my Google Drive. This wasn’t ideal, because whenever I wanted to update my bitmoji library, I would have to keep sharing a new link. I really wanted a feature that could allow me to update content without having to worry about updating the link as well. This is a pro to publishing your Google Slides to the web, because any changes you make to this document now, all changes are uploaded instantly. You don’t have to worry about updating anything if you publish to the web.

To publish your virtual display to the web, click File and select Publish to the Web.

Final Product

Ready to see what it looks like when you pull it all together?

Need More Help?

Are you still struggling to try and create your own virtual book display? Watch these videos. I found them extremely helpful when making my virtual library display:

Mrs. Watson Education: Bitmoji Virtual Classroom Series

Now that I have showed you all the steps involved in how to create your own display, I know what some of you may be thinking that this is A LOT of work. Yes, true, but is it worth it? Absolutely! I fully recognize though that the initial set-up of the virtual display, just like the bitmoji library, is a great deal of work at first, but once you have it all set up, it’s easy to update, maintain and make adjustments to…which is why I am providing you all with a FREE copy of my virtual display! You can download the bare-bones of what I have created from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

All you need to do is download the PowerPoint from TPT, then upload it to your Google Drive. From here, follow the steps given in this blog post to make the adjustments you need to your very own virtual display. Don’t forget to make it live and publish it to the web!

Get your FREE copy here!

Is there anything that I missed? Anything you still want to know?

Let me know in the comments!

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