Entrepreneurial Alum Creates Service for School Librarians
Kent State SLIS alumna Lindsey Buzzelli, M.L.I.S. '13, has created a website designed to provide subscription-based lesson plans for busy school librarians, aids and volunteers.
The website, Reading Buzz, offers a weekly lesson consisting of video story times, book talks, information literacy lessons or research lessons, all taught by Buzzelli herself. Buzzelli also offers live sessions and personalized curriculum for specific school needs. The lessons are “basically like a YouTube tutorial for library lessons,” she said.
Buzzelli noticed a trend, that school libraries are often staffed by media aids or part-time library specialists, most of whom have multiple other responsibilities such as lunch duty, club monitoring, etc. With those duties and trying to maintain the library and its collections, these staff members, she realized, have little or no time for library and media lesson planning.
The idea for Reading Buzz came when Buzzelli held a live holiday-themed story time through Skype for a school where she had been a librarian the previous year.
"I could see the students, and they could see me,” she said. “I had an entire lesson and story time planned out, and they begged their teachers for weeks to do it again. It hit me right then: I could do this all the time!”
And Reading Buzz was born.
The Reading Buzz website has other Kent State connections: it created by IdeaBase, a "student-powered design agency in downtown Kent" that operates as part of the College of Communication and Information, and the logo was designed by Glyphix, "a student-staffed design experience within the School of Visual Communication Design."
Buzzelli said her site turned out exactly as she pictured it, and she was so impressed by everyone involved in the design and creation.
Currently, she is looking for Reading Buzz to gain recognition through social media and her blog. The SLIS alumna hopes that rural schools, home schools, charter schools or districts with minimal or no library staffing will use the website to foster information literacy skills and inspire lifelong learners.
“Reading Buzz is an advocate for school libraries. We still need [libraries] — they are vital to a student experience. So this is how I hope to make that a reality, regardless of budget constraints,” she said.
Buzzelli said that SLIS prepared her 100 percent for her career path as a children’s/young adult librarian. Some of the things she found most helpful from her courses were how to do a book talk, create appeal factors for readers’ advisory specifically for kids, and catalog or process library materials. She also learned the importance of research skills for students beginning as early as kindergarten.
“There are about a million things librarians do behind the scenes, and that is what I love about running Reading Buzz: helping library and media specialists or library aids be their best.”
Check out Reading Buzz.