School Librarian AI Hacks

Six educators share tips and tools, from utilizing ChatGPT to help write college recommendations to using voice technology to make poetry more engaging for students. 

Six school librarians share strategies for using AI to work smarter, not harder.

Kristina Holzweiss, 2015 School Librarian of the Year; educational technology enrichment specialist, Syosset (NY) Senior High School
Canva's Magic Studio makes designing social media posts easy. You start with an idea, whether it's an upcoming book fair, an author visit, a contest, or showcasing new books. Features like Magic Design create professional-looking social media posts based on a description or uploaded images and videos. You can change formats, translate posts, and adapt dimensions for different social media platforms using Magic Switch. The Magic Media Text-to-Image feature helps create images based on your prompts. For privacy compliance, there's Magic Eraser to mask students' faces in images. Plan and schedule posts in advance using Canva's Content Planner for a consistent online presence.

Recently, I stumbled upon AudioPen, a simple tool that turns voice notes into ready-to-publish text. Hit "record,” and you can brainstorm ideas for a conference proposal, a grant application to make your library more inclusive, or an elevator pitch for your principal or supervisor. AudioPen transcribes and refines your speech into clear text. It offers various writing styles, output lengths, and language options. I'm planning to use AudioPen to help with blog posts for my websites and emails to my subscribers.

I've streamlined the college recommendation process with ChatGPT. I rely on the information students provide, and my firsthand experience with them in the classroom or the library. Recently, a colleague created a Google form that prompts students to furnish essential details like their name, intended major, and school they aspire to join. Students share information about their involvement in sports, extracurriculars, volunteer work, honors, awards, etc. Pasting from here into ChatGPT, I can generate a comprehensive recommendation letter that reflects the student's unique qualities and achievements.

Also Read: "What Will It Take to Fix AI’s Bias Problem? | Opinion"

Elissa Malespina, teacher librarian, Union (NJ) High School
Here are some of my go-to tools I use and how I use them:

ChatGPT to help come up with brief biographies and people to highlight on social media for different commemorative months, such as Hispanic Heritage Month.

Canva Text to Image to create posters, social media posts, and more for the library.

Curipod to generate slides and discussion questions.

Google AI features while emailing to help me compose more professional-sounding correspondence.

I have had my students use ChatGPT and/or Bard to help them generate ideas and outlines for college essays and for help with their resumes.

I enjoy all the lesson ideas from ISTE around AI and recommend them to a lot of teachers and school librarians. I especially like the Ethical Guides. I look forward to ISTE Stretch AI, a chatbot that will help educators learn about the ISTE Standards and ASCD’s research-based pedagogical practices.

Shelly Sanchez Terrell, educator,  author, and digital innovator

AI can help motivate students to write and engage with literature. Tools like TextFX can assist students in writing similes or learn about alliteration and point of view with the rapper Lupe Fiasco.

DebateAI walks students through an intellectual argument about any topic with famous people, from Hellen Keller to the President of the United States.

AI image-creation tools such as Bing Image Creator and Ideogram can help students visualize settings. Students can work in pairs to list key information about the setting (geography, time, buildings, year, location, weather) then add these elements in the prompt to create images they can use in future projects or to simply visualize a time period or place they've never visited.

Jennifer Sweat, media specialist, Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology, Lawrenceville, GA
ChatGPT can be a student’s best friend when they’re conducting research, especially when it comes to scholarly research articles. Students can ask it to summarize complex scientific topics students are researching elsewhere or use it to understand data and statistics. After finding an article, they can paste sections of the text into ChatGPT and have it explained at their reading level.

ChatGPT is also great for helping students see different viewpoints. We have used it when students write argumentative research papers. They can ask ChatGPT to explain different sides of the argument or even have a debate. This is a great way to find holes in your argument and to see potential ways to address counterarguments.

Prompts matter. Students need to develop the skill of writing them to make ChatGPT give the best results. Instead of simply asking a question, students can prompt it to respond in bullet points, in the voice of a character or historical figure, or have a brainstorming session.

I tell them that ChatGPT is a liar. The data that it uses stops at 2021, and it doesn’t always tell you if it doesn’t know something. It will make things up. We have it cite articles related to students’ research topics, and then students search for the articles. Most of the time, the articles don’t exist; ChatGPT makes them up, along with the people who wrote them. 

If students are confused about the appropriate use of AI, encourage them to treat it like they would a teacher. For example, they could ask their teacher for help clarifying what symbolism is, or understanding the historical context of The Scarlet Letter, but they wouldn’t ask their teacher to write their outline for them, so they shouldn’t ask ChatGPT.

Joni Gilman, library media specialist, Seckinger High School, Buford, GA
I recently taught all my freshmen language arts classes a lesson on finding credible sources in preparation for research podcast projects. We explored AI technologies like deepfake videos and AI-generated images to emphasize the need for students to stay vigilant when researching in this age of synthetic reality. We delved into topics like bias and misinformation and introduced AI tools for source citation. This lesson persuaded the students to use our online databases as a credible source hub.

I'm eager to experiment with AI tools such as QuestionWell and to generate review questions for my ActiveFloor game. Additionally, I'm considering using AI tools like Synthesia to co-teach some classes and illustrate how easily deepfakes can be created, while also capturing students’ attention when they start to zone out during research lessons. A Language Arts teacher recently used Speechify to make Snoop Dogg read poetry to her class and they were instantly engaged; she also used FakeYou for another reading passage which uses AI deep fake technology to make reading of texts more engaging through the use of favorite characters.

Some teachers are contemplating using AI presentation tools like Gamma, which would enable students to focus more on the content and mastering the standards in their subject rather than perfecting the aesthetics of their projects. I plan to find new AI tools to make my presentations more engaging, which I’ll then highlight as an option for students to use in their own work.

Mylie James, M.Ed, School Library Media Specialist at Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD, Fort Worth, TX
I’ve begun utilizing AI for everyday tasks so that I can focus on the things that are the most important such as building relationships with our students.

Booktalks: AI can give me a jumping-off point. By asking for specific information such as information about the title and author, an example of an exciting part of the book, and how students might relate to it, I can quickly create a book talk to captivate students without needing to have read the entire book myself.

Booklists: Once a student finds a book they love, they’ll often ask for similar ones. By having AI generate a list of 10 books with similar themes and subject matter, I can have those discussions with students in the moment. That ensures we don’t lose momentum on captivating budding readers.

Social media posts: I struggle to produce captions for social media posts that don’t sound the same as every other post my campus produces. By having AI help, I can garner attention to the happenings in my library without a lot of repeated information.Recommendation letters: Senior students often work as aides in my library. While this is fantastic on a day-to-day basis, it also means many requests for recommendations for college and scholarships. After I input the parameters of the specific student’s needs, AI gives me a starting point so I don’t have to write each one from scratch.

Décor Ideas: When changing the theme of the library or a book display, AI is incredibly helpful. I have had it give me ideas for tabletop displays, interactive bulletin boards, and things to hang in my windows. This saves me from having to spiral down online searches.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing