Flowcharts for the library with Lucidchart

Lucidchart (lucidchart.com) is a free or paid visualization program that makes it easy to produce flowcharts, mindmaps, diagrams, and other kinds of visual aids.

 

It allows SSO with Gmail accounts and integrates well with Google Drive and Google Classroom so it can become a seamless part of many school libraries. I started using it with my computer science classes this year because flowcharting is a part of our curriculum, but hadn’t really thought more broadly about the library applications until this week. I observed the library of a colleague who uses Lucidchart for several different kinds of visualizations in the library. So, I want to pass this great tool on to you as well. 

 

Here are a few ideas for using Lucidchart to help integrate more visual communication into your library program.

  • Visually diagramming procedures and processesExplain technology checkout and return procedures
    • Provide an organization chart to faculty and students so they know the best person to contact for various services (circulation, book recommendations,  printer questions, copier breakdowns, technology use questions, etc)
    • Create maps of things like shelving or book processing for training volunteers, student helpers, or new employees
  • Helping students brainstorm or think through complex problems
    • Use as a great early step in the research process
    • Design algorithms for computer science or makerspace activities
  • Integrate into library instruction
    • Make a flowchart to explain the cyclical and sometimes simultaneous nature of the research process
    • Visualize the thought-process for evaluating sources
    • Revise a text-heavy handout to include more visuals

 

I’m still in the early stages of integrating Lucidchart into my program, but here are a few examples you might find helpful as you get started.

  • Where can I get a laptop? 
    • This is an internal flowchart (for now) at my school that will help us simplify and adjust our laptop deployment procedures. Right now, they are very complicated! Visualizing the complexity is helping us realize just what we need to change, and should help us visually justify the changes to stakeholders. 
  • Number guessing game 
    • This is a computer science example (in progress) where a student is mapping out the algorithm for programming a random number guessing game before using a visual programming language to write the code. 
  • Research process
    • Full disclosure — This is a work in progress. I haven’t deployed it with students yet, but I’m so excited to try it out! I’m hoping to showcase the more iterative side of the research process.

 

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