Snapshot: A Day in the Life of SC School Libraries 2012

As SCASL Advocacy Committee Chair, I am pleased to announce Snapshot: A Day in the Life of SC School Libraries 2012.  Details about the program will be mailed to SC public school librarians within the next two weeks; however, because many of you would like to start planning now for your own Snapshot Day, I thought I would post information both here and on our SCASL blog about the initiative.

Introduction

You and your library program play an enormous role in the lives of your students.  All around the country, school librarians have been losing jobs as budgets are slashed.  In our own state, school librarians are being asked to do more, often with less help and money.

Never before has advocacy been more vital!  SCASL has been hard at work advocating for our state’s school library programs. One of our priorities has been to inform those with budget decision-making authority about the role that school librarians play in educating South Carolina’s students.  Two mailings have been sent to your superintendents, principals, and state and national legislators:

  • In August they received the Media Center Messenger whose lead article was “Why You Need School Librarians and School Libraries:  An Open Letter to South Carolina Principals and Superintendents.”
  • In February they received the brochure created by the Advocacy Committee reminding them of the role we play and inviting them to schedule a visit to a school library to witness our work first hand.

However, nothing is more powerful than each of us advocating for our own library programs by demonstrating the impact we have on our students’ education.

The SCASL Advocacy Committee is again sponsoring Snapshot: A Day in the Life of SC School Libraries.  Your participation will focus your school community’s attention on the work you do and provide SCASL with data to use in future advocacy efforts.

Last year, approximately 38% of our public school libraries participated in Snapshot Day.  South Carolina school librarians are dedicated to enriching the lives of our students.  If we expect our legislators and administrators to support us, then we must be willing to demonstrate our dedication to our students through strong school library programs.  Participating in Snapshot Day is an excellent way to demonstrate your dedication and provide you with data you can use to advocate for your own program.

Snapshot Day Resource Wiki

To support you as you plan your Snapshot Day, the SCASL Advocacy Committee has created a wiki full of resources.  The wiki details the data you are being asked to collect as well as ideas and downloadable documents to assist you as you plan, market, and sponsor your library’s Snapshot Day.  You’ll even find a page dedicated to using the data you gather to promote your own program!  Please visit the wiki at

http://snapshotday2012.wikispaces.com/

Let’s celebrate the successes of our library programs and provide our administrators and legislators with proof that we are making a difference!

Worth the Effort!

October 2010 report

My last post concerned revamping my monthly report.  The previous format I was using left a LOT to be desired.  It was useful in quickly compiling data to submit to my principal.  Period. Ever heard the saying that goes something like “You get out of it what you put into it”?  Definitely applies here.

I put more into October’s report.  Not just more data.  More thought, more time, more effort.  October’s report does more than present data; it analyzes data.  When I finished the report (I can’t say “completed” the report because there is actually more that I wanted to add), I found that I was using it to analyze my collection’s cost effectiveness.

I finally met with my principal on Friday to share the report.  I had been anxious to see his reaction to the new format and discuss how I was using it to inform my practice.

I was confident that the report was superior to any other monthly report I had created but wasn’t prepared to be overwhelmed by his response.  After just a few minutes of discussion, he picked up the phone and asked our assistant principal in charge of curriculum to join us (this was a first).  She found the graph illustrating each department’s usage of our facilities and resources informative and requested that I create a larger copy to be placed on our school’s Data Wall.

Then they discussed sharing this information with department heads this week and accompanied me to the library for a show and tell – identifying the Dewey sections each department would find useful.

Wow.

All this because of one little monthly report.  Ladies and gentlemen, it was worth the extra effort!

Just a side note:  I remove pictures of students before I post reports online.  The five photos this month put a “face” on my program – reminding the reader that it is all about students.

Advocacy: Monthly Reports

How do you keep your program front and center in the eyes of your school community? Many school librarians create and share monthly statistics reports with their principals.  But should we stop there?  Why not post these reports for the entire school community?

Example Monthly Reports

Excellent examples of monthly reports are posted online each month.  Each report is different in not only what it contains, but how it is presented.  The common factor?  Transparency.  We must let our communities see how our programs impact student achievement.

Buffy Hamilton’s Unquiet Library report (see link above) provides program highlights, photographs, and statistics.

Lorena Swetnam’s Blythewood Middle School report is a quarterly,  rather than monthly report, on her library website.  The slideshows help bring her program to life! She also includes program highlights, collaborative work, and statistics.

Blythewood Middle School First Nine Weeks Report

Pam Harland’s Plymouth Regional High School report is a pdf file linked to the library home page.  This colorful report includes library highlights, statistics, and collaboration highlights, as well as levels of collaboration attained (from 1-5 with a key explaining each level).

Plymouth Regional High School Library report

Laura Collins’ Clovis High School report can also be found through a link on her library’s website.  She not only includes program and instructional highlights, library statistics, and collaboration information, but also includes standards met through collaborative lessons.

Clovis High School Library reports

Reassessing My Monthly Report

Mrs. Hinmighty, English teacher extraordinaire, has consented to read and grade the latest set of school library monthly reports.  Uh-oh.  Can I say the dog ate mine?  Compared to the examples I have shared here, my monthly report isn’t worthy to even warm the bench.

Up until last spring, my monthly report consisted of statistics and a listing of special events held in the media center.  Can you say drab and uninspiring? (Mrs. Hinmighty is “tsk-tsking” and shaking her head sorrowfully as she considers my report.)

When we moved into our new facility, I began adding photographs of students and student work to the monthly report, but I still felt that I wasn’t doing our program justice.  (Tsk-tsk. Sigh…..)

How can I find the time to create the report my program deserves while maintaining that program?  Fellow South Carolina school librarians provided help this week.

The Advocacy Committee of the South Carolina Association of School Librarians recently requested that example monthly reports be shared on our listserv.  Several have been posted and inspired me to revamp our report.

My October report is taking shape.  Statistics appear in tables and some will be represented visually with pie charts and bar graphs.  The one page report is now a thing of the past!  That page limitation (self-imposed) limited the number of photographs I could include and stifled my desire to be creative. (Mrs. Hinmighty will probably still bleed across my report, but perhaps she may occasionally smile rather than tsk.)

Creating the first revamped report is time-consuming, but will provide the template for future reports, thereby eventually saving me time.

Now to create a page on our library’s website to begin posting our monthly reports…..

What do you include in your monthly reports?