With a super duo like my colleague and I, our collaborative efforts have really made the library sparkle. I’ve always had elevator speeches and comments prepared and seem to be able to weave them into conversations. I believe that all of this led to the remodeling of the library five years ago– my tireless conversation about reinvigorating the library and making the outside appear like the soul of what our library is.
In reading many of the articles and looking at the toolkits, I can say that we’ve incorporated many of them in. We have a newsletter (two in fact) using Smore where we share out to parents and the school board and one to the teachers: much of the informational headings are the same, but the content is approached differently and our strategy to allow teachers time to read it is to print it and post it in faculty bathrooms. The best part about Smore is that it forces you to be concise and pick wisely. This makes it more readable. We also get parent support/feedback as we use social media more. We have Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. While we thought Facebook wasn’t popular, we realized many of our ENL students were there, so brought it back. On Twitter, we’ve actually reached out to students who left things in the library by tweeting at them. And the beauty of a book cover or a 1,000 piece puzzle waiting to be put together has never looked so good as it does on Instagram. We know the kids are creeping on them. We also know that the community talks about us and sees us positively.
What I would like our next challenge to be in leading is to really bridge the gap for our students into college or the working world. The study tying a high school librarian to college success really hit home on two fronts. We just recently embarked on a library college visit for a select group of students (selected by their teachers as students who could benefit from the additional research time either in preparation for a more rigorous research product or because the visual of being a college student could be bolstered by the visit). Several students returned the next day to discuss how the day went for them after a lesson from the college librarian and independent study time. Knowing then seeing how the college library worked on top of actually doing the work made them exhilarated for the future possibilities and getting over the fact that we have an abundance of resources but that the college library can still offer more was humbling. I always think we have enough here, but to show them more is always better. The second was in reading other articles in the EBP lessons about getting data and doing something about it. This is in regard to the first step of setting a plan based on literature already written. I would like us to focus on our students’ reading habits, research skills, and general view of the library. I’m currently developing a plan to survey students in 9th and 12th grade (with the plan to roll it out for 10th and 11th later) at the beginning and end of the year to better help us understand how we did and didn’t serve our kids (and for 9th grade, the possibility of how we can better serve them) by asking our customers! A few of the listserv members shared documents and surveys they’d already created, so I’ve saved those so as not to reinvent the wheel.
So while, advocacy is a friend of mine and I’ve got a handle on presenting great arguments to help us get what we need, I want to dig deeper in truly knowing (being able to confirm) that we’re affecting change in our students’ research and reading habits.