Thing 34: Annual Reports

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at the Jennifer LaGarde presentation and we’ve already taken away a few elements that we’ve adjusted in our own practice. The biggest was breaking data down in to little bytes. No longer will we “wait until the end” to share the biggest successes, but celebrate them throughout the year.

We meet monthly with our principal and decided to add a data byte into our agenda and used the “but what’s the bottom line?” element to why we’re sharing it. For example, we shared the number of hours our volunteers have clocked in helping out in the library to show the ownership our students have in our library. We’ve specifically had them focus on elements of the SLMPE rubric, especially where we identified ourselves as below basic, basic and then next year will focus on where we are proficient. This has helped us organize our agenda better but also make it more cohesive. If our principal is going to see us each year to evaluate the program, it helps to then see a little of it every month and have that evidence addressed in our agenda. It makes it more relevant.

We also didn’t wait and wanted to flex our muscle in showcasing the amazing talents, contributions, or ideas our students and staff had and created a video that we shared over a few days with the staff and through the school’s School News Notifier.

Because our school is in receivership, metrics matters and especially to our principal. On our glass facing out into the hallway is a building-wide data wall as our principal shares data with our students relating to data they can control (i.e. attendance). So, we’ve toyed with creating a data wall inside the library and like seeing that example in several of the referenced articles for inspiration. What data would be relevant to our student population? We know what kind of data our administration would like to see, so now it’s matter of why students would care about data we share and what data to share. I’m going to incorporate the Twitter analytics article because Twitter is the most used of our social media. We’ve had students reach out via Twitter when they were dissatisfied with something but also to re-tweet successes (like completing puzzles). I would love to see and have shared examples of data walls for students. One idea will be to showcase to students at the end of the year the amount of searches that they did using our databases as a way to encourage their continued uses, basically we stole “X” number of searches from Google using our databases. Congratulations, scholars!

I appreciate this “thing” and LaGarde’s collection of examples. It’s important to see the good, the bad, and the ugly so that you can find what fits best for your library, your administration, your community, and you. I know that less is more. Text-heavy reporting bores me as it bores many, but I also don’t want to ride the bandwagon of new technology if it’s not sustainable either. Ultimately, the most important thing is the content, not how it’s delivered, so you better put your money where your mouth is. This is something I’m getting more comfortable with. I’d rather tell you a warm and fuzzy story than talk in terms of numbers.


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