Happy New Year
Hello from the library at the Highland School of Technology in Gastonia, NC. January provides us with a wonderful opportunity to take stock of library services and evaluate their effectiveness. As with personal goals for a new year, I like to make a goal or two for the new year in our school library as well. Here at Highland, not only is it the start of a new year ripe with possibilities, but it is also the semester transition. So, why not breathe new life into library services and create a 2020 vision for your school library too.
Rooted in our AASL National School Library Standards for Learners, School Librarians, and School Libraries, goals for our libraries can guide us into this new year and decade. The Collaborate Shared Foundation seems to ground this practice of goal setting for me. The Key Commitment for Collaborate for school librarians is to, “Work effectively with others to broaden perspectives and work toward common goals.” This is a perfect foundation for how I design library services for the Highland community.
Data is my friend. Every day, when the Highland students visit the library, they sign-in to the library with a Google Form. Of course, this is for school safety and accountability of where students are in the building, but for me, it is for usage statistics and more. I gather data on the types of resources the students would like to see in the library. Additionally, I track why they are coming to the library throughout the instructional day. All of this valuable information helps me with purchasing new resources and organizing and displaying what we already have.
Why the students come to the library is so important to me. Are they gathering with friends for social interaction? Do they come to the library to use the computers and Chromebooks? Are they collaborating with peers on a project or do they simply want to check out books? This information helps me define areas in the library to better meet their needs and make them feel comfortable.
To define my vision for 2020, I reviewed the data gathered from the students via the Google form. Additionally, I met with teachers informally the first week back to school to plan, brainstorm, and discuss collaboration opportunities for the new semester. I partnered with my colleague and instructional technology facilitator, Katherine Leatherman, to do the staff planning. We have one more brainstorming session planned with the staff toward the end of January. With this information in hand, I have decided to have monthly themes for library services. Here is a peek at what I am planning.
January 2020: “New Year’s Goals and Dreams“ bulletin board display in the hallway promoting goal setting and sharing on social media using school hashtags. Additionally, I plan to highlight student book talks on the library website and encourage “A New Year – Read a New Book!” incentive.
February 2020: Promote Reading with a “Blind Date w/a Book incentive” all month in the library. I hope to kick-off a “Love of Reading” book donation program with parents who would like to purchase books in honor of their students, especially graduates, from our student-generated book wish list.
March 2020: “Ides of March – Read Across America promotions.” Social media blitz to encourage a SnapChat, Tweet, or Post about favorite books, authors, etc. – Promote all month during student lunches in the cafeteria with a photo booth as well as promoting this in the library.
April 2020: “Shower Us with Books!” book displays, spring reading celebration for National Poetry Month and Library Month! Poetry night is tentatively planned for the end of the month in the library, partnering with our creative writing teacher and our English teachers. Invite an author/illustrator to share with students, virtually or in person.
May 2020: Library Media Center Celebration! After gathering data-drive circulation statistics, celebrate a year in review and encourage summer reading with a partnership w/public library prior to year-end inventory beginning toward the end of the month!
Share Your 2020 Vision
I wish you all a wonderful 2020. I will keep you posted on my progress toward these goals. Often, things look good on paper, but making them a reality is a challenge! Reach out to me via email or social media if you would like to connect or collaborate. I would love to hear what your goals are for your libraries this year! The more we connect and share with each other, the stronger our library services will be! Happy New Year!
Author: Laura Long
Laura Long is the school library media specialist at Highland School of Technology in Gastonia, NC, a 2017 National Blue Ribbon School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and her Masters of Library Science from East Carolina University. She is a Gaston County Schools’ Delta Fellow, Pinnacle Technology Leader and member of the Pioneering Educators Team, as well as a National Board certified language arts teacher. Additionally, she is the President-elect of the North Carolina School Library Media Association. She loves collaborating and helping her students connect with others around the world, so feel free to contact her via email or social media.