Keeping Data: What and How I Plan to Keep Track

Every year I enjoy looking at the year-end reports that people share. I always find it interesting what and how people represent their library. However, I often think, “Man, I wish I would have thought to keep track of that or taken pictures of this.” Yet, when a new school year rolls around, I do not always make the needed change. This year, I am planning what data I want to collect long before I need to share it.


To me, the data I collect represents what I feel is the most important parts of my practice. I have always used the data to reflect on my teaching. Data keeps me honest! Yet, in recent years I have discovered how data is one of the best ways to advocate for the library services. When talking to stakeholders, having specific examples, visuals, and statistics make sharing the importance of the library a much easier task. Data is more than just the numbers you collect, such as number of classes taught, circulation stats, or co-teaching minutes. To me, it also includes the pictures, projects, and student/teacher feedback. How do you keep track of it all?


Planning how I am going to keep track of this information will be the only way I will have what I need at the end of the year.  I have decided that I am going to focus on the kinds of activities that relate to teaching and learning. Of course, I will still share traditional statistics, but want to focus on things that not just anyone can do. I want to make sure to highlight why having a certified librarian is a necessity.

Step 1: Keep It Simple

  • Data Binder: This year I plan to keep a binder on my desk. In the binder, I will have a form for each teacher. This will tell me the date, the amount of time that was spent, if the lesson was co-taught, the kind of activity, and additional notes. Last year, I discovered that I worked with one classroom forty-two times and another only fourteen.  I am hoping by separating the data by teacher, I can work to find balance so all students are receiving the complete library curriculum. Click here to see the data form I plan to use this year.
  • Google Calendar: Since I have a flexible schedule my day changes a lot. I needed a calendar that could do the same. I color code each grade level. Then, when I schedule classes I add a title of the lesson so I can easily know where I am supposed to be, but also can look back.  Additionally, I can send the teacher an invitation so it makes it easy for them to keep track too.
  • Pictures: This year they will be kept in a folder in my Google drive to make it easy to find them.
  • Videos: I have library YouTube channel that keeps video projects that we create organized and easy to access.

Step 2: Keep It Often

This is a problem I have had in the past. It became too time-consuming to keep track of. I stopped and then had a difficult time providing accurate information. Last year, I started making sure it was part of my daily routine. After the last class of the day I would take a few minutes and update my data form. When I made it part of my day it became easier to complete.

Step 3: Share It

This is the most important part! If you are going to spend time keeping data then you need to review and share it. At the end of the year, I create a library report that I share with my building and district administrators. I also take a few minutes to share the highlights with my colleagues. What I collect often allows me to write my professional goals for the following year as well. Here is my end of the year report from the 2016 – 2017 school year.

What kind of data do you plan to keep? How do you keep track?

Just for fun: If you are looking for the kinds of reports people have shared, you can check out this list that can been collected by the fabulous Jennifer LaGarde.


Author: Kelly Hincks

I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a school librarian for the past eleven years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a school librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I currently serve as secretary of my state association, Michigan Association of School Librarians (MASL).

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics

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2 replies

  1. Great tips on staying organized and having a plan. Your End of Year Report is wonderful-thanks for sharing!

  2. (HS, flex schedule, 4 separate area of the library to track) This year we switched to Google Calendar, and I’m still tweaking the system. Currently, each of our 4 spaces (2 computer labs, the library itself, and our macbooks) have their own calendar, so they are color-coded; I also have a personal teaching calendar that I copy events onto if I am working directly with the class. When we enter a class on a calendar, we include class name, teacher name, and purpose. There is also a place for description, so if I need additional notes I can add them there, and I can attach any relevant files.

    Three weeks into the year, I am seeing 2 huge benefits already: 1) I have my Google account linked on my phone, so I can glance at my agenda widget in the morning and remind myself what’s on tap for the day, and 2) we keep the calendar up on both a circ desk computer and my laptop, so I can schedule things regardless of which phone I’m near.

    I also run monthly reports for my admins in which I distinguish between number of classes who use the library spaces and those that I do instruction with, so it’s super helpful to be able to turn calendar visibility on/off when I’m doing those counts.

    This is what the new format of my monthly report looks like so you can see the data I track (made with Piktochart):

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