I hope you are enjoying your summer. Before you know it, it will be time to start a new school year. I’m back again with updates to add to my summertime planning guide. Here are a few things that you can think about while you are away.
- Create welcome packets or a list of resources for new teachers. Tell them about the wonderful services available in the school library. In addition, let them know you are there to help (i.e., mentor) them.
- Plan your announcements for the new year. Using a service such as Hootsuite will let you schedule social media announcements well in advance. Everyone will think you are so active! Most importantly, this will help you with focusing on your planning. Ideas for announcements include:
- Test preparation sessions
- Winter and summer break procedures
- Book fair dates
- Notes about services offered by community partners such as the local library
- Think about local celebrities, parents, athletic teams, authors, and artists that can visit the library for a program. Calendars fill up quick. You want to make sure you are on theirs.
- Identify parents, grandparents, and guardians from last year that were very active in the school. They might make great volunteers for next year.
- Create a fundraising plan. Book fairs are great, but what else is available for you? Are there ways for the community to donate to the library? Let your community members know that every dollar helps.
- Make reference infographics for procedures and topics that you must share information about repeatably. For instance, parents may want to know how they can check out books or visit the library for family reading times. Teachers might want to know how to use technology tools.
- Review the school data for assessments, demographics, and book checkouts to develop teaching and management strategies for next year.
- Brainstorm stories for your news program or newsletter if you are responsible for one. For example, if you got new books and resources right before the school year ended, consider advertising them.
- Review updates to the school curriculum and standards to ensure that you will be prepared for them.
- Visit the principal to determine the initiatives that will be priorities for the upcoming school year. Being proactive will assist with avoiding the shock of having new responsibilities.
In conclusion, planning is an essential component of implementing a school library. While one can be effective without planning, reflective practice during the planning stages is a useful process for making improvements. Taking the time to complete a few items on my lists could mean the difference between feeling prepared or pressured.
Note: Please don’t forget to look at the professional development. While it is not in the professional development list, School Library Journal has opened registration for several workshops that include the leadership summit. Also, registration for the AASL National Conference is open. You will want to be there because of the wealth of knowledge that will be shared. It only happens biannually. Kelly Hincks and I will be there presenting about Libraries Ready to Code.
Author: Daniella Smith
Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently an associate professor at the University of North Texas.