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Monday Means Advocacy: Partnerships July 28, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy, Check this out!.
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A partnership is an arrangement in which parties agree to cooperate to advance their mutual interests. (Wikipedia)

Public library partnership – In a research study on the public library-school library connection, the successful relationship between the two partners shows the positive impact to education reform and student achievement.  Working together, the public and school libraries can form networks for resource sharing, develop complementary collections, provide information services and instruction, and encourage reading and literacy.

Civic organization partnerships – Partnerships between school libraries and civic organizations benefit students, teachers, and parents.  Many civic organizations support literacy programs with funding and through mentoring and tutoring.  Civic organizations can assist with speakers and training to support teachers and parents.

Business partnerships – Depending on the particular needs or theme (arts, STEM, technology, etc.) of your school, community business partnerships can enhance your school library program and the entire school.  For example, school libraries in STEM schools can partner with businesses such as SAS, BASF and Red Hat to provide insight into science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, supporting the school’s STEM initiatives through funding, resources, speakers, mentoring, instruction and presentations.

What partnerships have you created between your school library and businesses or community organizations?  How will forming partnerships with these groups benefit your school library?

Monday Means Advocacy: Advisory Committee July 13, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy.
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meetingDo you have an advisory committee for your library?  An advisory committee is a representative team of teachers, administrators, parents and students who review library policies and procedures, assist with library media initiatives, create  budgets, assist with library programming and events, and promote and advocate for the library program.

Your advisory committee should be made up of the following members:

  • school librarian
  • technology facilitator
  • administrator
  • teachers representing each grade level and core subject
  • teachers representing electives, specialists and administrative staff
  • parents
  • students

Your advisory committee should review and assist with the following policies, procedures, and initiatives:

  • collection development and collection policies
  • facilities management
  • budget and funding
  • literacy, media and instructional technology initiatives
  • challenges and materials reconsideration policies
  • mission, vision, and advocacy plan
  • program evaluation

How do you see an advisory committee making an impact on your work as a school librarian and your library program?

Monday Means Advocacy: Collection Development June 29, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy.
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STEM Recyle display

When students and teachers look for print and electronic resources in your school library, are they likely to find what they want?  Does your collection meet the needs of your community?  Is your collection up-to-date? Do you have copies of the latest award-winning books?

Or are patrons disappointed by the selection in your library? Do they complain about the lack of materials and the outdated resources?  Are there no popular titles on display?

Having a strong print and non-print collection that meets the needs of your school community speaks volumes. (Pun intended!) But the only way to do this is to have an appropriate collection development plan with supporting policies in place at your individual school or at the district or state level.

Under the AASL Essential Links: Resources for School Library Program Development, you can find links to resources to support your collection development work.  The bibliography suggests three strong titles by respected colleagues in school librarianship.  The links to collection mapping and collection development and selection policies will help you create a comprehensive plan to get and keep your program on track.

Photograph: Environmental resources display in the library at East Cary Middle School, a STEM school. (D.Harris)


Monday Means Advocacy: Annual Reports June 22, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy.
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ECMS Media Center

As the school year ends, school librarians find themselves completing inventories, chasing down overdue books, converting our spaces to testing sites, and compiling to-do lists a mile long to wrap up projects, instruction, and other items.  Hopefully one of those items on our lists is preparing our annual reports.

My district requires that we complete a two page report providing the number of books, periodicals, etc., in our collection, noting the numbers that were weeded and purchased in the given school year, and detailing the funding sources for said resources.  My state  requires us to complete an annual media and technology report which focuses more on the technology in our schools but also highlights print and electronic resources, average publication dates, and circulation statistics.

While these are great reports to wrap up the year and provide some small insight into the media and technology in our schools, these reports do not showcase the instruction, professional development, and literacy initiatives that occurred throughout the year.  To actively advocate for school librarians and school library media programs, we must provide the best documentation possible, a comprehensive year-end or annual report, that will highlight more than circulation statistics and material counts.

Here are some examples to help us get started with our annual reports:

  • Springfield Township High School Library Annual Report – Former school librarian Joyce Valenza used her annual report to highlight curricular connections, her professional development activities, trends and patterns in usage both on- and offline,  and included issues, plans and goals for the next school year.
  • Wendell Middle Media Center Annual Report – Media coordinator Linda Dextre uses her annual report to highlight the teaching and learning, events and activities from the learning commons, budget analysis including operation losses, and quotes and pictures.
  • Durant Middle School Media Center Annual Report - Media coordinators Kristen Ziller and Janice Edwards include their SMART goal in their report, as well as a infographic to give a quick view of the year.

Jennifer LaGarde, “librarian ambassador and education road warrior” at Adventures of Library Girl, provides additional insight and information about creating annual reports in her blog, School Library Annual Reports: Connecting the Dots Between Your Library and Student Learning  We cannot see our annual reports as one more thing to do on our already full plate. We must view these reports as the advocacy tool that they are:  promoting teaching and learning, documenting the impact to student achievement, highlighting the professional development and growth in us and our staffs, and showcasing the resources, usage trends/patterns, and literacy initiatives happening at our schools.

AASL Best Websites: Coming Soon to ALA Annual! June 10, 2014

Posted by Heather Moorefield-Lang in ALA Annual Conference, Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, Technology.
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As you may know the American Association of School Librarian Best Websites for Teaching and Learning Committee produces a list of recognized websites every year. What you may not know is that this the committee’s sixth year and we will be presenting our 150th site this month at ALA Annual in Las Vegas on Saturday, June 28th. Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag  #aaslbestlist.

Everyone on the Best Websites Committee has been working hard throughout the year and is really excited to share this year’s list. We feel that we have a great list for you here in 2014 full of strong online tools in the categories of Media Sharing, Digital Storytelling, Social Networking and Communication, and more.

This is the committee’s last blog post until September. In the fall we will be bringing you more blog postings on how to use the AASL Best Websites in your schools, libraries, and classrooms as we have in the past. We will have a whole new list to share and will be super excited to offer up new ideas and sites. As always if there is ever a Best Websites online tool that you would like for us to write about, just comment below.

The Best Websites Committee hopes to see you at ALA. If you can’t make it follow us on Twitter or check out our website: http://www.ala.org/aasl/standards-guidelines/best-websites on June 28th to see all of the new sites, resources, presentations, and freebies.

Heather Moorefield-Lang: AASL Best Websites Committee Chair

Monday Means Advocacy: Public Relations June 2, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy, Check this out!.
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What is public relations?  As part of our advocacy efforts, we have to manage our public relations, our communication efforts.  The AASL Advocacy Committee created definitions that can help guide our work as advocates for and public relations managers of our school library programs.

Public Relations

One-way communication of getting the message across:

  • who we are
  • what we do
  • when and where
  • and for whom

What is your message?  Do you have a written mission and vision about who you are and what your program is all about?  How do you get your message out to your school community?

Here are some communications tools that all school librarians could be using for stronger public relations:

  • Email – short, informative emails to targeted groups (i.e. lists of new YA titles to language arts teachers; reminders of upcoming events to administration)
  • School Library Website – a web presence with well-organized links and updated information
  • School Website – a link to the library website, an article or other information presented on the school’s main website
  • PTA Newsletter or Website – articles, information, and updates for parents
  • Twitter – short, informative tweets about events, teaching and learning, great reads, and other information
  • Facebook – another social media / web presence with links, updates, calendars (synced to Twitter)

What other forms of communication are you using with students, teachers, and parents to build strong public relations?

Monday Means Advocacy: What is Advocacy? May 27, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy.
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What exactly is advocacy?  The AASL Advocacy Committee created definitions that can help guide our work as advocates for school libraries and school librarians.


On-going process of building partnerships so that others will act for and with you, turning passive support into educated action for the library program.

It begins with a vision and a plan for the library program that is then matched to the agenda and priorities of stakeholders.

On-going process – Advocacy cannot be just a one time, one shot deal.  It’s systematic, methodical, ritualistic.  On-going means that we are constantly thinking about school libraries and school librarians, how we interact with our constituents and our community, and the influences that we and they have on us and our programs.

Turning passive support into educated action – It’s nice when folks share their “feel good” stories about school libraries, but it takes real action to affect change.  It takes those same folks standing up to school boards and administrators in support of funding.  It takes others sharing the teaching and learning statistics and the impact of our programs on student achievement in support of fully staffed school libraries.

Do you have a vision and a plan for your school library?  Is it updated to meet the changing needs of students and staff? And does that vision and plan match what the student, staff, PTA, administrators and school community value and support?

How are you advocating for school libraries and school librarians today?

Monday Means Advocacy: AASL Tip of the Day May 19, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy.
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Need tips on advocating for your library media program and school librarians?  Then subscribe to the AASL Tip of the Day for tips and tricks for keeping your program top of mind  for administrators, teachers, parents, and students.  From programming activities to lessons for teaching and learning to highlights of how school librarians around the country are advocating, the AASL Tip of the Day provides quick, short blurbs on how you can be active and awesome school librarians!


Monday Means Advocacy: Everyday Leadership May 12, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy, Check this out!.
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leadership       Until recently, we as educators have not necessarily embraced our roles as leaders in our classrooms, libraries, schools and districts. We’ve always come to work each day with a passion for teaching and learning, and we’ve worked diligently to impart wisdom, build foundations, and educate future citizens.  What we may not realize is that we lead in little ways everyday.

Drew Dudley, founder and chief catalyst of Nuance Leadership Inc., believes that there’s a little bit of leader in all of us, that we just have to “plan to matter”.   He also believes that we have to be empowered to increase and accept our leadership capacity.

In preparing a presentation for my state conference, I came across  Dudley’s TED Talk on “Everyday Leadership” and I knew that this was exactly the piece that I was looking for to complement my presentation.  In his talk, Dudley makes the point that there are moments in our lives that happen everyday, moments that mean so much to someone else, moments that change others’ lives, the same moments about which we may have absolutely no recollection.  It’s that impact, that everyday leadership, that truly affects others’ lives and it’s valuable to recognize the importance of that impact and to thank others for their support and impact on our own lives.

Go out and make a difference everyday, and be sure to thank those who have impacted you today!

Monday Means Advocacy: Students April 28, 2014

Posted by Deanna Harris in Advocacy.
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Students are the heart and soul of our library media programs.  The students are the reason that we come to work every day, that we read the latest and greatest children’s and YA literature, that we share way cool instructional technology tools, and that we work so hard to manage and lead incredible literacy, media, and technology programs.

So how can we get students to own the library media center and to own the teaching and learning that happens there as theirs?

  • Students should be represented on your literacy, media and technology committees.
  • Students should be represented on your school’s leadership and school improvement teams to voice concerns and ideas about literacy, media and technology.
  • Student learning should be highlighted in all displays, events, and activities in the media center.
  • Students should be involved in managing the library media center.
  • Students should be involved in planning programs and events.

How do you involve students so that they become lifelong learners and lifelong advocates of school libraries?