I was indeed lucky enough to attend Jennifer LaGarde’s workshops last Fall (2015) when a consortium of our regional BOCES groups hosted her for our annual meeting in Saratoga. And furthermore, I was even more lucky to sit right next to you, Polly, for the entire day :-)
I learned so much from Jennifer that day - but my two biggest take-aways were a) Things are way better in NY for libraries than they are in many other states and b) Reporting really matters.... a lot.
I came home from that day with a lot of big ideas and some great resources to investigate. Jennifer had us break into teams to take a closer look at a variety of Library reports: the good, the bad, and the ugly. At that point, I was giving my administrators just one annual report each year, and it was a pretty concise overview of basic statistics and a few highlights. In comparison to what we looked at in the workshop, I would lump it in with the "unimpressive" bunch at best.
I'm pleased to report that I decided to up my game after that revelation. Once I realized what other school librarians were doing to showcase their work and their value, I knew I could do better, too. So last year, I still stuck with one annual report, but I added some photos, lots of eye catching color, and an overview of not only what the kids were doing in the Library, but also a snapshot of what I was doing for professional development. Here's that report.
It was a hit! My admins loved it, and I asked them to share it with the BOE, too.
But then I took the post-grad class with Hilda Wiesburg this Fall (2016) about Leadership for Librarians, and it became evident that I needed to do even more. And that's the thing: no matter how good we are and how much we up our game - we always need to strive to be bigger, better, and go beyond. So this year I knew I needed to increase my visibility even more, and I know communication is key - so I decided to create quarterly reports instead of one annual report. Here are my Q1 2016 and Q2 2017 reports. They follow the same general format I went with for my annual report last year, including a tiny section for basic stats, grade level highlights, collaborations, and professional updates.
So I'm feeling pretty good about the direction I'm moving in regard to reports, BUT.... I know I could do it so much better if I used some of the fancy web tools available. Right now I'm making my reports in GoogleDocs just because we're a Google school and it makes it really easy to share and archive. That said, I already completed the presentation tools assignment (Thing 5) for my second time, but I still haven't found a free tool easy enough for me to use that would just create a nice report or newsletter. I've tried the templates in GoogleDocs, but they seem to lock you into one basic lay-out, which I don't want. I tried Bunkr, but had a hard time importing photos. I've used Prezi, but that makes everyone motion sick! What I really need to do is go back to my notes from Jennifer's presentation and explore some of the tools used to create some of the more awesome reports she collected. I think this is going to lead to a couple DIY posts because I know I want to check out S'more and LibGuides for starters. Polly - if you could direct me to maybe 2 or 3 more free tools that are fairly easy to use and that would help me to create more professional looking documents, I'd really appreciate it.
So in sum, I'm heading in the right direction, but my journey is far from over.