All libraries need vision
Research shows that effective library programs have significant impact on student achievement. Conversely, ineffective programs can hurt everyone, especially when asking for tax increases or when facing budget cuts. These issues are prevalent for school and public libraries at every level. A good library vision will help alleviate many of these problems and ultimately have a great impact on kids.
Overhauling two schools
With the support of my principals, I completely overhauled the library program at 2 separate schools, both of which were in desperate need of change. The library played a critical role for one school which went from being on “Corrective Action” to performing “average” on state standardized tests, a
monumental improvement. The other school went from averaging 30-40 daily patrons to over 200! At each school, we abandoned the old, traditional library program that was overly strict, ineffective, and unliked by almost everyone. It took a clear vision and quite a bit of effort, but the payoff was well worth it.
Define, or re-define, your library vision
As you read through this article, ask yourself whether or not your library truly addresses the needs of boys. It all begins by defining your library vision – using research based best practices! Read books, ask colleagues, search online, and read through all the information available at www.GettingBoysToRead.com
. There are tons of good resources available to help you create a successful library program that includes boys. It all starts with a clear vision.
Start with administration
After you have researched and defined your vision, the first critical step is to get support from your administrators! Tell them about the problems with boys and reading and share your ideas and thoughts. Describe your willingness to make the necessary changes and how important it is to have administrative support. Convince them to be your partner. Getting support from administration is critical is critical when making program changes.
Get your staff on board
After administration is on board, ask to speak together at the next staff meeting, side by side. Explain to your staff your research and resaon for crewating your vision. Ask staff to give you input. Change occurs much faster as a team!
Discuss your vision with everyone that works in the library, including any volunteers and student assistants. The more your staff understands the issues at hand and the library vision, the more willing they will be to do their part to make it succeed.
Host library orientations
It’s very important to host a library orientation at the start of each year, yet many librarians don’t do it. Perhaps their school seems too big, it’s too much work, or it’s seemingly unimportant by certain staff members. Whatever the excuse, a library orientation is important because it helps:
· make students feel comfortable
· students and staff learn how their library can be a valuable resource
· promote the library, especially the library goals and vision
· make connections among the library staff, students, and teachers
Example of Our Shared Vision:
We want our library to make a difference! The following components are part our shared vision:
- WELCOMING ENVIROMENT
We want students and staff to feel good about coming into the library.
- A BUSY PLACE
We want the library to be a busy, active place. We envision a variety of activities occurring, often at the same time.
- A LIFELONG RESOURCE
We want students to learn that a library can be a life long resource. We envision students using print and electronic resources to help them learn.
It’s important to publicize your vision
- When creating your vision, get input from students, teachers, parents, and especially administrators
- Post huge banners of your vision, viewable as you enter and leave the library
- Discuss your vision at library orientations and staff meetings
Do an Extreme Library Makeover
Be sure to read my upcoming article, titled, “Extreme Library Makeover.” It explains the steps I took to make some major changes!
Things to discuss
What components could be added to this article?
What obstacles can deter librarians from redefining a library program?