Friday, June 6, 2014

End of the Year: Report, Reflection, Renewal, and Resound

It's finally here.  The last day is on me, and all I can say is, "WOW!  That went by fast!" Summer is here and a lot of educators reflect on this past year to see where they've come from.  Some go beyond reflection and begin to think about next year.
I'll admit, I'm already thinking of some things I'd like to accomplish next year.  But I have to rein myself in and really think hard about what I did this year and how it worked out for me.  Where to start?

Get a snapshot of the past year: it's easy now these days to click on a couple of buttons and whaa-la!  Instant report!  That's the beauty of circulation statistics.  This year, try to go a little deeper.  Think beyond those common statistics and build a snapshot worthy of the amazing things happening in your library.  If you have social media attached to the library, go back and do a review of what you posted, what was video'ed, pictures taken...the whole thing.  Use these as statistics of the wonderful job creating relationships has done for the library.  Numbers are only that....there are no qualifiers of relationships in numbers.  But pictures and videos?  Comments on a post?  Yep, that's gold!  Quite by accident, I stumbled on the amount of books checked out by genre because of how I re-did the spine labels. It was quite interesting and something I can use for next year.  Report on community and public library partnerships as well as those virtual PLNs you're involved with.  Going beyond may take a little more work, but it's guaranteed to get someone's attention that numbers never will.  Also snazz up your reports by changing the fo
rmat.  Why not try a screencast?  How about a Thinglink?  Not only are you showing off your report, you're showing off your tech savviness as well.

Look at your goals for this year: did you accomplish at least 50% of the goals you set out for yourself?  Remember, goals are NOT a to-do list, so doing all of them is not the idea behind it.  Success is the moment when I know I've done something beyond what I expected while reaching a goal.  What do I do with the others ones I didn't accomplish? I simply look at those and ask myself why I prioritized them/accomplished them in a certain way, see if they need to be modified, and either continue pursuing those goals or take them off the list.  One thing I won't do is beat myself up over what I didn't do.  We all have to look at it as a glass  half full.  I don't know about you, but I'm a list person too.  My lists aren't my goals, more like things  needing attention.  But they can definitely play a role into my goals.  They're more like small reflections to trigger other ideas. Not all of them are completed, but it makes me hyper-aware of some things needing to be done.

Go learn something new! I don't know what other states are like, but here in Texas, we are required to have 12 professional development hours each summer.  That's two workshops, and to me, it's simply not enough!  I think part of being a teacher librarian is learning, but we get the double whammy because we aren't only teacher librarians, but techbrarians and bookbrarians as well.  Keep an open mind and eyes wide open because there are so many great PD out there to choose from!  Go to a library conference like ALA to not only get your PD hours, but fulfill your book, technology and teaching all at once, but the books!!!  Or try PD from a local or regional source.  Whatever it is you attend, the most important thing to bring back is an idea you can implement.  ONE idea will make a difference.  Six hours of a workshop goes by in a blur, so get your focus on and choose one, two or three ideas and work them over in your mind during the summer.  Trying to do it all never succeeds and can lead to overload quickly.

Advocate for school libraries! "Not me!" you say?  Hold on...yes you.  Sometimes we think of advocacy as talking, standing in front of an audience extolling the virtues of the importance of libraries.  Yes, there are some doing just that.  But there are others who advocate just as strongly with a quiet presence.  Librarians I love, know and admire make a difference on social media like Twitter by advocating with words and belonging to PLNs with administrator presence.  Other librarians advocate through technology and make their webpages to be a visual advocacy piece hard to overlook.  Still other librarians go online and faithfully blog about the wonderful books (e-books and otherwise) coming out as well as integrating them into reading lists for summer programming.  You also have librarians who work well in a smaller setting and taking partnerships to another level.
What's the best thing about summertime?  ICE CREAM!!  Think of librarians as ice cream.  There are all sorts of flavors out there, even the specialty ones (my favorite is pecan pie ice cream).  And then come the toppings....Who would want to live in a world of only chocolate or vanilla ice cream?  It takes different types of librarians advocating different ways.  This build-up is what creates the power behind advocacy.

So, enjoy your summer!  Read a book while your out there on a long trip.  Take a device on an airplane, put on headphones and listen to audio books while watering the back yard.  Even during the summer, a little bit of librarian always comes out along with the tan lines :)

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