Cool Tools for Schools, Thing 26: Taking the Lead & Connecting with Stakeholders, Part III

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What can you do to amp up your outreach & advocacy?

I think my biggest takeaway from the webinar is that most of my advocacy efforts are missing the mark and need to be overhauled ASAP. The second biggest takeaway is that I could absolutely be doing more to connect with my stakeholders and share what I (and the library) can do for them. Here are some of the ideas I’d like to implement:

For my Administrator: 

  • I mentioned this already in my infographics post but, I want to turn my monthly library report into an infographic that is faster, easier to read and, more eye-catching them my usual email report
  • I now know I’ve been focusing on the data and information that I think is important but not necessarily what my principal would find most important and I need to change that. Future reports will focus on how what I’m doing is helping students and teachers succeed/meet their goal
  • Our school also has collaboration time for the teachers built-in to the end of each day. Right now, the special areas teachers get their classes during that time and that includes me. However, I’ve always wanted to be free that period of the day to attend the collaborations. It would give me a chance to connect with the teachers and find out what they’re working on and how I can be of help. I’ve found out about several projects too late to offer any real or timely assistance. Thanks to this week’s Cool Tool, I’m making a data driven case I’m going to present to my principal asking to be left off the collaboration schedule next year so I can be part of the planning and sharing. I’m not sure if it will happen but she’ll know I asked and that I cared.
  • On that same note, I’ve never been invited to one of our monthly data meetings. I’m going to ask about being included in some of those as well. Wish me luck!

For my Teachers: 

  • I think my center summaries are hitting the mark for the most part but I thought of something else I could add that would make them even better.Over the summer, I took a class where we examined the testing data from our schools. It pinpointed what skill areas our students didn’t do well in. I could add to my center reports a notation of which tested skill area my centers are addressing and really hammer home the role I’m playing in helping our students succeed and in turn, helping make them look good.
  • I started a Pinterest page for our library and an email newsletter (via Smore.com) for our teachers. Except, I only sent one email so far. I’ve done a fair job updating the Pinterest account every week or so but not such a great job of keeping teachers updated via email. So, I’m going to make a huge effort to schedule in those email newsletters and stick to that schedule!
  • Speaking of those email newsletters, I loved the webinars suggestions for keeping them brief by sticking to three main shares. I think I’ll be going with one tech tip, a few Pinterest favorites from our library boards and, a book pairing suggestion.
  • I like the idea of creating screenshots explaining how to do certain tasks or access library resources and creating a collection of them for teachers to access when I’m not around to help.
  • I need to gather their feedback at the end of the year so I can make adjustments and ensure our program is meeting their needs (looking forward to Think 29 for help on how to best do this!)

For my Parents: 

  • Another one where I realized I was really missing the mark and only providing the information I thought was important to know. My newsletter submissions each month have essentially been a scaled back version of what I’ve shared with my principal. I think I can keep some information about what we’re covering in library classes in the newsletter (I want parents to know this is a class and their kids are actually learning things in here, not just checking out books) but I think I’ll try to summarize it quickly with another infographic.
  • For the actual newsletter articles, I loved the suggestion (again so simple, yet so huge an impact) to share information about safety (like internet safety tips or discussing digital footprints) or how to help their students succeed (great websites or resources for learning etc).
  • I need to share more programming/event related news as well. I realized I missed a huge opportunity to seek out donations for our maker space from parents and families of our students. I emailed the teachers before Spring Break that any and all crafting supplies they might be looking to get rid of would be welcome additions to our supply cabinet but I could have gotten even more if I’d put something similar in the library newsletter last month!

For my Students: 

  • Some of my students get the library layout and how to use call numbers to help them find their books and others still really, really struggle. I’ve experimented with ThingLink earlier this year and I’m wondering if I could use it to create a library tour and attach it to our library catalog somehow. Then, after students have their call numbers written down, they could click on the ThingLink of the library and use it to help them locate the section of the library their book will be in.
  • I need to gather their feedback at the end of the year so I can make adjustments and ensure our program is meeting their needs (looking forward to Think 29 for help on how to best do this!)

Random Advocacy Ideas/Thoughts: 

  • I loved the idea of coming up with a yearly theme for the library and can’t wait to come up with one for next year!
  • I liked the idea of offering summer planning help. Our district is great about inviting the librarians to present during our staff development days but taking it a step further and making myself available during the summer hours would be a great step in establishing relationships and showing my commitment to teacher success.
  • I also loved the idea of giving teachers a summary infographic after a training session and maybe even sending them a link with the infographic ThingLinked.
  • I also loved the idea of coming up with a library logo to use consistently across social media platforms. My attempt at creating one for our library is at the top of this post. The kids know I love owls so it will hopefully make them think of me and the library when they see it. Also, he’s a little silly and whimsical which I love and hope it helps people think of the library as more than just a stuffy, quiet, serious place. Finally, the tagline “Books are just the beginning” really spoke to me (I found it on an ALA page devoted to creative library slogans). I think it can mean that there is more to our library and our library programs than just books but, it can also mean that books and knowledge are the first steps in any successful journey.

Read Part I here

Read Part II here

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