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Promotion and Advocacy

Library Action Plan

I was given a scenario and asked to create and present an action plan to my "administration" for solving an issue in my library, along with developing resources to promote the solution as appropriate.

February 17, 2011

 Mr. John X, Principal

Student Junior High School

107 Academy Road

Kent, Ohio 44240

 

Dear Mr. X:

Recently, the plan for updating the library catalog to a modern automation system was completed as outlined in the proposal approved before.  I have noticed, however, that the project would benefit from a second phase of implementation designed to raise awareness and educate the faculty and students on all of the new features available to them now.  Many of the new tools available will, I think, assist teachers greatly in finding and utilizing more of the resources the library has, and students will benefit from being able to use the new catalog to find extra sources for their school projects and for enjoyment.  If the system is used to its fullest capacity, we should not only see a positive impact in student success and in teacher preparation, but the system will save the school money over time by helping us make full use of the resources we already have and helping us pinpoint the best areas for spending our budget to develop our library collection.  And of course, an up-to-date, highly trafficked library is a wonderful selling point as we continue the quest to demonstrate excellence to the state and our major stakeholders in the community.  I am greatly looking forward to being able to support the school and the students with this valuable new resource.

 Overview: Current Project Standing

The school library is now fully automated.  All books, audiovisuals, teacher resources and other materials are cataloged in the computer, accessible through the library’s Web page, and available for checkout to teachers and students.  Two new computers have been installed on the main floor of the library as dedicated catalog search stations, allowing students to locate library resources during their visit, even if the computer lab is occupied by a class.  An additional two machines have been installed in the teacher resource area, reserved for faculty cataloging and research during their planning time. 

Currently, the new equipment, while seeing some use, is not being used to full capacity.  Teachers and students who do use the machines seem confused and are often not aware of the new extent of the catalog collection, which now includes many extra resources not originally in our paper catalog.  This is especially true for teachers, who have been surprised to learn that many games, standards-based activities, and lesson plans and materials are now able to be located and checked out through the new system.  Students are using the basic catalog features, but are not aware of many features that would enable them to locate extra resources for homework assignments, communicate with their peers, or save materials for later reference.

In addition, the technology coordinator has graciously offered us a large number of older machines the high school word processing lab is no longer in need of.  While the extra systems are certainly appreciated, their age and lack of current software make them inadequate for the heavy usage the library computers generally see.

Recommendations

I would like to recommend a five-step action plan to implement the second phase of the library’s automation.  I believe this project will assist us to make the most of the new resources the district has purchased, and ultimately will be in our students’ best interests.

  1. I would like to recommend a campaign to raise awareness and educate the students on the new features of the library system.  Most of our students are tech-savvy, and once they recognize the similarities between the library OPAC and many of the Web apps they are used to working with, I think they will be enthusiastic about using the new catalog.  My observations in the last few weeks suggest that students are simply not aware of the new features, an issue which can be remedied during their library skills lesson time and reinforced with a desktop wallpaper to remind them of the new resources they can use.  I would also like to meet with our core subject departments to discuss possible incentives for the students when they review books checked out for class or pleasure reading, and possibly arrange for some of our student volunteers to videotape a commercial for the video announcements on the new system.  I would like for the students to get as much use as possible out of the system since the district has invested the money into it.
  1. I recommend a training session during our next faculty meeting or during our monthly department meetings to educate the faculty on the features in the new catalog.  I will be including some of the highlights in my monthly newsletter to the staff, but I believe the faculty would benefit more from a brief demonstration.  If done during the department meetings, the faculty members could experience a hands-on demonstration; otherwise, the catalog can be demonstrated on the projection screen.  I would also like to use this time to show them the computers now reserved for their use, and demonstrate the additional resources available to them in the catalog.  This should cut down on the issues teachers and students are having before school with finding available computers.  Once faculty understands how to use the system, it will ultimately save them time by allowing them to locate all available resources on a given topic quickly and easily.  This in turn will save the school money because we will be able to locate and use all available resources.  New resources will only be ordered as needed, rather than simply because older ones were forgotten or misplaced.  I will support and reinforce training with print information in the resource center as well.
  1. I would like to feature the new system on the library’s Web page and create some additional promotional tools our school can use when communicating with the district and state representatives, as well as the school board and any outside parties that may be interested in granting us additional funding.  The spotlight on the benefits of the new system and pictures of our students engaged in productive activity in our library will help to foster a good image of our school in the community.  I would like to meet with you briefly to discuss the other promotional tools that will serve the school’s interests best, perhaps a PowerPoint that can be displayed at meetings or a color flyer or newsletter highlighting the advantages of the updated library for our stakeholders. Once I better understand the school’s needs in this area, I can begin creating those resources for you.  The updated library can be one of our greatest marketing tools as we meet with the state this year, and I would like to support the work of the school to the fullest in this area.
  1. The technology coordinator has donated almost thirty machines from the high school word processing lab.  These machines are not really suitable for use in the library computer lab, due to low memory and older hardware and software, which often slows them down significantly.  Several of our core subject teachers, however, only have one computer in their classrooms, generally attached to their SmartBoard.  Instead of trying to maintain these machines as high-volume broad-use machines, I would like to recommend that these machines be distributed and installed in our teachers’ classrooms to create in-class computer workstations.  Several of our teachers, particularly in language arts and social studies, have commented that they would like to have three to five machines for students to work on individual projects, do light research, or use for word processing.  These machines are still fully capable of word processing, and could probably tolerate light usage in other areas.  I would like to meet with you and the technology coordinator to discuss this option and have outlined a potential action plan for their installation in the classrooms if this meets with everyone’s approval.  Moving these machines to the classrooms would free up library space, we will not have to worry about storing them, the classrooms will benefit from the additional technology and we will continue to be able to use our resources effectively.  Putting these machines in areas of lighter use should also lessen maintenance and troubleshooting for them, and the library will still be available for full-class projects and heavier-use needs.  Further, additional computers in the classroom will prevent teachers from having to send individual students to the library.  Keeping students in class will make sure they do not miss instruction or waste time moving between the library and the classroom.
  1. I would like to look into a training program for my aide to attend.  While she will not be doing major cataloging, it would be beneficial for her to be more comfortable with the system.  If budget does not permit her to attend, I will train her myself.  After she has gone through training, she will be training our student volunteers to do check-ins and check-outs.  I think this will invest our student volunteers more fully in their jobs, in the library and in the school by giving them a sense of responsibility and ownership.

Action Plan

The automation of the library has been a smooth and highly successful project.  However, the process is not complete until the new system is fully incorporated into the daily routines of the school, both for students and for faculty and staff.  The implementation of this second phase of the library’s automation consists of five major phases: 1. education and training of the students, 2. education and training of the faculty and other adult patrons, 3. proof of the system’s worth to administration and community and district stakeholders, 4. redirection and disposal of older or outdated equipment, and 5. training of library volunteers and paraprofessionals. 

I.  Education and training of students

A.    All students come to the library at least once a month for library skills training as part of their social studies course.  A lesson plan will be prepared and taught over the next month to the entire student body.  This lesson plan will cover the use of the new catalog system, and highlight features that will make locating resources easier for students.  The lesson will make a point of highlighting new features that address common student concerns or complaints.

B.     Signage will be created to remind students to use the dedicated catalog machines when coming in individually during classes, particularly during times of high-volume usage of the computer lab area.

C.     A desktop wallpaper will be placed on all library computers as a reminder to students (and faculty) of the features of the new library catalog.  All features will be discussed and used during the library skills lesson; the wallpaper will act as a refresher to keep new features in mind and help encourage the students to form new habits when using the catalog.

D.    The librarian will visit department meetings of the language arts, science and social studies departments to briefly discuss possible incentives for the students to write reviews of books they have read for class or pleasure, such as extra credit.

E.     The library staff will discuss additional incentives for using the review and tagging features of the new OPAC to be given out for at least the first two months of implementation.  Incentive programs will focus on random-chance prizes such as a drawing, in order to keep students from relying solely on external rewards for review comments.

F.      The librarian will recruit student volunteers and assist them in writing and videotaping a short “commercial” for the new catalog system to be shown during student video announcements.  This will take place prior to the lesson plan to generate student interest.

Time/budget involved:

  • Creation and teaching of lesson – part of normal routine, no added cost
  • Visiting of department meetings – language arts meeting is part of normal routine, two brief meetings of ten to fifteen minutes with social studies and science
  • Signage creation – fifteen to thirty minutes, appropriate supplies already at the school
  • Desktop wallpaper creation and implementation – thirty minutes, no cost
  • Library staff meeting – part of normal routine, no additional cost

II.  Education and training of faculty

  1. The librarian will speak at next faculty meeting to give a brief overview of the new catalog system, and will highlight features of interest at that time using the library equipment to give a demonstration.  Librarian will also communicate major benefits that are pertinent to teachers, such as linked subject headings for research, and teacher resources available in the system.
  1. The librarian will include a catalog features corner in the monthly newsletter to the faculty that highlights one or two useful features or resources.  This will give teachers one or two new tools on a regular basis without overwhelming them.
  1. The librarian will create signage in the teacher resources area and create a desktop wallpaper for the dedicated computer(s) there with quick tips and reminders specifically relevant to teachers.

Time/budget involved:

  • Faculty meeting presentation – Thirty to forty minutes to create, presentation part of normal routine, all equipment and supplies already available
  • Newsletter – already part of normal routine, no additional cost
  • Signage – thirty to sixty minutes for creation and posting, all materials already at the school, no additional cost

III. Proof of worth to stakeholders

A.    The librarian will include the new system and some brief highlights as an announcement on the library’s home page for access by any member of the public.  The home page will be linked to a page that spotlights the acquisition more thoroughly including pictures of students using the new equipment and bullets that note the positive impacts of automation on student achievement.

B.     The librarian will begin monthly summary reports of circulation statistics, Accelerated Reader statistics and library use statistics with growth or other positive impacts noted.

C.     The librarian will create a promotional tool that best suits the administration’s upcoming needs, such as a PowerPoint or one-page brochure highlighting the features of the new system as they relate to student achievement, including any growth in library use or scores, and advantages in resource location for students and teachers and financial savings to the school.  The tool will be targeted to stakeholders such as district-level administration, state officials, school board members and other community or outside stakeholders and can be used at the administration’s discretion as evidence of growth and positive changes at the school, and by the librarian or any faculty or staff when applying for outside grants or funding.

Time/budget involved:

  • Web page design – approximately one hour, some time is part of normal routine in keeping the Web page updated, no materials cost.
  • Monthly reports – thirty minutes to an hour to set up, approximately fifteen minutes monthly to run
  • Promotional tool – one to two hours, may include some printing cost offset by positive rapport with community and potential funding from outside sources as a result

IV. Redirection and disposal of older or outdated equipment

A.    The librarian will meet with the technology coordinator and the principal to discuss alternative plans for older equipment distribution and housing.

B.     The librarian will speak briefly at the next faculty meeting (included in new catalog system briefing) and will explain the coming survey and the addition of computer workstations to appropriate classrooms for the purpose of word processing and light research.

C.     The librarian will send out a brief mandatory survey to all faculty to glean information on the number of computers present currently in each room and individual teacher preferences for computer workstations, along with current teacher planning times.

D.    The technology coordinator and staff will do a physical survey of impacted classrooms for needed tables and chairs, locations of outlets, needed equipment, such as surge protectors and cords, and current room arrangement.  If needed, the coordinator will speak with the teachers to ask the preferred setup for the incoming machines.

E.     The technology coordinator and staff will survey the machines awaiting removal and test for functionality.  Machines that are damaged or unable to be maintained at a reasonable working level will be recycled.  Any additional cords or paraphernalia needed will be located or purchased at this time.  Additional tables or workspaces will be located with the help of the custodial staff

F.      The technology coordinator will determine an appropriate date for the moving and installation of the computer workstations into the classrooms.  Faculty will be notified one week in advance and required to have any current furniture arranged appropriately.  The coordinator, staff, and custodians will carry out the installation of the workstations.  Every attempt will be made to coordinate installation with teacher planning times to avoid disruption to class as much as possible. 

G.    The librarian will arrange for any extra usable machines to be housed in the computer lab or equipment storage areas.

Time/budget involved:

  • Faculty meeting – part of normal routine, no additional cost
  • Faculty Survey – fifteen to thirty minutes creation and distribution, minimal copying costs, ten to fifteen minutes per faculty member for answering and return
  • Physical survey – two to four hours depending on number of classrooms involved
  • Equipment survey and purchase – may take up to twenty hours depending on number of machines, additional equipment needed should run under $200 for minor accessories such as working mouses, surge protectors or power cords, machines in poor condition will be discarded as per district policy
  • Moving and installation – should be able to be accomplished in under one working day
  • Extra equipment storage – one to four hours depending on available space

V. Training of library paraprofessional and volunteers

A.    The librarian will research training options for the library aide on the new OPAC and present a list of options and costs to the administration within two weeks. 

B.     If a training option is approved, the library aide will attend a professional development training on use of the new OPAC.

C.     If a professional training option is not available, the librarian will train the library aide in the use of the library catalog, including checking books in and out and running basic reports (overdue books, etc).  The library aide will not be responsible for cataloging new material; this will be handled through copy cataloging and MARC record adjustments by the librarian.

D.    The library aide will meet with all student volunteers during their normal working time and train them in checking books in and out of the system.  The aide will, if present, also be responsible for training any parent or community volunteers interested in manning the circulation desk.

 Time/budget involved:

  • Aide training: one to two hours, may take more time than ordinarily required due to aide’s unfamiliarity with computer systems
  • Volunteer training: approximately fifteen minutes per volunteer, additional follow-up or refreshers as needed

Resource: Library computer desktop wallpaper

The resource included is part of the plan to market the new catalog to the student stakeholders.  Recognizing that if students understand how the library catalog can help them, they will use it more willingly and effectively, part of the plan calls for raising student awareness and enthusiasm.  The desktop of a computer is a highly visible, often overlooked, place to communicate basic information.  Every student, teacher or administrator coming into the library to use a computer will immediately see information highlighting some of the features of the new system, particularly ones that may not be intuitive or highly visible.  The desktop will point out features the stakeholders in the library may not have been aware of, and will serve as a reminder to any patron using the library of the new features available to them, helpful for students who are absent for the catalog lesson or who have forgotten and need a refresher.  The design includes room on the side for desktop icons to prevent them from obscuring information.






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