Cool Tools for School, Thing 33: Taking the Lead-Connecting with Stakeholders

This was one of the Cool Tools we looked at when I was in Track 3 last year. So, I thought I’d look at what I wrote up last year and see how I’ve done with those goals, what still needs to be done, and what I’ve changed my mind about entirely.


Last Year’s Goal 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 still want to do this but, I’m loathe to admit I’ve fallen off the monthly report bandwagon this year. I’ve done more of a quarterly report and not really on purpose. So this is still an area I need to work on unfortunately.

  • 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

One of the big reasons I’ve fallen off the monthly report band wagon this year was because I knew I wanted to find not only a different way to present my information, but different information to present her with and I haven’t figured out exactly what information about how I’m helping teachers and students succeed to present. This is where I need to go back to my EBP thoughts and ideas and use them to revamp my monthly report (and ASAP!).

  • 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!

This is an area where I did find some success! We changed how/when we do the collaboration time in our building and while I’m not free from classroom duty for all of them, I am free every other week. And, the meetings happen in the library so I’m naturally present. On a less positive side, no one ever seems to need to meet with me and I’m having trouble interjecting myself into their meeting time. I’m going to work on this for the second half of the school year. It can’t hurt to just mention I’m there and available at the start of each meeting, right?

Last Year’s Goals 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’m still doing the summaries when we do centers but I’m also doing more long term projects/units this year so it hasn’t seemed necessary to give a monthly summary about those projects were in the middle of at month’s end. I’m also still working on noting all the areas we’re hitting so this is still a work in progress goal.

  • I started a Pinterest page for our library and an email newsletter (via 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!

I’m still adding to the library Pinterest boards whenever something catches my eye but I’ve done a terrible job promoting it with the teachers. I have a few followers but none of them are my fellow teachers! I also didn’t get a lot of feedback/readers of the Smore newsletter I sent and kind of dropped it. But, it was the only one I sent and I didn’t give people a chance to get use to them and depend on them. I should definitely give these another chance.

  • 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 still think this is a great idea and will keep it in mind when I’m re-launching my Smore newsletters!

  • 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.

Still love this idea but, never got it off the ground. I should at least start with making a list of potential videos to make…

  • 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!)

Gah! I never did this either! Man, another great idea I wasted.

Last Year’s Goals 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!

Finally! One I’m actually doing!! I’ve definitely changed the monthly newsletter submission to include information that goes beyond what we’re doing in the library and trying to give parents more applicable information for their home lives. I’ve included websites, apps, book picks, craft suggestions, and highlights from the library that month. I tried to make it a flashy info graphic format but alas, the format our newsletter is created in doesn’t seem to support that. And, I’m still working on including programming information more consistently. I also created an Instagram for our library and got my first (and only) parent follower a few weeks ago. I plug the Instagram and Pinterest account on each newsletter. I also just realized that I should probably add them to my email signature too, off to do that as soon as I hit submit on this thing.

Last Year’s Goals 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!)

I still think a library Thing Link Map would be amazing! I should definitely make one of those-so I guess this makes another area where I didn’t get past the idea stage last year. Sigh. I’ll get there. I also did a terrible job gathering student feedback last year. So I guess this will be another goal I need to re-launch this year. On the plus side, it will pair nicely with my EBP goals so I can kill two birds with one stone on this one.

Last Year’s 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!

Still love it, still need to do it.

  • 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.

Still love it, still need to do it. This got stalled before summer ever got here because they put summer school in my building again this year (3 summers in a row!). The special ed department uses my library as their office/home base for summer school so I can’t really get in my room for 6 weeks out of the summer and that puts a damper on what I can get done during that time. Fingers crossed for this year being some other buildings turn to host.

  • 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 will definitely do this if I teach any professional development this year but so far, I haven’t done that.

  • 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.

This was a great idea but I was never 100% sold on the old logo I came up with so I played around this week with making another one and I think I finally nailed it:

I kept the slogan the same because I really do love it. I also started referring to it as the libratorium this year in all of the newsletter submissions and on our Instagram account as well.

This Year’s Random Advocacy Ideas/Thoughts: 

  • I never totally loved Symbaloo when I used it in Grad school for one of my classes but I’m starting to see where it could be a great way to house tons of resources on the library website. I think I should start converting to that, I’ve been wanting to do a website upgrade for awhile now anyway.
  • Loved the idea of app smashing an infographic with Thinglink. I will have to keep that in mind when I pull together specific resources for a teacher or a class this year.
  • I had never ever thought of adding book trailers to the catalog but that sounds incredibly cool. I don’t know if it would work the best with my elementary building but I’m thinking it could be worth a shot. I had wanted to do a book talkers club this year after seeing a presentation on it at last year’s NYLA/SSL conference and didn’t get any interest. Maybe adding the possibility of having their videos added to the catalog could up the ante/interest factor when I present it next year…
  • I had no idea, until I listened to the Jennifer LeGarde webinar, that web2Marc was a thing and I am obsessed with the idea now! I can’t wait to start a list of website that could be added to the catalog as resources. I think a lot of our teachers forget to check the library webpage but some of them still come down and check the catalog to see if we have resources they want and this could be a way to highlight our digital resources (especially the ones we pay for!). And best of all, this is an idea I can totally delegate to my library clerk!

Seriously though, if I’ve learned one thing from reviewing what I actually achieved after last year’s Cool Tool on taking the lead and connecting to stakeholders, I have a ton of great ideas and a very finite amount of time to get them done in. It’s time for me to prioritize, delegate, and make a real effort to get some of these things off the ground! The ideas are solid and the need for them is real. I need to make these a priority this year so next year, instead of a big list of things I never did, I can update everyone on how the ideas are going and what impact they have had on my program.

One response to “Cool Tools for School, Thing 33: Taking the Lead-Connecting with Stakeholders”

  1. Wow, wow, wow! So many amazing, great ideas. Better to have too many ideas and not be able to get to them all, than have no ideas at all! :) Great job on this post. (and love the libratorium logo.)

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