Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
Over the past three years, I have been asked to go through our school’s Strategic Plan, look at the goals and note for each goal, how the Library is supporting each goal. This has been a great exercise! I am now fully aware of the direction the school is heading. I am more involved in the combined efforts of our entire school community to reach our goals. Also, I can see the gaps the Library can fill, to support these school-wide goals. I can also offer suggestions for complementary Library Development.
flickr image by kvanhorn
The Ministry of Education website tells us:
“Change is part of education. A strategic plan is a tool that helps manage change to the best advantage of the school, including staff, students and the community. It encourages looking ahead and managing the future risks and uncertainties. It means that the school is flexible and able to respond to new ideas. It enables a board to plan for the future in a proactive rather than a reactive way.”
The structure as set by the Ministry of Education in its Schools Financial Sector is:
The Strategic Plan tells where we want to be. It will:
As you can see by the model above, the Strategic Plan is where all the decisions for school directions and spending are made. The Annual Plan is more about when and where the tasks in the Strategic Plan will be completed. To be more involved at the long-term planning stage, and to have the Library service taken into account , then check out your school’s Strategic Plan and get your Library written into it.
Now you have that option with YouTube video clips. There are many aspects of library use that can be described and demonstrated via video format. From what type of material the library holds to how to search on a specific database – all can be turned into a YouTube video that can be viewed at any time by teaching staff and students.
A great example of this are the Library Minute videos which take Arizona State University students through a range of tasks including:
These short informative videos are all about one minute long and available 24/7 for students to refer to. The common format used across the series makes these a very accessible resource for all library users.
This idea could easily be adapted to a school library situation to cover a range of tasks that will help your students navigate and use the library. Another example you might like to check out is Michelle Luhtala from New Canaan High School Library demonstrating the ProQuest database.
YouTube is, of course, one of many social media tools available to support school library activities and programmes. Laura Summers discusses others in her article "The value of social software in school library instruction, communication & collaboration."
flickr image by redsoul300
Due to the prevalence of social networking in both personal and professional communication there are a number of possible issues which may arise in its use within a school library context. These issues can be addressed by a school wide social media policy that incorporates guidelines for the use of social networking tools by staff and students.
This type of policy will clearly state what staff and students can and cannot do in relation to social networking culminating in what constitutes acceptable use. It is important to include clearly defined guidelines on what is deemed confidential and proprietary information so that library staff are clear as to what can and cannot be discussed, commented on, or published within an online environment.
With the wide application of social networking and its adoption by staff from all areas and levels across the school there must also be an emphasis on the role of every individual in representing themselves authentically in any online context and taking responsibility for what is written within a professional context.
To gain an idea of what is required within a school social networking policy your library team can refer to examples from other schools and organisations. Elyssa Kroski sites several examples in her article Should Your Library Have a Social Media Policy? There will be common elements and formats which can be useful in developing a policy which is representative of current best practice but customisable to suit the specific requirements of your school library. Steven Taffee includes nine guidelines in Social networking guidelines for school employees which centre around social networking sites that may be used by students and staff.
By creating this policy school library communications via social networking tools come from carefully considered guidelines that will contribute to the quality and professionalism of your school library online presence.
In the next article we will look more closely at library activities which social networking can support.
Fleet, D. (2009). Social Media Policies: An introduction
Lauby, S. (2009). Should Your Company Have a Social Media Policy?
Lauby, S. (2009). 10 Must-Haves for Your Social Media Policy
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