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First year goals for a library program

From an LM_Net post this morning:
Dear Great Brain, [this was addressed to the collective brain that is LM_Net, not me. But you guessed that.]

I need to write up my goals for the year and give them to my principal. I have a few general ideas such as collaborating with teachers as much as possible, becoming a good resource for them, teaching students to use the databases, starting a lunch time book club, and decorating the library with student art. If you could send me any other ideas that seem reasonable for a first year in high school it would be much appreciated...I love creative ideas.


Hmmm, I personally get asked this question at least a couple times a year. Below is my standard response to which I can now refer when the question comes up again. Ain't blogs wonderful...

Dear Diane and other LMSs new to the profession or a school:

My advice is based on Johnson's Three Commandments of a Successful Library Program:

  1. Thou shall develop shared ownership of the library and all it contains.
  2. Thou shall have written annual objectives tied directly to school and curriculum goals and bend all thy efforts toward achieving them.
  3. Thou shall take thy light out from under thy damn bushel and share with others all the wonders thou doest perform.

Pretty good, huh? What do you think the job of biblical prophet pays nowadays?

These would be my goals for my first year at a school:

  1. Establish a formal library advisory committee comprised of teachers, parents, and students. And the building administrator if his/her leadership style is collaborative, not dictatorial. (See Advisory Advice.) Oh, get on your building's improvement committee/leadership team ASAP.)
  2. Work with this committee to establish collaboratively-created goals and a good budget. You may wish to conduct a library survey and do a collection evaluation to give direction to these goals. (See tools here for examples.)
  3. Quickly establish a formal communication plan with four main audiences: your students, your staff, your principal and your parents. (See Using Planning and Reporting to Build Program Support)

While I applaud you for wishing to do individual collaborative projects with teachers immediately, do not neglect a long-term, systematic approach to developing a program that has buy-in by the entire staff.  You need a school culture that values and uses the library's program and resources, not just a few enthusiastic teachers. Be strategic!

Good luck and let me know how things go!


PS. This probably not all that bad of advice for technology integration specialists starting out either.

Blue Skunk readers - Your advice for first year goals???

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Reader Comments (5)

Hey I'm a first year teacher librarian, this just fits the bill. I don't hink I'll be able to do it all but I can always measure a few pieces. Thanks!

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

These are ambitious and wonderful goals! I'll add two, down to earth ones: 1) Get very friendly with your building maintenance staff (especially if your library is used for meetings, parties, events etc.)
2) Try to say "yes" to everything you possibly can (budget permitting). A little inconvenience now can build strong relationships and a reputation for willingness, agree-ability and accommodation.

October 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMaureen

@ Thanks, Susan. I hope the original poster to LM_Net posts a hit too.


@ Hi Maureen,

Yours are good reminders than establishing a reputation for being positive and supportive are essential as well.

Thanks for posting!


October 4, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Doug - I have three things that I ask 1st year librarians to do (or not to do) in my district:

1. Don't do anything to alienate a teacher, student or your administrator.
2. Don't do anything to hurt a child (emotionally or physically) - overdue books just aren't that important.
3. Spend your book money.

Those are a little tongue-in-cheek, but seriously, we do encourage new librarians to spend a lot of time working on building trust and relationships with the people on their campuses. Teachers just don't want to collaborate with people that they don't trust to do right by their kids. It's also difficult to get assigned to any campus committees or leadership teams until you have established a professional working relationship with teachers and administrators.

October 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMary

@ Mary,

Oh, the first two are givens for sure. The third echos my philosophy that "they can't take away money you've already spent" and to have 90% your book budget spent by January!

Good goals. Thanks,


October 14, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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