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Tuesday
Jan102012

A 12 Point Library Program Checklist for School Principals - 2012

Note: This week I am on a "writing holiday" from my day job. I'm using the time to work on a revision of my 1997 book The Indispensable Librarian. (Personally, I think it is still just fine, but others have asked if we still use Gopher as a search tool in our district.) While I wrote the draft for my last book I took advantage of Blue Skunk readers, using you as a sounding board for my book materials. Consider yourselves so used again. Thank you. – Doug

Below is a small section from the chapter on program assessment. This checklist has been around for a dozen years, but this is the latest incarnation. Additions???

A 12 Point Library Program Checklist for School Principals

The simple checklist below can be used to quickly evaluate your building’s program with your building principal’s collaboration. It is not a good substitute for some of the ideas mentioned previously in this chapter, but it can provide a discussion starter for additional assessment efforts.

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Rapid changes in technology, learning research, and the library profession in the past 20 years have created a wide disparity in the effectiveness of school library programs. Is your school's library keeping current? The checklist below can be used to quickly evaluate your program.

1. Professional staff and duties

  • Does your library have the services of a fully licensed school librarian?
  • Is that person fully engaged in professional duties? Is there a written job description for all library personnel: clerical, technical, and professional?
  • Does the librarian understand the changing roles of the librarian as described in current professional publications by state and national library organizations?
  • Does the librarian offer regular staff development opportunities in information literacy, information technologies, and integration of these skills into the content area?
  • Is the librarian an active member of a professional organization?
  • Is the librarian considered a full member of the teaching faculty?

2. Professional support

  • Is sufficient clerical help available to the librarian so that she/he can perform professional duties rather than clerical tasks?
  • Is sufficient technical help available to the librarian so that she/he can perform professional duties rather than technical tasks?
  • Is there a district library supervisor, leadership team, or department chair who is responsible for planning and leadership?
  • Does the building principal, site leadership committee and staff development team encourage library personnel to attend workshops, professional meetings, and conferences that will update their skills and knowledge?
  • Does the librarian participate in your district’s Professional Learning Communities and in informal Personal Learning Networks?

3. Collection size and development

  • Does the library’s book and audiovisual collection meet the needs of the curriculum? Has a baseline print collection size been established? Is the collection well-weeded?
  • Is a variety of media available that will address different learning styles?
  • Have on-line resources been added to the collection when appropriate? Are there sufficient computers and Internet bandwidth for groups of students to take advantage of these resources?
  • Has a recent assessment been done that balances print collection size and digital resources? Have some print materials been supplanted by on-line subscriptions? Has space formerly used to house print materials been effectively repurposed?
  • Are new materials chosen from professional selection sources and tied to the curriculum through collection mapping?

 4. Facilities

  • Is the library located so it is readily accessible from all classrooms? Does it have an outside entrance so it can be used for community functions evenings and weekends?
  • Does the library have an atmosphere conducive to learning with serviceable furnishings, instructional displays, and informational posters? Is the library carpeted with static-free carpet to reduce noise and protect electronic devices? Is the library climate-controlled so that materials and equipment will not be damaged by high heat and humidity, and so that it can be used for activities during the summer?
  • Does the library contain general instructional areas, a story area (in elementary schools), a presentation area (in secondary schools), and spaces for individuals, small groups and entire classes to work?
  • Does the library contain a computer lab or wireless laptops/netbooks for students and teachers working with a class or independently in the library and for the librarian to use to teach? Does the library contain and support multi-media workstations and digital video production facilities?
  • Is the library fully networked with voice, video and data lines in adequate quantities? Does the library serve as the "hub" of these information networks with routers, file servers, video head ends, and technical staff housed there?
  • Does the library maintain a useful, up-to-date web presence with linked resources for students, staff and families?

5. Curriculum and integration

  • Is the librarian an active member of grade level and/or team planning groups?
  • Is the librarian an active member of content curriculum writing committees?
  • Is the librarian a part of grade-level or content area Professional Learning Communities?
  • Are library resources examined as a part of the content areas’ curriculum review cycle?
  • Are library and information technology skills taught as part of content areas rather than in isolation? Are the information literacy skills of evaluating, processing and communicating information being taught as well as accessing skills?
  • Is the safe and appropriate use of online resources a part of the information and technology literacy curriculum?

6. Resource-based teaching

  • Does the librarian with assistance from building and district leadership promote teaching activities that go beyond the textbook and provide materials to help differentiate instruction?
  • Do teachers and administrators view the librarian as an instructional design and authentic assessment resource? Does the library program support inquiry based and student centered learning activities throughout all curricular areas? Does the librarian collaborate with students and teachers to create a wide range of opportunities that enable the development and practice critical thinking skills and responsible digital citizenship?
  • Does some flexible scheduling in the building permit the librarian to be a part of teaching teams with classroom teachers, rather than only covering teacher preparation time?
  • Is a clear set of information literacy and technology benchmarks written for all grade levels available? Are these benchmarks assessed in a joint effort of the librarian and classroom teacher? Are the results of these assessments shared with stakeholders?

7. Information technology

  • Does the library give its users access to recent information technologies such as:
    • an on-line library catalog and circulation system for the building collection
    • access to an on-line union catalog of district holdings as well as access to the catalogs of public, academic and special libraries from which interlibrary loans can be made
    • full on-line access to the Internet
    • a wide variety of online reference tools like full text periodical indexes, encyclopedias, atlases, concordances, dictionaries, thesauruses, reader's advisors and almanacs
    • a wide variety of computerized productivity programs appropriate to student ability level such as word processors, multi-media and presentation programs, spreadsheets, databases, desktop publishing program, graphic creation programs, still and motion digital image editing software
    • access to collaborative learning/networking tools such as wikis, blogs and other online sharing programs and cloud computing resources such as online productivity tools and file storage?
    • access to desktop conferencing equipment and software
    • educational computer programs including practices, simulations and tutorials that support the curriculum
  •  Are the skills needed to use these resources being taught to and with teachers by the librarian?

8. Reference, networking & interlibrary loan

  • Does your librarian have the expertise needed to provide effective and timely reference services to the building students and staff?
  • Is your school a member of a regional multi-type system or library consortium?
  • Does the librarian use interlibrary loan to fill student and staff requests that cannot be met by building collections?
  • Does the librarian participate in cooperative planning and purchasing opportunities with other schools, both locally and regional?

9. Planning/yearly goals

  • Does the library program have a district-wide set of long-range goals?
  • Does the librarian set yearly goals based on the long-term goals that are tied directly to building and curriculum goals in collaboration with building leadership?
  • Is a portion of the librarian’s evaluation based on the achievement of the yearly goals?
  • Is the library program represented on the building planning committees? On the district technology planning committee?

10. Budgeting

  • Is the library program budget zero or objective based? Is the budget tied to program goals?
  • Does the librarian write clear rationales for the materials, equipment, and supplies requested?
  • Does the budget reflect both a maintenance and growth component for the program?
  • Does the librarian keep clear and accurate records of expenditures?
  • Does the librarian write grant applications when available?

11. Policies/communications

  • Are board policies concerning selection and reconsideration polices current and enforced? Is the staff aware of the doctrines of intellectual freedom and library user privacy? Do these policies extend to digital resources?
  • Does the district have a CIPA-compliant safe and acceptable use policy (or responsible use policy) for Internet and technology use?
  • Does the librarian serve as an interpreter of copyright laws? Does the librarian help others determine the rights they wish to assign to their own intellectual property?
  • Does the librarian have a formal means of communicating the goals and services of the program to the students, staff, administration, and community? Is the library's web presence professional, easy-to-navigate, current and useful? Does the librarian use social networking tools to communicate with stakeholders?

12. Evaluation

  • Does the librarian determine and report ways that show the goals and objectives of the program are being met and are helping meet the building and district goals? Does the librarian create an annual library report for administrators, staff and parents that includes qualitative and quantitative measurements?
  • Do all new initiatives involving the library and technology program have an evaluation component?
  • Does the district regularly evaluate the library program using external teams of evaluators as part of any accreditation process?
  • Does the librarian participate in formal studies conducted by academic researchers when requested?

The purpose of this tool is not serve as formal evaluation of either the librarian or library program, but to help the building administrator become aware of areas where you may need additional resources and assistance in order to make a major impact on you school’s overall program.

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Reader Comments (4)

You are posting an important educational article. It's great for any conscious minded people.
Thanks
Borhan Uddin
"Private Middle School Miami"

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBorhan Uddin

Portuguese translation for this post (thanks): http://www.slideshare.net/zevit/johnson-2012-12-points-checklist-pt

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaria Jose Vitorino

Educators should take note of this.

January 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Case

Yeah that is really fantastic and exciting to read your dwI hope you never stop! This is one of the best blogs Ive ever read. Youve got some mad skill here, man. I just hope that you dont lose your style because youre definitely one of the coolest bloggers out there. Please keep it up because the internet needs someone like you spreading the word. Thank you.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfrances55

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