Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Middle School Monday: Lovely TBR Lists. Piles. Dreams.

If you’re coming back to work after a winter break, welcome! I hope it was restful. Oddly (and wonderfully), I did very little work over break. Except reading, if you count that as work. Which I don’t. Obviously. But, isn’t it dreamy that READING is technically considered part of our work? [Which is probably why many of us are librarians!]

Are you good at keeping your GoodReads account updated? I’m horrible. When a fellow librarian was hoping to check out recommendations via that account, I might have gasped. Then, apologized profusely. I’m a GoodReads slacker.

In addition to working to update my account, I also thought of the top five books on my TBR (To Be Read) list right now. I’m sharing mine with you…in the hopes that you share yours with me!

six-tbr-books

Ghetto Cowboy (2011) by G. Neri, The Sun Is Also a Star (2016) by Nicola Yoon, The Creeping Shadow (2016) by Jonathan Stroud (Number Four in the Lockwood & Co. series), The Last True Love Story (2016) by Brendan Kiely, Flying Lessons (2017) edited by Ellen Oh, and Labyrinth Lost (2016) by Zoraida Córdova. You may notice that there are six above, which means I clearly lied about the top five part. I’m going to say a bit about my outlier—Flying Lessons—because it’s not even a TBR book. It’s more like an ACRAS [Am Currently Reading and Savoring] book.

Flying Lessons has been on my TBR pile for longer than any other book, because I am SAVORING it. I’ve never understood when someone told me they were drawing a book out on purpose. I don’t do that. Can’t do that. I like to finish a book soon after I start it [to the detriment of my sleeping habits and state of my home]. But Flying Lessons? It begs to be drawn out. When I finish one powerful short story, there is no way I can jump into the next. I need to reflect on what I’ve just read. Looking forward to talking about this one more in the future on MSM!

I’m Julie Stivers at @BespokeLib and I can’t wait to read/finish all six. What’s on YOUR TBR list?

Have a great week!

Middle School Monday: Professional Development. Not the Optional Kind.

A Crucial Strand of PD.

We have an early-release day coming up. Does your school have those? Where you get to squeeze the work of a whole school day with students into a shorter time frame and then stay for meetings and/or professional development? Just typing that out is making me a bit tired.

This year, our staff is breaking up into small groups to work together on a professional development ‘strand’ of our choice. Two of our ELA teachers asked me to lead a strand on diverse literature. How awesome is that?

I eagerly said yes. Not only is it a favorite subject—and my guiding framework for collection development—but, we all need to be engaging in PD on this topic. We all need to continually be learning more. Thus, our REFLECTIVE LITERATURE PD strand was born. In addition to our ELA teachers from each grade, we also count our Assistant Principal and one of our Social Studies teachers as members.

Of course, the need for reflective literature is part of a larger conversation. When we talk about having books in our schools that reflect our students, their lived experiences, and their interests, it’s necessary to situate that idea in a discussion on culturally relevant pedagogy, structural inequities, institutional racism, and white privilege.

As we engage in these discussions with school staff, it’s helpful to remember that we are all at different points on our own cultural competence journeys. I thought I’d share our four point plan for our first meeting as these are resources or ideas that you might enjoy for yourself or want to share.

One. The Danger of a Single Story.

In Chimamanda Adichie’s illuminating TED Talk, The Danger of a Single Story, she shares her own first experiences with reading to drive home the point how “impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children.” She brings together insights on reading, writing, power, stereotypes and story. And the joy of reading books that reflect you. Even if you’ve seen this before, each time is a gift for us as viewers—new understandings, powerful ideas, and favorite quotes. It made an ideal kick-off to our discussion.

Two. Diversity in Children’s Books 2015 Infographic.

The CCBC infographic below—Diversity in Children’s Books 2015—appeared on Sarah Park Dahlen’s post, Picture This: Follow Up. [The powerful imagery draws on the Windows/Mirrors analogy for literature first written by Rudine Sims Bishop. If you’ve never read her original article, find it here.]

diversityinchildrensbooks2015_f

This infographic is talking strictly about QUANTITY. Debbie Reese’s post at A Close Look at CCBC’s 2015 Data breaks down the 0.9% for American Indians/First Nations even further—taking into account reviews and authors. It is a crucial complement to the raw publishing data.

We didn’t start with these numbers to depress us, but rather to galvanize us.

Three. Race: The Power of an Illusion.

After a quick walk-through of PBS’s informative site, Race: The Power of an Illusion, we broke apart to engage with the site on our own.

Four. #ownvoices.

We then talked about the importance and necessity of #ownvoices titles. I had curated a stack of novels from our library collection and gave EXTREMELY quick booktalks on the titles. We each then chose one to read for our next PD strand meeting. Below are some of the titles chosen.

picture-of-five-covers-ownvoices

I’m Julie Stivers at @BespokeLib and I get excited talking about reflective literature!

Middle School Monday: Reading Incentive Programs Limit More Than Choice

MSM1That a school librarian has something to say about reading incentive programs is not new. I’m not here to tell you whether or not to do them—but rather to talk about the one aspect of incentive programs that I see to be particularly damaging.

Several teachers I’ve known have used (and use) Book Adventure to track and or quiz student reading. Students then come into the library for an ‘ADVENTURE’ book. [When I first started at my current school, I misunderstood and thought students were asking for an adventure story. After initially thinking, ‘wow, these kids are really into adventure,’ I then understood.] Sigh. We’ve all probably been in this situation…and felt miserable watching a student put a book back on the shelf because it is not on an arbitrary list.

Here’s the problem with Book Adventure that came apparent very quickly as I started searching for books that students and I were choosing to see if they ‘qualified’. THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH #OWNVOICES AUTHORS AND STORIES. Let me give some examples of gaps that are simply not acceptable.

  • Ahem. Not one Matt de la Peña book is part of Book Adventure. Not one. This is our 2016 Newbery Award Winning Author. This is the author who just won NCTE’s Intellectual Freedom Award. Where is he?
  • Walter Dean Myers. Walter Dean Myers! Some of his novels are there, but no Monster. Monster! Printz Award Winner (and still fits within the K-8 Book Adventure framework).
  • Jason Reynolds? Not one.
  • Meg Medina? Nope.
  • Daniel José Older? Rita Williams-Garcia? Kekla Magoon? No. No. No. What?
  • Gene Luen Yang who is currently our National Ambassador for Young People’s LIterature has American Born Chinese included in Book Adventure, but that’s it. No Boxers. No Saints. No Shadow Hero, Avatar or Secret Coders.

You get the idea…

Reading Incentive programs that are tied into quizzes from outside sources [like AR or Book Adventure] can limit choice for students. What is the single biggest factor for reading engagement? Choice. Choice! In this way, reading incentive programs obviously limit access to choice-based reading, but they also limit access to books written by diverse authors.

[If you’re wondering, I searched for white authors of comparative success/critical acclaim and found a higher percentage of books included. There is definitely a Masters Project there, MSLS students!]

So, what are we to do? Our 7th Grade English Teacher, Ms. Thomas, has devised a wonderful work-around. Her students pick any book they want to read for her classroom reading. If there already is a quiz in Book Adventure, great. If not, she reads the books herself and writes quizzes for the students using Quia. Is that time consuming? Of course. But she rightly felt like it was necessary to support students’ reading AND support diverse authors and literature. [Yea, Ms. Thomas!]

I’m not trying to pick on Book Adventure—it is a free program and I love free programs. I also appreciate that the text on their site indicates that they WANT more quizzes created and they recognize that more quizzes = more choice for students. [For Book Adventure, you can submit to be a quiz creator.] During this coming year and summer [and well forever], I want to make sure that more books are included that are #ownvoices stories. I just read Ghost by Jason Reynolds this weekend. [Wonderful!] That is the first quiz I’d like to create. Then, I’ll start with the authors/gaps listed above and move on from there.

Will you help? If you’re already a quiz creator for Book Adventure or a similar reading incentive program, will you be intentional about including more diverse books? Or, will you consider registering to upload quiz content? I just filled out my application for Book Adventure. [Find more information at bookadventure.com/frequently_asked_questions.aspx.]

Does this make me love reading incentive programs? No. I’ve read too many valid arguments against them. However, realistically, I know teachers are going to continue to use them, so we have to work to support and promote #ownvoices titles to ensure that they are included.

I’m Julie Stivers at @BespokeLib. I see a lot of quizzes in my future. And, I don’t even LIKE quizzes about books that have only one correct answer. But, that’s another post…

Have a great week!

Middle School Monday: Finding, Funding, and Flooding

MSM1Has our libraries’ mission to fill our shelves with books that reflect our students—and the world—ever been more important? We need reflective literature and #ownvoices books for all of our students. All the time.

Today, let’s talk about money. Yes, money. Because to make a commitment to filling our shelves with diverse books, reflective literature and counterstories is absolutely crucial (it’s not optional, fam). But, to have an actual plan for making it happen? That’s even better.

Lack of funds can’t be a barrier to getting the books our students need. I think I was at our school for two weeks last year before I asked my principal for more money. Always start with your own administration! Back up your ‘ask’ with data and student stories. If you happen to be at a Title I school, ask for some of the Title I funds—I can’t think of a better way to spend that money than on engaging, reflective literature that is going to increase the amount of reading our students do.

I’m lucky—I have an extremely supportive administration, and yes, they show that support in the way of funds for our library (after I asked for those funds). For my students, though, I’m greedy. To truly transform our collection, I needed more.

We all need more, don’t we? Are there ever enough books? [Both rhetorical questions.] Money is out there for us to diversify our shelves and programming—we simply have to be intentional about looking for it.

Last year, as I faced a collection that was woefully out of date and out of touch with my students, I turned to Donor’s Choose for books I could use with students in the classroom and for classroom reading. I had eleven Donor’s Choose projects funded last year. In my experience, donors like to support projects that involve BOOKS. That describe clear ways those books will be enjoyed and used by our students. If you’ve never used Donor’s Choose before, give it a try. Identify a set of books that you need. Perhaps your fiction collection needs more fantasy series with diverse characters. Let me rephrase that. ALL of our fiction collections need more fantasy series with diverse characters. We all need more LGBTQA+ titles. We all need more mysteries, realistic fiction, graphic novels, sci-fi, and poetry that feature diverse characters. That are written by #ownvoices authors.

We all need more class sets! Through Donor’s Choose last year, I received class sets of Shadowshaper, The Crossover, Open Mic, and Booked.

4bookcovers

I love Donor’s Choose. Last year was my first year at my current school and because of a transformed collection, space, and policies, circulation rose 175%. That would not have been possible without Donor’s Choose and those 11 funded grants. Read more about Donor’s Choose here. [Also enjoyable to support other educators’ projects across the country!]

For this school year, my library was fortunate to be a recipient of a Laura Bush Foundation Grant. [Please read more about this wonderful grant program here.] My application focused on the need to make our collection more reflective of our students, their lived experiences, and their interests. I included specifics—specific titles, specific ways I would use the funds, specific data on what reflective collections can do.

The first batch of books ordered with Bush Foundation funds have been delivered and our library is flooded—flooded with reflective literature. It’s pure joy. Below are some pictures of these books, including a class set of You Don’t Even Know Me by Sharon Flake.

bushgrantpicture

In addition to grant programs above, the below resources might be helpful for identifying a grant program that would fit with your school. [Already missed the deadline for this year? Mark your calendar for next year!]

I’m Julie Stivers at @BespokeLib. Money for reflective books is out there! Let’s find it!

Middle School Monday: Let Students Do It

MSM1You know that social media phenomenon where everyone is putting forth their best selves and as users we can come away with a warped view of how fabulous everyone else’s life is?

I don’t want this blog to be like that. I don’t want to share projects and ideas that have turned out successfully and have ANYONE think that tells my complete story. I mess up. A lot. Although I’m trying to think of it as failing forward.

I’m going to share one such story for two reasons.

  1. It was so mortifying to me—in the moment—that by sharing it, I hope to cleanse myself of the whole experience. [I once had a friend who shared an unflattering picture of himself on Facebook “to cleanse himself of it” and I’ve always loved that sentiment!]
  2. More importantly, it drove home an important lesson that I really should have already known. Hint: It is the title of this post.

We have an amazing 7th grade science teacher at our school. [Follow her at @BethMCampbell.] In addition to the fabulous things she does in the classroom, she organizes an overnight (!) camping trip for our 7th graders, complete with these amazing and fun enrichment activities. I was tapped to do something at the campfire. Tell a story, maybe? Not really in my wheelhouse. [I’d rather write a story than tell one.] But, I thought, how hard can this be? I’m a librarian. I can find a good story to tell.

I COULD NOT FIND A STORY. My instructions were that it could not be scary. I thought, no problem, I’ll find a funny one. I reached out to the brilliant librarians in my district. I reached out to one of my professors who is a storytelling master. They sent me great ideas. For various reasons, they didn’t fit. [Because of my own failings or content or audience, not because of the suggestions.]

I finally decided to tell some urban legends, as they are our modern day fairy tales. I was excited to learn that people call them FOAF Tales—because they always happen to a friend of a friend. Or, my neighbor’s cousin’s sister-in-law’s college roommate. Fun, right?

The stories I chose aren’t important. I’ll just say this. I bombed. I BOMBED. I had spent hours—hours—researching and practicing, but it just didn’t work. I even stopped after the first story. As, I was sitting there in the moment—and, after, while I reflected on it—the words bouncing around in my head were…

WHY DIDN’T I LET THE STUDENTS DO IT?

One of the reasons it didn’t work was that the STUDENTS wanted to talk. THEY wanted to tell stories. I should have put the idea of student campfire storytelling out to all the 7th graders a week in advance and see who wanted to participate.

We could have then worked on finding or creating stories. I could’ve helped them! It would have been fun! They could have practiced. What a great confidence builder! And a fun way for students to get public speaking experience. [All of THAT is what is in my wheelhouse.] Learner agency plus fire. I love it.

What makes this even worse is that normally I’m a champion for LETTING STUDENTS DO IT. How did that knowledge leave me at such an important (and public) juncture? How? [Y’all. My principal was even there.] Instead of me stumbling through the experience, it would have been our students SHINING.

What an epic and humiliating fail on my part. I’ve got to fail it forward though with a takeaway I will remember: Let students do it. Let students do it! [Whatever IT is.] Truly, everyone wins.

Have an awesome week, everyone!

I’m Julie Stivers at @BespokeLib and I fail sometimes!

Middle School Monday: Let’s Crossover Some More

MSM11A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about The Crossover by Kwame Alexander and made a case for why it should be used in every middle school language arts classroom in the country. [Not even hyperbole! But, speaking of hyperbole, there is so much beautiful and accessible figurative language in The Crossover. You know. As a side note.]

I had said we were trying out a new choice-based mini project to culminate our learning and novel discussion. I said “I’ll let you know how it goes!”

This is me letting you know how it went.

It went well! We gave students five options to choose fromI’ve listed them below as well as a brief synopsis of further instructions.

 

  • Poem/Performance of a Poem/Page from the Novel

 

  • This could be an individual or partner project. Example pages (but you can pick ANY page): 10, 30, and 210.

 

  • Letter to Kwame [at least two paragraphs]

 

  • You could tell Kwame what you liked about the book, your favorite parts OR you could ask him questions about the characters, a sequel, etc. Did the book mean something to you? TELL HIM.

 

  • Writing an epilogue OR mini-sequel [at least two paragraphs]

 

  • Do you want to know what happens next month, year, or in five years? You TELL US!

 

  • Creating a poem based on Kwame’s writing
  • This novel is a great “mentor text”meaning that it can help us write better! Pick a poem as a guide and create your own poem. Possible examples include pages 3, 14, 33, 210. [You are free to pick any page and/or write ANY kind of poem.]
  • Draw a scene or character from the book

Every project choice was chosen by studentsthe most popular option was the letter. What does this tell me? Our students connected to the novel in a truly authentic way, and by extension, the author. Here’s an example of one of our student’s letters and how I shared his work/thoughts beyond the classroom.

djtweetkwame

The other half of our assessment/culmination piece for The Crossover was also a satisfying change this year. Instead of using a traditional study guide or having a test, I created a literary scavenger hunt for the novel. Some example questions are below.

  • Find a character in the book who has a nickname. What is the character’s real name and nickname? Why is that his/her nickname?
  • Find a page where a character is ANGRY. Write down the character, page number, and why the character is angry.
  • Find an extended metaphor. What page? What is being compared?
  • Find a page where someone is in physical pain. Who is it? What kind of pain is he/she in?
  • Choose any of the numbered Basketball Rules and write what it means to you in your own words. (Also include the Rule #.)
  • Which character changed the most from the beginning to the end of this novel? Also include WHY you think so.
  • If you could change one character’s action in this story, who and what would it be? Include at least one sentence explaining WHY.

Weof courseallowed the students to talk to each other while they worked. [I try to make it the whole year without saying “I shouldn’t be hearing any talking”.]  I love this exercise because there are so many possible answers for all of the questions. [There is not only one correct answer.] Students would argue over who was in the most physical pain. Who changed the most? Hmmm. A bunch of 8th graders discussing elements and characters from the novel with each other and passionately backing up their own opinions with evidence from the text? This is what dreams are made of!

What are YOUR favorite projects or activities you’ve used to culminate your learning with a novel?

Julie Stivers

@BespokeLib

Middle School Monday: Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick (Book Review)

MSM1

From the publisher:

Claire’s life is a joke . . . but she’s not laughing. While her friends seem to be leaping forward, she’s dancing in the same place. The mean girls at school are living up to their mean name, and there’s a boy, Ryder, who’s just as bad, if not worse. And at home, nobody’s really listening to her — if anything, they seem to be more in on the joke than she is.
Then into all of this (not-very-funny-to-Claire) comedy comes something intense and tragic — while her dad is talking to her at the kitchen table, he falls over with a medical emergency. Suddenly the joke has become very serious — and the only way Claire, her family, and her friends are going to get through it is if they can find a way to make it funny again.

Sonnenblick has written a story that is, in some ways, very similar to his previous Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie. The main character is dealing with a devastating illness in the family (her father has a stroke), plays an instrument, and is in a bit of denial. But it is a very loose framework on which to hang a new story. It is also similar to all of his other novels in that he does an exceedingly good job developing his adolescent characters.

9780545863247_xlgIn Falling Over Sideways, Claire is a fully realized and richly detailed 8th grade girl. She is a dancer, a saxophone player, a sister, a daughter, a friend, an enemy, a victim. Sonnenblick has done an amazing job bringing Claire to life, although I’m not the least surprised given his track record. He shows us both her internal and external struggles as she deals with everything the world throws at the average 8th grade girl, including the struggle of having your period.

Claire’s relationships, especially those with her family, are well imagined. Her father, upon waking after his stroke, calls her ‘Piggie’ from a game they played when she was younger. He calls her brother by his name. This bothers Claire because she views her brother as being perfect, so of course her father would remember his name. She’s startled when confronted by her brother that he views it as just another sign of how much closer she is to their father than him, that he has a nickname for her. The novel is full of small details like these that add together to provide a detailed view of a young girl’s life.

I would highly recommend this novel for any collection serving a middle school audience.

Middle School Monday: T-Shirt Representation

MSM1You may not have been expecting to open a Middle School Monday blog post and read about t-shirts, yet here we are.

I love casual dress days and seeing both our students and my fellow teachers displaying their interests and personalities. Seeing a math teacher and YA enthusiast wearing a shirt emblazoned with Welcome to Math ClassMay the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor is a complete win. I was excited to advertise my love of books and literature in a similar way.

As I went looking for t-shirts, I found some attractive options in terms of characters and books, but…the choices left me feeling flat.

Representation matters. We know this. We KNOW this. It matters on our shelves. And it matters in howas the librarianI am expressing what books I read and love, whether I’m expressing that in the books I personally read, the posters I hang up, or yes, in the books I wear and advertise!

The past few days have been thrilling in terms of more options.

shadowshaper_tee_unisex_m_bw_frontI love Shadowshaper and I’ve written about it before. And before. Seeing a t-shirt depiction from litographs.com with Sierra on the front? Thrilling. [Unfamiliar with Litographs? You can read more herethey make beautiful, wearable art with the text of books.]

This is the first time I’ve purchased a product from Litographs and I can’t wait to see it.

Attention: Litographs. I love this shirt! Please keep expanding your book choices to include more Native authors and authors of color.

This gorgeous shirt is available here.

 

TeeTurtle.com has adorable shirts on its site of the pop-culture, comic book, and sci-fi/fantasy varietyoften with characters depicted in their chibi form.  Recently, they’ve added two shirts I’m excited to wear.

unbreakable-t-shirt-teeturtle-marvel_largeYou may not have known that you NEEDED a chibi Luke Cage shirt, but really, how can you go back now?

It’s available here.

 

 

 

black-panther-t-shirt-teeturtle-marvel_largeThis is the first non-chibi shirt I’ve purchased from TeeTurtle, but it’s BLACK PANTHER. Am I more excited about purchasing the Ta-Nehisi Coates penned Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet? Of course. [I’ve ordered five copies.] But, I am EXCITED about this shirt. Again. Diverse books can’t just stay on our shelvesthey have to be on our walls, in our displays, in our OWN hands, and yes, if possible, on our shirts.

Find it here.

 

TeeTurtle: Please keep these coming! We need more t-shirts like this!

Where are your favorite places to find shirts that reflect awesome MG and YA books and characters?

Have a great week, everybody! I’m at @BespokeLib if you’re on Twitter [and I highly recommend that you are!].

Julie Stivers

@BespokeLib

Middle School Monday: Classroom Crossover

MSM11We’ve all seen the same books used over and over in some Language Arts classrooms. Many* of them (*most of them) feature white characters and/or are written by white authors.

All of the arguments we know and make for authentic representation in books on our shelves are just as important for the books that are used as texts in our classrooms. More important in some ways, because we can help challenge the normative position of whiteness in the curriculum by flooding classrooms with reflective, engaging literature to be used as class texts.

crossoverThe Crossover by Kwame Alexander. Surely, every middle school library in the nation has multiple copies on its shelves. That’s really not enough.

I see no reason why The Crossover is not being used in Language Arts classrooms in every middle school. It is THAT good. It makes teaching poetry incredibly enjoyable and seamless. Intuitive. There is so much rich, figurative language in The Crossover that it explodes on every page. Similes. Metaphors. Extended metaphors. Alliteration. Personification. All of that beautiful writing makes it an ideal mentor text for students to use to guide and inspire their own poetry.

Plus, it is simply an amazing piece of literature. We pair the novel with the audio, which I highly recommend. Hearing our students verbally respond to the rhymes and rhythms of The Crossover is a highlight of my year.

This is my second year collaborating with our 8th grade ELA teacher to teach the novel, so I’ve read it about nine times. It gets better every time. The novel is so nuanced, the writing so skilled, that I am still seeing new twists and double meanings in each new reading.

Tomorrow, we’ll probably get to page 210. Questions. I cry each time on that page. My students will tease me about it, but I’m comfortable showing them how much I love this workisn’t that part of our role as librarians? Modeling that love of readingshowing the effect that words can have?

This year, we’re trying out a new choice-based creative project to culminate our learning and discussion with the novel. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Please, please get a class set of this novel and expose your students to the enjoyment of this beautiful piece of literature.  We’re planning on doing Booked in the spring. I can’t wait to hear Kwame Alexander himself on that audio!

What are YOUR favorite books to see used in middle school classrooms? How are you chipping away at the literary canon?

Julie Stivers

@BespokeLib

Middle School Monday: Advocating in Pictures

I’m just going to say it: librarians are predisposed to be good at infographics. [Just bear with me through any crazy generalizations.] We’re wired to be good at information. Putting that information into an appealing, visual packageusing a favorite digital toolwell, that should be simple, right?

Well, in a way.  

We have tons of informationsome of which we have to spit out at the end of the year for district, county, and/or state reports. Some of which we collect ourselves to allow for reflection on our own programming and collection development. We have pictures. We have lesson plans. Student testimonies. Artifacts. Circulation data. Videos. Blog posts. Student writing.

Funneling all of that data into a focused series of numbers and stories is difficult. We could write pages and pages. [Perhaps some of us have to.] I knew I wanted to produce *something* that demonstrated the tremendous growth our library experienced last year, but I didn’t want it to be a traditional report. I wanted to showcase studentsand student reading. And, yes, honestly, I wanted to end my first year at a different school with the message that I had made a difference.

Isn’t that what we want our stakeholdersadministrators, teachers, students, parentsto know? That we make a difference? That our time with students matters? That the funds that get funneled into our libraries that we then grow into engaging books and resourcesthat this matters?

I was lucky in my internship in so many ways as I worked with and learned from a wonderful librarian, Kristen Ziller. {She does amazing projects with her students! Follow her at @wavinglibrarian.} One of Kristen’s many strengths is her commitment to advocating for her library programand (most importantly) backing it up with real data. Kristen’s was one of the first annual reports that I saw represented in an infographicand I loved that idea. I know many of you are already doing this…and I wanted to jump on board.

My goal was to do this last June, but, um, that clearly did not happen. Doing it over the summer would’ve been nice. What a lovely piece to include during our first week of meetings. Um, no, didn’t make that either.

I just did it a few days ago. We’re already two weeks into this year. It’s late. I don’t care.

titles-added-1

I used Canva and am happy with the end result. What I like most is the pictures. I can look at it in a glance and get a feel for the highlights of our year. I chose to only include three pieces of data to display. Do they put our year in a really good light? Well, of course. Are they accurate? Yes, of course! Then, why wouldn’t I have included them? We can’t be afraid to brag about our library programs. [If you’re curious about how those student check-outs improved so much? Flooding my collection with books that reflect my students, their lived experiences, and their interests.]

Is this infographic perfect? Gracious, no. I’m sure many of yours are much, much better. This, though, is the one I prefer for simple reasons. It includes my favorite quote. It includes those amazing students.

Maybe next year, I’ll even get it done on time.

I’d love to see how you advocate for your libraries and students in pictures! Have a great week!

Julie Stivers

@BespokeLib