Saturday, June 2, 2012

Leveraging the library

Leverage  MS Clipart
Our school is preparing for accreditation with the Council for International Schools (CIS) and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) together called CIS/ WASC accreditation as they are usually performed at the same time. We are also preparing for our first IB Primary Years Programme evaluation. There is a lot of self evaluation and soul searching on whether standards are being met and improving where they are falling short.

Part of the evaluation with CIS WASC was an online survey where staff, students and parents were surveyed on a number of areas. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the library was part of this evaluation with the following questions for staff:

1. There are mechanisms for providing feedback and evaluation to the library staff

2. I have consulted the library when developing or revising curriculum.

3. Library staff consider my opinion in the selection of resources.

4. Library has adequate resources to support educational efforts

5. Library staff are helpful and knowledgable

6. I have received orientation in the the use of library resources and materials.

These questions demonstrate that CIS/WASC value the place of the library and School Librarian / Teacher Librarian as not only a keep or resources but that it is a place where services should be meeting the needs of its customers (Q1). The School Librarian or TL are mandated to be collaborating with staff on planning curriculum and resourcing (Q2 & Q3). The library is there to function as a support to curriculum requirements and and requires enough funding to do so (Q4.) The school staff need to be given the resources and knowledge they need to be able to use the library and its services.

These conditions are mandated in the requirements. What does this mean for the Library services?? It means more leverage.

Knowing what the minimum requirements are in the documentation is essential to being able to build support for new initiatives and making sure the basics are covered. Are you aware of the conditions required for the library in your association / organisation documentation? If you are an IB school more and more is being released on the role of the library in curriculum support, are you aware of it? Are you taking advantage of it? Are you using it to extend your services and ensure you gain the required support (funding, staff, time) to add value to students learning?

Knowledge is power, and your knowledge of the requirements will give you the mantle to leverage your library to greater heights.

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