Collecting Data For An Annual Report


Ask the Librarian, June 2017
by Deborah B. Ford

I didn’t collect data for an annual report, but now I’m thinking I should have. Can I plan now for next year?—Anonymous School Librarian in New York

I just read an article in AASL’s blog, Advocate for your School Library Program with an Annual Report. Annual reports are a great advocacy tool as they tell your story in a nutshell. If your community thinks you just read stories, check out books and play on the internet, you have some marketing to do.

Because administrators are so busy, if you can include graphs, charts, and pictures, your story heads to the top of the “to do” pile faster than 4 typed pages of text. If you can use infographic software like Piktochart, you can just plug your information into their templates. I’ve pinned some examples on our Pinterest Advocacy board. You could also include some video clips: What did students learn this year? What did teachers think about the collaborative units?

But what do you include in your report?

  • Mission/Vision statement
  • Pictures of kids involved in learning activities
  • Pictures from programs
  • Data about database/ebook/audiobook usage
  • Collection statistics such as number of books added by year
  • Collaborative projects/units: What did you teach?
  • Collection data: age, value, number of books per child
  • Survey results from users
  • Goals for next year

Doing an annual report takes time, but it will also help you see in print how much you have accomplished this year. I would encourage you to do one even if you aren’t required to do so. Telling your story is crucial to advocacy. The time to do it is before you have a PR problem.

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