Statistics. . . .woo! Sounds like a riveting topic to the teacher librarian, but it wasn't until I started really keeping track of various aspects of my library that I realized just how important statistics are and how they can be used in a variety of ways. Now, instead of seeing statistics as this task I need to tick off of my list every once in a while, I look forward to seeing the trends in my library and learning how I need to adjust from there.
I have left spaces for a variety of information to get a good picture of our entire library. My assistant helps me to keep track of some of the information I can't run through Destiny, including the number of students through our doors and the number of classes served. Each day, she logs in a Google Sheet the number of students recorded coming through out security gates. The gate logs how many people have walked through the gate that day. Since it records the number of people walking in and out, we divide the number in half, and we arrive at the total number of students we believe walk in and out. Granted, some will be teachers, some will be repeats, etc. However, it gives us a good idea of the number of bodies coming through here each day, even though it isn't 100% scientific. At least for our purposes, we can see trends. After the month is finished and she enters in all the information into the Google Sheet, I look at it and using the SUM and AVG functions, I total the number of students walking through our doors and average it.
In addition to just seeing the total number of items circulated, I break it down into specific types of mediums. Also, there are spaces to talk about the types of projects we are working on, the types of instruction I provided, and website updates. I use a very sophisticated system of two sticky notes on my desk calendar where I keep track of all the projects and website additions I make. Therefore, when I do my monthly report, I don't have to try to remember everything I did that month!
Once I have determined the top ten list, I post it on a wall in the library. We have this ledge that is very visible when your first walk in to the library, and I created a fun top ten list that I change every month once I do the monthly report. See picture below.
I find it starts a nice conversation with some of the kids about new books that appear up there or just a good visual for students not sure what exactly to read.
Once I started doing these monthly reports, I started to find myself becoming more invested in our library statistics and beyond. I could start to tell what our busiest months were, when the most books were checked out, how many projects came through our library each month. Plus, if my position were ever in question, I have a ton of documentation proving how valuable we are to the school.
With the right procedures in place, your library statistics can become an extremely informative and interesting part of your job as a TL.
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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