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Aligning Library Goals, Policies & Procedures

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you work in a school library, you probably think a lot about how to run your program ethically and in alignment with the goals and policies of the school. This lesson discusses some of the strategies that might help you meet this objective.

Running a Library Program

Patrick has only been running the library program at Paxton Elementary for a year, but he feels like he has already learned so much. For his first year on the job, Patrick has been getting to know his students, colleagues and resources.

Now, he feels he is ready to step back and really think about the running of his library program. Specifically, Patrick wants to think about the big picture and establish a strong vision that he and the library committee can work toward during subsequent years.

Vision and Goals

Patrick knows that part of running a strong library program has to do with crafting a vision, or an overarching sense of what the library should look like and why. Along with the vision comes setting goals for what the library can achieve in the context of the school community, as well as the larger district.

Establishment and Alignment

As Patrick starts establishing a vision statement for his library, he talks with teachers, families, and children at his school, as well as administrators.

He comes to understand that it is important to align his vision statement with the visions of his district and school. For instance, the vision of Paxton Elementary is to be a multicultural and culturally responsive school environment.

Patrick thus knows that it is crucial to incorporate his dedication to maintaining a multicultural collection into his library's vision statement.

Communication

Once Patrick has a vision and a set of goals to go with it, he believes it is crucial to communicate these to the broader school community. He does this by printing a newsletter to send home to families and also posting the vision and goals on his library's website.

Patrick describes the library's vision and goals to his colleagues in a staff meeting, and he keeps them posted on a bulletin board in the library.

Implementation

Finally, Patrick knows that a vision and goals are meaningless if he does not work on implementing them. He establishes a committee that helps him work toward long term goals, especially those that involve fundraising and budgeting.

Every time he plans a lesson or works on new curriculum, he looks back to the vision to hold himself accountable for incorporating it into his daily work with students and teachers.

Policies and Procedures

Patrick also knows that the policies and procedures he maintains will help his library run smoothly, efficiently and ethically. For instance, he needs to have a circulation policy that governs how materials move in and out of the library.

He also needs a selection policy that helps him choose materials for his collection and phase them out when they are dated or in bad condition.

Establishment and Alignment

When Patrick works on establishing these policies, he starts by looking at the American Library Association's guidelines for circulation, selection, and library ethics. He knows he wants his policies to be aligned with district policies, but also with professional ethics that help him avoid inadvertent inequities or censorship.

Patrick finds it easier to establish strong policies in collaboration with other libraries in his district, and this also has the advantage of ensuring that their policies are aligned with the overall philosophies in their district.

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