Purpose of your annual report
Your annual report is an advocacy and accountability tool that can help to build a positive picture in the minds of your school community. Think of your report as a way of telling your library’s story. Use it to celebrate successes, acknowledge support and share your plans for the coming year.
Use your annual report to:
- show how your library contributes to teaching and learning, and relate this to your school’s strategic and annual plans
- show how the library team works together with teachers and the school community
- acknowledge the support of school leadership and others, including volunteer help and donations
- show how library funds have been used
- identify priority areas for development for the coming year and seek Board of Trustees (BOT) support.
Why school libraries matter
Visual impact of your report
Look at how you can make your report eye-catching and appealing. Use visual elements such as photos and charts to highlight the main points so that your report is engaging and easy to digest. When you format the report and decide which tools you'll use to create and share it, you'll need to think about:
- who will read the report
- what they'll do with the information
- how you'll share the report with staff, students, parents, whānau and your school community.
Before you start, check your BOT requirements.
- Is there a specific template you have to use or can you choose the format of the report?
- Will you be able to present the report in person?
- Do they expect a full report or a brief summary?
- When is the report required?
Tips for creating a professional-looking report
Readers are more likely to understand your report if you:
- are concise, clear and use plain language with no library jargon
- use tables, charts and other graphics to summarise and help readers visualise data
- include photographs taken in your library to illustrate how it is being used
- include anecdotal accounts and quotes from users.
- insert statements from research about school libraries where applicable.
AASL Toolkit for promoting school library programs
PA School library project
Writing your report
What difference has your library and its services made to student learning? What were the year’s highlights and which areas need future development? How do you know? For each area of content you include in your report, you'll need evidence gathered over the course of the year. Explain how this evidence shows positive outcomes for your students, staff and school community.
Keep your intended audience in mind while you’re writing the report. Focus on how your library services reflect and respond to the needs of your school community's learners.
The following topics are a guide. Select those that are appropriate for your school and your audience.
Rationale for your school library
Summarise the library's role in supporting your school’s vision for student learning. You can use wording from your library's guiding documents.
Library guiding documents
Highlights of the past year
Share the main highlights of the year — celebrate your successes!
Summarise key information about how students, teachers, parents or whānau and your school community use the library:
- usage statistics, patterns and trends for your collection, including digital resources and content
- use of the library space by classes, individuals or small groups of students and staff, or community members — include use during class time, breaks and events outside of the school day.
Show how your library has contributed to the building of a school-wide reading culture. What strategies have you used in response to the school’s reading data, or based on feedback from students and staff, and what is the impact of these?
Strategies to engage students as readers
Inquiry learning and digital literacy
Describe how the library team supports inquiry learning and the development of digital literacy.
Role of library in supporting inquiry
Your library's role in supporting digital literacy
Show how collection management activities for the year have benefited staff and students. Acknowledge any donated resources added to your collection. Attach your collection management plan in an appendix.
Describe significant changes to your collections and the impact of those changes. This might include:
- new resources with a focus on particular topics or support for groups of readers
- new formats added to your collection such as eBooks
- improved access to, and use of digital resources such as curated web content
- any plans for change as a result of collection assessment.
Collections and collection management
Describe how your library works with others to provide access to resources to support teaching and learning. This might include:
- eBooks consortia formed with other schools or your public library
- how you’ve used resources borrowed from other organisations, for example, National Library or your public library.
Describe other forms of liaison and involvement with outside agencies, such as:
- class visits to the public library
- New Zealand Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme author visits
- reading programmes, for example, Reading Together, or Duffy Books in Homes.
Family, whānau and community connections
Organisations, events and awards celebrating reading
Show the impact of your online presence on library use, especially if it’s helped you to reach new users. Describe the ways your library connects online with your school community. This might include:
- access to digital resources through the school’s online learning environment
- access to your library's Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) for users to search and manage their borrowing
- a virtual school library website or social media, for sharing resources, news and other information.
Acknowledge those who have helped manage the library's online presence.
Outline any plans to further develop your library’s online presence.
Your school library online
Describe any changes to your library, or features of the physical space. This might include:
- upgrades to your library building, furniture or equipment, with a list of things that still need upgrading or replacement
- photos of displays, signage, or artworks that show how your library space reflects your school's culture or special character
- how the design, layout and flexibility of your library space — including shelving and furnishing — cater for different activities.
Acknowledge those who have helped you improve your library environment.
Designing library spaces
Systems and operations
Describe any changes to your library’s day-to-day operations, and the impact of those changes.
This might include:
- change to your library hours, including user feedback if possible
- changes from fixed to flexible scheduling of class visits
- changes to your library procedures based on user feedback such as student, teacher, or parent and whānau surveys.
Library systems and operations
Acknowledge the financial support your library receives. This could include:
- funding from your BOT
- donations or funding from grants, sponsorship, school fundraising events and book fairs
Show how your library funding has been used, supported by:
- a financial report showing budgeted and actual expenditure in an appendix
- information about the use of donated funds including grants
- stocktake information in an appendix.
State the level of funding required for the coming year to help achieve your library goals. Attach your budget proposal in an appendix.
School library budget
State who is on the library team, their role and hours of work. Describe how paid hours of staffing affect the services you can deliver to support student learning. If paid hours of staffing are insufficient, provide evidence to support your proposal for an increase in paid hours.
Acknowledge and describe the work of student librarians and adult volunteers.
Acknowledge people who advocate for and promote use of the library and the services the library provides. Include the work of the library team themselves and their role in developing others as advocates.
List library staff involvement with school-wide projects or committees such as eLearning development.
List library staff participation in formal and informal professional development opportunities. Include learning within the school and through outside agencies.
Describe how members of the library team provide professional support for others.
Goals for the coming year
Keep in mind your BOT may read this in conjunction with your budget proposal.
- Provide a short list of focus areas for the coming year.
- Ensure your library’s goals support a broader school goal such as reading, inquiry learning or support for priority learners.
Presentation of your report
Your annual report will have more impact if you can present it face-to-face. You'll have a chance to answer questions on the spot, and to share your knowledge and enthusiasm for the library, in person.
- Arrange an appointment to present and discuss the report with the Principal and BOT.
- Share print or digital versions of the report with staff, students and the school community as appropriate.
- File a copy of the report with your library documentation.