I have been in the library for four school years now and I am pleased with what I have done, but I came to realize after I attended the TLCHAT virtual cafe last week that there is one component I am not focusing on that I need to: Data collection.
I learned a lot at the virtual cafe, and it inspired me to start collecting data. One gal actually has a google form she fills out every day, a journal of sorts that logs what happened, numbers, circulation records and the good and the bad. I decided to take that idea and put together my own document that will help me journal the day. I decided I needed to get into the habit of doing it right away, so I can get myself and my staff trained to keep the data. I have been keeping track of student comings and goings since Christmas time, I generated a google form they fill out when they come in, and I get the names of the kids, their reason and the teacher. It has come in handy when a plethora of children suddenly arrive unannounced. I can go to the teacher and remind them to give me a heads up, etc. It also helps me see the why for the visit.
The main problem with the form is the data it generates. There is so much information that figuring out what I need is a challenge. I think the daily form with the number of kids in, circulation records and such is going to be my push. I am envisioning a monthly data report, even posting the data once a month on the school library blog. I think if people see what is happening and why, maybe it will impact funding, support keeping an aid, support my goal for a shift from a media center to a learning commons, and help me get the grants I want. I never realized how important the data collection is. I am seeing a definite need to keep track and to generate charts and such with the data I collect.
I suspect I will find the time I put into data collection will help me a great deal with my numerous causes and needs.