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Write a report.

This is no time to be suggesting more work for any exhausted educator. Nevertheless, this is the perfect time to suggest going just one step further.

Please write an annual report. Now, more than ever, it matters.

For some of you, this is a regular, end-of-year ritual from which you pull on notes, photos, and videos collected over the months.

For some of you, this is a task in which you never before engaged.

I know how hard so many of you worked to support students, teachers, and administrators during the crisis. How many others know of your efforts? Recording your efforts demonstrates how your pivoted practice positioned you as a pivotal player.

Why a report? No one ever asked me to do it.  But each year I spent time reflecting on the past year and pulling together the many notes and artifacts I’d been collecting into an annual report.

  • It ensured that others recognized the impact of my work on our learning culture.
  • It forced me to reflect–to collect and share a rich array of evidence in the form of data, stories, student work, collaborations, photographs, and video.
  • It proved the return on investment (ROI) of our program
  • It allowed me to focus on both achievements and challenges and set goals for program growth
  • It presented me as a professional interested in the growth of my program and the success of the larger learning community.

Why now?

Here are several compelling reasons why this is the year you must start documenting your impact.

It’s important that any report reflects on both pre-pandemic and during pandemic activity. You are not just reporting, you are creating a record. A focus on your response from March through June will be particularly important because:

  • School boards will be negotiating crisis budget decisions between now and July 1. A report will allow you to prepare and legitimately make your case, with evidence, at a most opportune moment.
  • It’s likely, you have already engaged in translating practice for teaching and learning. Now, more than ever before, these digital abilities will be valued. Let them know YOU were prepared to pivot.
  • This is a good time to document the value of our digital resources–ebooks, audiobooks, streaming media, research databases–whether they are state, regional or local investments. Make the case. Grab that data!
  • This is the perfect time to document the value of your curations. Can you link to or append your Hyperdocs, collections, dashboards, playlists, galleries? How have you led in curating and integrating OER?
  • This is the perfect time to document your role in professional development. How did you support or lead the faculty in developing and presenting instruction?
  • This is the perfect time to share your strategies for continuing to build the reading culture of your school. Share your booktalks and storytimes and discussion groups and readers’ advisory efforts. Are you planning any summer reading activities?
  • Did you receive any feedback from stakeholders? Email from parents, students, community members? With permission, might you share that evidence?
  • You will likely be the only one documenting during pandemic activities in a formal professional way. Your narrative will be valuable. Focus on yourself, but generously document the work of others.
  • Yours is a big picture lens. What you share will shine light on the work of your colleagues and administrators and reveal elements of student life, pre- and during-pandemic across grades and disciplines. Share the praise. Describe the heavy lifts of others. Yours may be the only whole-school record.
  • It is important to remember and record the ways in which you supported the social and emotional health of your community.
  • It is important to record the ways in which you discovered and addressed issues of equity within your community.
  • It is important to curate evidence of the ways you leveraged your social media presence to communicate and build community.
  • For the record, it will be important to have a readable and easily sharable digital document. Include visuals, compelling stories. Make it attractive. Make it relevant. Make it engaging.
  • This is the perfect time to demonstrate the ROI of your program at a critical time.
  • This is also the perfect time to record and share stories of your own creative and innovative solutions during times when they were most critically needed.

It doesn’t have to be lengthy. It shouldn’t be. And it doesn’t have to be fancy.

Choose a favorite platform:

And, consider sharing your report with:

  • administrators
  • the school board
  • key members of the P.T.A/P.T.O
  • critical local and national hashtags

The record may also be collectively important. Please consider posting your document using the hashtag #schoollibraryreports.

Need some inspiration? Jennifer LaGarde has been curating a list of School Library Annual Reports. Share your link on that document.

And please also consider emailing me a copy of or link to your report. I’d love to do a follow-up blog post sharing examples of your impressive efforts, demonstrating our role, how school librarians stood up during a crisis.

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. […] post that had the most impact on me was titled “Write a Report”.  It urges educators to write an annual report to showcase their efforts throughout the school […]

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