I have to be honest and admit that it’s been several years since I compiled an annual report. I busted two different principals not reading the report and eventually decided there were better ways to use my time. There was the time I hand delivered the report, left the office, and remembered I forgot to check my mail. The report was already back in my mailbox with a sticky note that said, “Impressive! Thank you for sharing.”
I had been gone for less than 60 seconds.
In that principal’s defense, the report was text based and at least 5 pages long. It was based on something I’d had to do for BOCES and probably was boring. The last time I presented a principal with an annual report, she flipped through it and handed it right back. She didn’t even take time to look at the pictures of kids in action that I’d used to illustrate various points. I wish I was quick enough on my feet to have come up with a professional, yet snappy, response to these instances, but I didn’t. I just quit writing the reports. (Another confession – I didn’t much like doing them anyway.)
For this assignment I examined all of the sample reports provided by Jennifer LaGarde. Dear God! Some of them were horrifically long! A: I can’t imagine having time to write such a thing and B: I’m not reading any document that is over 10 pages single spaced. Looking at these through an administrator’s eyes I’d think that my librarian has entirely too much time on his/her hands.
Others were long, but engaging with lots of images and information in small bites. One of my favorite reports was this one. I have yet to meet an administrator who would take the time to read the whole thing carefully, but with the information presented in small meaningful nuggets throughout, there’s a good possibility that some of it will sink in.
Last year they cut our library clerks and presenting the impact of that cut in a meaningful way means I need to do an end of year report. Knowing my administration as I do, I know my best chance to get them to pay attention is to present my details in a single page, so I’m going to go with an infographic. I’m not finished with it yet. I haven’t decided which is the best representation of the drop in circulation, and I need to add some of the good things that happened this year, but it’s a start.