Monday, August 27, 2012

Setting The Tone

One more week and then it's back to school in New York State. I'm sitting in the lobby of my junior high pushing agendas and sketch pads from the school store during 8th Grade Orientation, so it's the perfect time to blog about setting the tone for a new year.

 
What is tone? It's the mood, attitude and atmosphere of a place and program. When it comes to the tone of my library, here's what I'm trying to convey:

  • Inclusiveness - the library is a place for everyone. We're a safe, comforting, welcoming and accepting environment. 
  • Creativity - this is a creative environment where you can explore and develop projects and ideas.
  • Respect - I expect respect to go both ways in the library. 
  • Information hub - it's one stop shopping for books, magazines, Internet resources, etc. If you're a student or teacher have questions, we've got answers.
  • Academic success - to be a successful student or teacher you need the library and it's resources.
In my attempt to set this tone for the school year, I've done some very specific things. For example, I made this pennant for above the circulation desk - it's the first thing you see when you enter the library and it's impossible to miss; it helps convey the message of academic success. When I was student teaching, I worked with someone who greeted all his classes with "Welcome, Scholars!" It's an awesome way to say, "You're here to learn, you have the capability to learn, and I have confidence in you" - that's what I want our students to think when they enter the library.
 

I'm also concerned about setting the tone with faculty. For new staff, I prepared a one page quick tips sheet with all the info they need about the library. At the top of the list was a section on collaboration and Common Core skills - I want them to know right off the bat that I'm the go-to person when it comes to those needs. I also publish a monthly newsletter for all staff and I'll include an overview of our new Common Core reading and writing resources to reinforce the idea that we're an information hub. To make staff feel welcome, I promote our well-stocked candy drawer - a necessity during the first few crazy weeks of school.

Any tips or suggestions for setting the tone in your library?




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