Friday, May 24, 2013

Rethinking the Library Annual Report (Part I)

Maybe it's just because it's May, I'm end-of-the-year cranky, and there are only 11 more days of school...but I hit the wall this year with the Annual Report and thought: Enough is enough!

So this is my Declaration of Independence, and let the nay-sayers have at it in the comments section.

Annual Reports are a COMPLETE waste of time.

There.  Do I have your attention?

Now let me qualify that:  They are a complete waste of time in their current iteration--and, yes, I've seen Buffy and Joyce's 30 page exemplars! Not having their stamina, my past AR's tended to be in the 9-12 page category, but even at that, my HS principal last year turned white when I put it on her desk.

Moreover, I don't think she ever read it.  Nor have any other of my administrators for the 4 other annual reports I've written in my 6 years as a teacher-librarian,  and it really galls me because those things take HOURS to put together.

I think there are a couple of reasons for that, but the most important one is a blog post all by itself, so I'll save that for the weekend!

The easiest problems to fix are these:
  • Administrators are really, really, busy.
  • Annual reports are really, really (and I mean REALLY) boring.
It doesn't matter how many photos or cute quotations you add in (and I create very visually pleasing reports, if I say so myself), they are tedious at best.

I had a brainstorm back when I was doing infographics with the students, and telling them they were great to use when you wanted to convey a lot of data with only a quick glance.  It hit me Yikes!  I'm describing an annual report!

I wanted to give the information in as painless and visual a way as possible, and infographics are the way to do that.

The report is also lots of me blah, blah, blahing about everything I've done, and second-hand quotes from teachers and students to support.  What if I could let students and teachers actually speak for themselves about the library's impact on the learning and teaching?

And have you noticed I've been blogging a lot about Keynote lately?  It is my passion-de-l'anne (thank you, Google translate!).   So I has this sudden brainstorm, as I was gathering data all week and really, really not wanting to write this thing:  What if I create the whole report as a "clickable" infographic in Keynote, with video of teachers and students talking about their research experiences.

So I did.  Or am doing.  Here's the first section.  You'll need Keynote to run it, and only the "lessons" button will work.  I'll try creating a Power Point version, but I'm not sure the graphics and links will convert well.  If it does, I'll post.

Feel free to view yourself, but please don't share it around, for obvious reasons.

FYI, I created the infographic sections in Pik-to-Chart, then captured screenshots to put on the slides.  You can see the actual infographic here (though I haven't finished the last two sections)
Sorry it's not embedded. There was something wrong with the HTML.

Here's the PP version.  The graphics are wonky, and it changed the transition on me, but it mostly works.


  1. Amen! I haven't done a report in five years. Basically, I forgot the time and then after that...? Who has the time? But the Infographics seems to inspire (you mean I get to be creative?). Thanks for this terrific post!

  2. Thanks, Jeff. And you're absolutely right about the inordinate amount of time it takes...for what? Stay tuned for part II! : )