Over the last four years, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has prioritized working with and supporting districts in creating board approved district plans for library services. These plans are required through Wisconsin Administrative Code PI8.01(2)(h). In addition to legislative requirements, the importance and effectiveness of this work depend on how it aligns the school library program with district priorities and how the implementation of the strategies surrounding library planning are professional best practice for providing the best, most equitable library services for our students. Through offering professional learning at all twelve CESAs, providing online coursework, collaboratively designed for Wisconsin library media specialists by the DPI and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), with Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant funding, presenting at conferences, and supporting individual districts in their efforts we have seen the number of completed, board approved district library plans grow each year.
The completion of this work has been challenged in many districts by numerous factors, including communicating about the importance of library planning and navigating the process with very limited capacity. One task of the School Library Work Group during the past year has been to confront these challenges with the intention of finding additional ways to support library planning. As a result, two new tools have been created. The first is a District Library Plans infographic meant to provide talking points for those advocating for the development and implementation of a library plan. This one-page document is designed much like the Common School Fund infographic, showing alignment and congruity in library programming. It highlights the reasoning behind district library plans, the core elements to include, and how a library plan aligns and connects to other district work.
The second tool is a Library Planning Checklist. This tool provides links to key resources needed for the development of library plans and a detailed list of included items. Deep conversations about providing a presentation or other type of fill-in-the-blank template were had during the development of this tool. The group, most of whom have worked through the library planning process in their own districts, came to the conclusion that more specific templates would be too limiting. Templates would not preserve the ability to personalize plan formats to uniquely fit districts, a fundamental aspect of library planning known to increase a plan’s overall effectiveness as it is implemented. Additionally, as the use of WISELearn School Library Planning grows, a variety of examples to gather formatting ideas are available. The value of this platform continues to improve as professional networking and sharing increases.
These new tools are available on the DPI Future Ready Library Planning webpage and in WISELearn School Library Planning. Please direct any questions or requests for additional support with district library planning to Monica Treptow (firstname.lastname@example.org)