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School Library System: Community/User Analysis

The Collection's Users

School collection decisions should be based on knowledge of the following:

  • students
  • teachers
  • parents 
  • wider community demographics
  • curriculum
  • administrators

School and Community Data

Compile the following information about the community:

  • Socioeconomic status 
  • Cultural backgrounds
  • Languages spoken & read
  • Demographics changes within the last five years
  • Student mobility
  • Computer/online access
  • Public library access
  • Religious institutions

Compile the following information about the school:

  • School mission statement
  • Number of students & teachers
  • Test score trends
  • Academic achievement
  • Subjects areas in which students are doing poorly
  • Special school programs
  • How students access school library
  • Users and non-users of the library
  • Recreational activities
  • Personal information needs
  • Parental involvement

Some of this information will be based on observation. Some will come from places like census.gov and the NYS school report card.

User Needs

Student and teacher surveys are an effective way of compiling individual user data. See the following sample questions:

Teachers:

  • What units of study are you planning for this year?
  • Does the library currently have adequate materials to support your curriculum?
  • Will you bring students to the library for research?
  • How can I assist your students with their research?
  • What areas of professional development are of interest to you?

Students (secondary):

  • What languages do you speak or read?
  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • What are your top 3 favorite books?
  • Do you participate in extra-curricular activities?
  • Do you check out materials from the public library?
  • Have you ever been looking for something at the school library that you haven't found? If so, what is it?

 

Curriculum Analysis

This is a long process, but should be compiled in a chart or table for quick reference.

Sample Curriculum Overview Chart 

This type of chart will give you a quick overview of what gets taught at each grade level in each course. You can adjust this to fit the grade levels in your own school.

When creating this type of chart, be sure to ask the teachers face to face. This may encourage collaboration between you, and allow you to market your skills to them.