Using Community Analysis Techniques

Part l due in draft form on Sept. 19, 1996
Part 2 due in draft form on Oct. 24, 1996
Part 3 and final forms of Parts 1 & 2 due on Dec. 5, 1996

Overview. As the basis for developing a plan for a program of services, the school library media specialist must first undertake a thorough analysis of the school, the school system and the community. A systematic approach to this task is provided throu gh this assignment. Each student (or team of two students) selects a specific school, collects and analyzes the necessary data (detailed below), and then discusses the implications for the SLMC collection and program of services. The assignment will be written in three parts with the opportunity to receive comments and make corrections on the first two parts as they are completed. The assignment will be graded as a whole at the end. The three parts are:

Selection of School. In selecting a school for this exercise, choose a level (elementary, middle or high school) that is interesting to you, a school that is convenient to visit, and one that you believe the media specialist will be interested in this as signment. Although most of the information required for this assignment can be found through public sources, it will be helpful to have access to the school site for possible interviews with the principal, media specialist(s), and/or teachers for comment on and clarification of your data.

Part l. This section may only be 5-6 pages long, but might include a number of appendices containing necessary information that you may be able to gather from various sources (town hall, Chamber of Commerce, web sites, the school system central office, the school). Printed material you may be able to collect may be statistics, brochures, other publications. Alternatively, you may choose to summarize in your own words what you find (Your paper will be longer in this case). This section is due in draft form on Sept. 19.

a. General Overview of the Community. Write a general description of the community - its location, demographics, characteristics of the work force, the educational /socioeconomic level of the population, the politics and governmental structure, community facilities and organizations. Add a paragraph to describe any academic and public libraries in the community, and another to describe any private schools that operate there.

b. Overview of the Public School System. Write a general description of the school system - its history; demographics (number and backgrounds of students and teachers); level of overall academic achievement of all students in the system; a thumbnail sketch of the two or three most important district level administrators; another brief summary of members of the board of education; profile of the schools in the system in terms of age, size, location, etc.

Part 2. Description of the School and the School Media Center. Write a more detailed description of your selected school - its history; number and kind of students and teachers, administrators and other staff; schedule; curriculum overview (very brief) and extracurricular activities; parental attitudes. Describe the nature of the role the media specialist(s) plays within the school and how teachers interact with him/her/them. Write a detailed description of the media center - enumerating the staff, their backgrounds and responsibilities; detailing the collection and equipment in terms of size, kind of material, age, and quality. Describe the physical facility and the hours of operation. Include circulation statistics and the actual budget; and specify policies (like loan periods, fines, student access, teacher/library planning, etc.) and procedures (selecting and acquiring material and equipment, cataloging, processing). This section will be due in draft form on October 24.

Part 3 - LMC Program and Services Implications. The last part of this assignment is the culminating activity. It is due in final form on the last day of class (Dec. 5). Up to this point, everything in your paper has been descriptive. Here, you are to s tand back and evaluate the information you have gathered and critique what you have found. How well does the LMC's program and services fit the community and the school? Based on the knowledge gained in this class and your own prior experience, outside reading, and thinking, what specific changes would you advocate for this media center? Submit with the last part the first two parts as well with any additions or corrections you may wish. Project will be graded as a whole and will count for 40% of the grade.

If you have questions as you work on this, send me an email.

Revised 8/6/96