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Goal Setting - ASAP!

Updated: Jan 2, 2020

Dear Dr. Laura,

I found your podcast while I was job hunting. I loved hearing the stories from the other librarians. Well, guess what? I got the job! I met with my future principal today and I start next week! She told me I need to work on my annual goal and give it to her when I report to work. That’s next week! I have no idea what to do!

Can you help?

Goal-Seeking Future Librarian

Hi, Goal-Seeking Future Librarian

lady celebrating

I am so excited for you!! A first-time job as a school librarian! I know you are excited and nervous all at the same time. I’m sure you want to make a great first impression and goal setting is a big deal! I was hired for my current position after everyone else had already submitted their yearly goals. So, like you I had to think PRONTO! What was I going to do? So, I started thinking through the process of goal setting.

Sometimes the process can seem overwhelming. Especially when you are starting out. Just remember that successful entrepreneurs, Olympic athletes, and people in all lines of work set goals. A person who sets goals is creating a long-term vision for what they want to accomplish. And a by-product of that is gaining job clarity and even motivation to meet the goal.

goal planning book

Think about it this way. A goal is a result that you set out to accomplish, whether you set it for your job or personal life. Goal setting will focus so many aspects of your job. It can determine how you spend parts of your budget. It can determine which professional development opportunities you attend. It can even help you plan your calendar of events. Goal setting basically helps you organize your time and your resources so that you have the best opportunity to meet your goals. I should add this happens as long as you stay focused on meeting your goals! Don’t set the goals and forget them.

I assume you are writing goals on your own. But it’s possible you are in a district where a lead person works with the group of campus librarians to set a goal(s) for the group at-large to meet. Ideally, you would write your individual or team goals at the start of each school year. But, obviously this is something you need to tackle now.

I’d like for you to think about writing 2 goals. One based on

campus/district improvement plans. And one based on library standards. So, here are some tips

1. Align your goal(s) to your campus (CIP) and/or district improvement plans (DIP). Pay attention to “what keeps your principal up at night”. Setting a goal to help with that would be very strategic on your part! How will your goal impact instruction and student achievement? Pay attention to the things she told you about the campus when you first met her.

Gather your data such as the CIP and DIP. Identify data used to assess students’ academic and developmental needs: campus/district improvement plans, state test results, benchmarks, other diagnostic tools, etc.

Now, start writing.

  • Goal 1 (Connect to Campus/District Improvement Plans)

  • Action: What action will you take to help you develop professionally?

  • Targeted Completion Date

  • Evidence of Goal Attainment

2. Align your goal(s) to your state and national library standards. Does your state have school library/librarian standards? If so, then you should think about setting a goal in which your library program begins to work towards results that are consistent with the educational objectives given by your state. How will your goal impact instruction and student achievement?

Gather your data. Identify data used to assess your professional growth: formal evaluation tool, walk-through feedback, lesson plans, curriculum alignment documents, etc.

Now, start writing.

When you have identified your goals you and your supervisor come to an agreement on the primary areas you will focus on for the school year. You’ll also determine how you will measure your success.

So, keep it simple. Set a goal that is a little stretch for you, yet something you know is possible as you start out in your new job. There is time to push yourself harder later.

Be sure to reflect at the end of the year. Last week I hear Dr. Adolph Brown III speak at one of AASL’s general sessions. He said, “A reflective librarian is an effective librarian.” So, reflect on your progress at the end of the school year. Is there more you need to do in this area or are you ready to set some new goals?

I wish you a very successful rest of the school year! Stay in touch and keep listening to the Librarian Influencers Podcast. You’ll get a lot of good tips from the veteran librarians. You should also check out the podcast interview of Sarah Jones. She was a first year librarian with a 5 year plan!

Dr. Laura

The Librarian Influencer of the Week is teacher librarian Julie Hembree from the state of Washington. In this podcast, Julie recalls many lessons learned and shares her accomplishments during her first year in the library.

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