School Library Plans into Actions

A Peter Drucker article read for uni many years ago ended up influencing me immensely as I started my first job running a primary school library. I was on my own, in a part-time position and was very passionate about effecting change to the service.

In the article written for Harvard Business Review, Drucker revealed that the best/most effective directors in business differed in personality, values, attitudes and styles of management but all of them were found to follow eight practices. They:

        • asked, “What needs to be done?”
        • asked, “What is right for the enterprise?”Photo by UQTR via Flickr CC
        • took responsibility for decisions.
        • developed action plans.
        • took responsibility for communicating.
        • focussed on opportunities rather than problems.
        • thought and said, “we” rather than “I”.
        • ran productive meetings.

If you translate these practices to the school library then the first two practices apply to the school library’s vision and its place within the whole school’s strategic plan. You can read more about these here.

The last three are to do with influence (which I’ll blog about later).

The middle three points are about turning those visions and goals into effective plans. 

A Word about Decisions and Communication

Most people have heard of the SMART guide for planning. They are important elements, but Drucker’s article highlights another aspect that is critical to effective plans; responsibility in the decision process.

Have you ever been in a meeting where a decision was made/a plan was approved but never got off the ground because no one was in charge or no one was accountable for certain steps? How often have we heard of something that affects us at work in a by-the-by fashion, after the decision has been made or on the grapevine instead of being included?

Responsible decision-making means you will improve your plan’s ability to succeed by:

        • making sure all of  the relevant people are involved in the decision process,
        • responsibility is taken for each aspect of the plan,
        • someone is responsible for effectively communicating about what’s going on throughout the process to all the relevant people (they may be different from the ones involved in the decisions).

Plans: Effort and Returns

Once you have your goals set and some plans in the works the next decision is, what to do first, what to do next? Prioritizing when your library is a busy place or if you are the lone Librarian is crucial.  An Action Priority matrix is a simple tool that can help you to spend your time and energy on the right things. It allows you to map your plans on the quadrant according to the amount of effort involved in relation to impact/return you’ll make (perhaps especially important when you are first trying to make an impact with your service). I like the matrix on this website; the labels and explanations are clear and relevant to any profession. There are also some excellent tips on how to score your plans and activities.

Action Priority Matrix


Drucker, P. (2004, June 21). Peter Drucker on Making Decisions. Retrieved February 4, 2013, from Harvard Business School website:

The Action Priority Matrix [Fact sheet]. (2006). Retrieved February 4, 2013, from Time Analyzer website:


Planboard: Time for a different plan

In this post Bev Novak takes a look at Planboard, an online planning tool that hopes to replace the iconic teachers’ chronicle. This post originally appeared on the NovaNews blog.

An email floated into my inbox not so long ago. It was the annual request by our school admin asking me to decide which kind of ‘teachers’ chronicle’ I would like to order for next year.

Ah… I think: Is it already time to start planning for next year?

My heart thumps furiously as I reflect on the many years of writing those course overviews, aims and objectives, semester plans, term blocks and weekly plans; not to mention of course the detailed day-to-day lesson plans. All that paperwork – the ‘essential’ adjunct to a teacher’s role.

But … hang on… it’s the twenty first century! Our world has shifted. Changed. We no longer do pen and paper do we? Nowadays it’s all on computer – no? Our lives are totally online – no? So, isn’t it time we changed the way we go about planning?

These were the thoughts that swirled around my head as I took a look at Planboard. It’s a neat, very easy to use program, allowing you to create your daily lesson plans in much the same way teachers always have. The big difference is that you do it online. Being able to work from anywhere, all that is needed is a computer, an internet connection, and a web browser. The lay out is straight forward and easy to navigate. Text can be formatted and links and videos added. There’s even a cute post-it-note to allow you to jot reminder notes to yourself. The completed plan can then be saved as a pdf and emailed on to anyone else. Nice!

With various options ranging from 100 lesson plans for free to a monthly cost, I can seriously see an online application such as Planboard taking over the traditional market. Check out the video here or have a read of this very comprehensive review.

While I’m sure this not the only ‘online chronicle’ it is certainly a reminder to us all that perhaps it is time for us to re-think the many routines that have for so long been associated with education.

Times have changed. Thinking has changed. We really do need to start doing things differently.

Thanks to Bev for sharing her post about Planboard. You can find Bev on Twitter and read her excellent NovaNews blog for updates on teaching and learning.