Rock the Stacks:
A plan for bringing High School Students back into the Library.
Please click on the link below for the “flashy” presentation version.
Please read for more detail about the initiative.
Rock the Stacks – Acoustic musical performances and brown bag lunch at the library every Friday.
Upper school library in a K-12 international school situated in five buildings in an urban campus. The library sits on the fourth floor of the Upper School Building. Until this past year, both Middle School 6-8 and High School 9-12 classes were held in this building and many High School students stopped by during breaks and at lunch to work and/or relax. In September 2015, the High School moved all of its classes to a separate five story structure across the street. As a result of this move very few high school teachers or students visit the library anymore and circulation statistics have dropped sharply.
- 320 HS students
- 60 faculty
Action Brief Statement:
To convince High School Students and Faculty that by enjoying the food, view, and music presented at the Rock the Stacks – Music and Lunch in the Library program, they will be re-energized, inspired, and re-engage in the many wonderful things the library has to offer which will enhance library visibility and promote shared community experiences because the library is a place for academic, social, creative and cultural experiences.
Goals and Objectives:
The students have proposed lunchtime concerts in the library. The have also proposed creating book displays based on musical themes.
- Engage High School students and faculty in services offered at the library
- Promote collaboration and a positive relationship between the library and students/faculty and among the faculty and students
- Promote collaboration with other student organizations (school newspaper, fund-raising groups).
- Give users the opportunity to create and share experiences in the library
- Reinforce Information Literacy standards related to content creation, promotion, and good digital citizenship.
- Through themed book displays that accompany the performances promote the library collection
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Service:
The library’s mission is “Read, inquire, create to realize a world of personal change and global impact..” Rock the Stack’s main focus is on the library as a place where students come to create and share content.
The Rock the Stacks – Music and Lunch at the Library – is in line with Mathews views: “By offering a balanced array of academic, social, creative, and cultural experiences, the library can become a premier campus destination, rather than just a place that students have to go …”(Vilelle & Barber, 2013, pp. 94). Vilelle, L & Barber M. (2013) suggest that rock concerts and film screenings in the library are an important part of outreach: “they demonstrate to our users that the library is also place for engagement and recreation”(p. 94).
Policies and Guidelines:
Setting policies: Policies governing this service will be established by the Head Librarian, the High School and Middle School Librarians, the Dean of Students, and representatives from the Library Teen Trendsetters group.
Sample policies: Sample policies might be found by looking at policies governing the use of public or academic library spaces, but these all seem to be overly complex and better suited for much larger organizations.
- The type of music that is suitable
- The type of instruments that are suitable
- The process for vetting performers
- The expectations regarding food and beverages in the library
- The expectations regarding start and ending times so that performances do not impact class attendance
- How frequently the service will be offered
- Need to consult Middle School schedule so as to not interfere with MS class visits
- How long in advance facility set-up requests need to be made
Funding Considerations for the Rock the Stacks Service:
These are free performances.
The organizers are a volunteer group called the Library Teen Trendsetters group. The performers will be culled from the student body, faculty, and parent community.
Marketing will be done using free social media tools, the schools electronic bulletins, and student made promotional posters and videos.
Those attending the lunch time concerts will bring their own lunch and dispose of their trash in the recycle bins and trash cans provided in the library.
Action Steps & Timeline:
Prototyping: It is not really possible to prototype the service.
Timeline: The Trendsetter group hopes to host the first concert within a month.
- Establish guidelines.
- Secure permission from the Head Librarian, the Middle School Librarian, and the Dean of Students.
- Line up performers two – three weeks ahead of time.
- Submit request for facility set-up.
- Prepare the promotional materials.
- Begin promoting the launch of the service.
Planned alternatives: The group has already secured the needed permissions.
Staffing Considerations for the Rock the Stacks service:
The majority of the work is being completed by the Library Teen Trendsetter (LTT) group.
HS Library and Technology Integrationist:
- Supervises the student LTT group setting up the service and helping them liaise with other adults in different parts of the school organization. Outreach is already part of the HS Librarian’s job. She helps support a variety of evolving initiatives suggested by the Trendsetter group.
- Working with the students to choose books for the display. The HS librarian already has time in her schedule for creating displays. The only difference is the display themes and content selection will be guided by student choice.
- Supervising the lunchtime event. The HS Librarian is always on duty during HS lunch.
- Potential increased circulation: Two circulation librarians are on duty during lunch and so any checkouts generated by the increased number of students visiting the library for the concerts will be handled by them as part of their normal daily workload.
- There will be minimum set-up needed.
No additional library staffing is needed.
Promotion & Marketing the Rock the Stacks service:
- Daily bulletin – shared during homeroom and on the school website
- Library Facebook page
- Library Twitter page
- Student Designed Posters (by the Art and Graphic Design students) and a promotional video (by the Film Studies co-curricular students).
- Word of mouth
- Since the event is only open to school students there is no promotion of the service outside of school.
- Once the first Rock the Stacks has occurred students can post images to our various social media channels to encourage greater attendance at the next event.
Evaluation of the Rock the Stacks service:
What benchmarks and performance metrics will you use to evaluate the service.
- Attendance figures: 20% growth User library visits.
- Social Media Traffic: 20% growth of traffic on Social Media channels.
- Circulation statistics. 10% increase in circulation statistics. We need to be careful when pulling the statistics as there are a number of research projects that run second semester. We may need to pull daily circulation logs and compare those from the days of the performance with those of regular days being sure to note any other events that occurred on each day.
- Positive perception of library. 10% increase in positive views of library as determined by customer satisfaction survey.
The stories we will tell:
Use Social Media (via Instagram, FB, or Twitter @ #ACSRocks) to:
- Have students share their favorite event photos and thoughts
- Do band-book interviews/podcasts where one of the questions is about the performer’s favorite, book and/or film.
- Share stories about the book display for that performance.
- Share stories about faculty student musical collaborations
- Share the recorded the performances on the school’s Youtube channel
Expand the service in the future:
- Offering a longer and louder evening event after hours.
- Adding slam poetry.
- Asking various fundraising groups if they would like to sell food during the event.
- Securing the necessary copyright license for showing movies in the library.
- Screen booktrailers in a mini-film festival.
- Brining in other local talent – alumni, students from the nearby universities.
- Battle of the bands.
- Offering a master class in music.
Evidence and Resources to support Rock the Stacks service:
Danforth, L. (2011). Finding the future. [Web log post]. Library Journal.
Annotation: Illustrates that libraries are not just places for research and study. About NYPL hosting an ARG (Alternate Reality Games) event.
Hartline, M. (2016). You’re a Librarian 24 Hours a Day: Interview with Heather Lowe of Dallas Public Library. [Web Log Post]. Library Lost and Found.
Annotation: Dallas library promoting open mic nights and Sunday concerts in the library.
Mathews, B. (2010). Unquiet Library Has High-Schoolers Geeked. American Libraries Magazine.
Annotation: Library hosts trivia contests, musical performances, poetry readings, gaming events.
Vilelle, L. & Barber, M. (2013). Looking outward: partnerships and outreach at Hollins University. In J. Hill & S.S. Steffen (Eds.). Excellence in the Stacks: Strategies, practices and reflections of award-winning libraries. (pp. 81 – 98). doi:10.1016/B978-1-84334-665-4.50006-X
Annotation: Various ways libraries can partner with other groups to help promote the library as a place of research, relaxation, and recreation.
Library and Community:
Loertscher, D. (2008). Flip this library: School libraries need a revolution. School Library Journal, 54(11), 46-48.
Annotation: Sees the library as the “hub of teaching and learning”. These events have the potential to foster improved relationships between the library and students/teachers and among teachers and students. Bring people together for a break during the day to enjoy good food, music, books, and conversation.
Stephens, M. (2013). Holding Us Back. Library Journal.
Annotation: Recommends “radical community engagement” and tapping the needs and interests of the community.
Promoting the services and engaging users through and with social media:
Stephens, M. (2010). The hyperlinked school library: engage, explore, celebrate [Web log post]. Tame The Web (TTW).
Annotation: The students can engage with a variety of social media tools – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and technologies – audio/podcasting and video to celebrate their peers, share experiences, and promote this service.