Saturday, June 18, 2016

How I Used Microsoft Sway For Our Annual Report

I've been sharing library annual reports since I have been a school librarian. Administrators often get small snapshots of the library during the school year. They are busy people pulled in a million different directions each day. For me, sharing an annual report during the summer gives us a chance to show our administration what happens in the library from a statistical perspective. Administrators are also more likely to have a moment to look at a report during the summer months.

A screenshot from the completed Sway
Why Share Annual Reports?

Annual reports are just another way to tell our stories from the library and share the value of what we do for students. It also gives a return on our stakeholders' investment. Libraries are expensive. If we share circulation statistics and other usage information, it can help change perspectives. Some teacher librarians have complained that their administrators don't have time to view their reports. This is a valid concern, but what if they do happen to view it? A few moments of their time could change their thoughts about what we do in the library. For these reasons, it is worth the time to create the report each year. I'm guilty of showing them snippets of the report as I'm working on it in an attempt to generate curiosity. Another positive of sharing annual reports is that it shows we are making a strong effort to keep and report good records. This reflects well upon us as program administrators. It is also excellent evidence for us to use in our yearly evaluations.

A Quest For Different Formats

This year Misti Bell (my 2015-2016 teacher librarian co-worker at LHS) and I decided to experiment with an infographic for our annual report. We wanted to get away from the standard text document containing basic statistics and make the project more appealing to administrators. Misti created a wonderful infographic using Piktochart. She used the free version (which worked great for creating the report). However, we wanted to share video clips and Tweets from social media in the report. I liked Piktochart, but I needed something that would do more for the presentation. It is important to sometimes change the format we use for presentations to keep it interesting for viewers. We must also search for the most effective methods to tell our library stories and share the value of our program.

Microsoft Educator Community webpage screenshot

I have talked about becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (#MIEExpert) in a previous blog article this year (thanks to the help of my friend, Tracey Wong). Through the MIE Expert group, I have learned about one of their new graphic presentation tools called Sway. I decided to use the library annual report as an opportunity to learn more about Sway. I had previously joined the Microsoft Educator Community, and I knew there were free training courses and videos available. I searched for resources on Sway, and I found the following link:

There were 10 video modules to watch (most of them were between 2-3 minutes long). After completing the videos, I felt confident I could create a Sway with photos, charts, video clips, and more. It took me about an hour to complete the first draft of the Sway. I shared it with teacher librarian colleagues and co-workers for advice on what to improve. After two days of editing, I felt my first Sway annual report was ready to publish.

Go here to view our 2015-2016 annual report via Sway.

How To Access Sway

I have access to through and also through our district's Office 365 login. I recommend creating a free account through Microsoft here if your school doesn't have Office 365. You will then be able to go to and create your own presentations. I look forward to getting feedback from our administrative team as they view the statistics of 2015-2016 through the Sway report! Please, be sure to share your improvement ideas and comments below. Also, feel free to share your annual report links in the comments. I'm always looking for better methods to share our library's story through the examples of others.

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