SLS Tech Retreat – 2016

2016 School Library System Tech Retreat

April 9, 2016, Carey Institute, Rensselaerville, NY

Links for the session:

show me the numbersLots more reports:

Some Reading & Resources

Annual Report GraphicTips for Getting Your Report Read

  • Report Often: Don’t leave it all till the end of the year. How about doing short monthly or quarterly reports, but keeping them simple and easy to consume.
  • Report Less: Don’t write a 50 page annual report. No one will read it. If you’re required to do a lengthy report, how about adding an attractive 2 page executive summary. Something that might actually get looked at!
  • Share your big news and achievements on a bulletin board, on your web site, in a newsletter.
  • Use new tools: It’s easy to type and type and type. But text takes more time and effort to consume and comprehend. Photos, video clips, infographics, charts are more accessible and can tell your story more quickly and powerfully.
  • Make it relevant: Remember, report things that are important and have meaning. Your circulation may have increased over the previous year, but tell them why it did and most of all, why that’s important.

Examples using a variety of presentation platforms

Tools to Explore


Use graphics to highlight great quotes and draw readers further into your report.

  • GetStencil – Highlight text on a web page, click the browser bookmarklet and quickly create a quote. Formerly called ShareAsImage. Free account limited to 10 images a month. Search large selection of background images by keyword.
  • Quozio – Bookmarklet on browser toolbar turns text into a colorful graphic in a few seconds. Handy, free. Limited background and style choices.
  • Pablo – from the folks at BufferApp. Add text, select backgrounds. Handy search feature to find the right background image from over 30,000 images. Includes choices of shape and size optimized for Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Free.
  • TrySpruce – Quickly create images for Twitter. Free service. Includes a keyword search tool to find interesting background images. Background images seem to be from same source as GetStencil.
  • Powerpoint and Google Slides are handy tools for making a bunch of photo/quote images quickly. Paste a photo into a slide & use the title area to write a quote over top. “Save As JPEG” will export each slide as separate image.
  • 23 Tools and Resources to Create Images for Social Media
  • Word Clouds with Tagxedo and Wordle

Image Editing, Photo Sources, etc.

  • Screenshots: Do you know how to take, save and edit a screenshot on your computer and your mobile devices? There are lots of tips on the Cool Tools site.
  • Photo Editing– try your hand at editing a photo using one of these online photo editor.
  • Collages – It’s handy to know how to create a collage to snazz up your reports. Try the editing tools above. Also check what photo editing apps are available on your phone or tablet. You might find you have a great app already available to you.
  • Image Sources:
    • Pixabay – CC0 photos, vector graphics, and illustrations – my first stop.
    • Awesome Images – VERY long list of image sources.
  • More Tools:


  • Easelly – One of AASL’s Best Websites for Teaching and Learning in 2013
  • Piktochart – Free and Pro accounts.
  • – Upload data, create graphs, charts and more. Free and pro acounts.
  • Viz – Handy, easty to use iOS app for creating colorful, simple graph charts.
  • Create A Graph – Tools to help students (and adults!) understand & creat basic types of charts and graphs.
  • More tools: Cool Tools Infographics



Simple, quick ways to gather feedback about services, activities, collections, etc.

  • Low tech: Note cards, postit notes
  • Padlet – Free, easy to use. Just double click to leave a message. Post photos, record video, voice, and more. Web, iOS, Android.
  • Today’s Meet – Easy to set up a ‘room’, share the URL with a group and anyone can leave a 140 character message. Be sure to save the transcript of a session, the content does disappear eventually. Text only. Web only.  Sample for retreat
  • FlipGrid – Voice and video recording. Web, iOS and Android. Cheapest price is $65/year, but many educators love this tool and it may well be worth it. Try a free trial. Sample one to try:
  • Google Forms – so handy for collecting all sorts of information.
  • More Tools: Cool Tools Student Feedback tools


Make it easy to organize your data through the year. Have a folder on your desk to toss things in. Set up online folders to jot down ideas, store articles, store photos, etc. Use that in conjunction with an online tool like Evernote or OneNote to clip resources and ideas from web pages and to organize other notes and materials. Be sure to add the browser addons so you can quickly clip articles, photos, etc from web pages.


Tools that will help you create content for an in-person or webinar style presentation.

  • HaikuDeck – Free presentation tool. Makes beautifully simple and effective presentation slides. iOS, Chrome, web.
  • Google Slides

  • Piktochart – Present Mode: Create an infographic made up of multiple images. Present mode splits them into a slide deck that you can use in a presentation. How To tips
  • Powerpoint (PC) & Keynote (Mac) -  Desktop slidedeck applications.


  • Smore – Flexible tool for creating posters, newsletters and more. 5 Smores with free account.
  • Google Slides – Sometimes it’s easier to arrange blocks of content and graphics on a slide than in Google Docs or Word. To make it look more like and 8.52 x 11 sheet of paper, change the slide size. Use File –> Page Setup –> Custom to set up as 8.5 x 11. When you’re done, save as a PDF for printing or sharing.
  • Google Docs – Easy to add text and images to create a shareable report
  • Adobe Slate – Nice platform for combining images, text and more in an attractive scrolling presentation.  Web and iOS
  • MailChimp – Newsletter software. Free option for small mailing lists.
  • LibGuides – May be available to you through your school.
  • More tools at Digital Storytelling and Presentation Tools