How To Start Your Own Mini Administration Library in 3 Simple Steps

A Mini Administration Library!?

A year ago, I took a course in which I was challenged to develop a creative project to reflect the study and practice of my specific field - in my case, educational administration & leadership - and I came up with one of the most fun and useful projects I've made to-date, called the Adminibrary.

I came up for the idea for the Adminibrary ("miniature + administration + library") by thinking of my bookshelf in the office where I work at a local university, not as just a place to store all my books, but as an opportunity to share admin + leadership knowledge with my co-workers. I decided to turn my bookshelf as a miniature library and even created a postcard to "advertise" that the books on the Adminibrary could be borrowed (more about that here). 

The best part of the Adminibrary it is that it sparks impromptu conversations with other administrators about their practice and giving them an opportunity to reflect on what they do well. I'll show you how, in the 3 easy steps below, how you can create your own in practically any space available.

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1. Claim a space in your office or open workstation for your mini library.

The space you claim for your mini administration library can be small - and I mean small! When I first started the Adminibrary, I had my own small bookshelf in my office, but when my office moved to a new building and I began to work in an open workstation, I used a small shelf for my mini library instead. Yet, as small as it is (about 1 cubic foot of space), it comfortably fits about 20 decent-sized books. Depending on the size of books you have, you might fit a few more or a few less, but this doesn't have to a huge space.

Here are a few examples of possible spaces to set up your own library, no matter how much (or how little) space you have available:

  • A bookshelf (or just a single shelf in a bookshelf)
  • The top of a cabinet
  • An empty space on a shelf in a workstation or cubicle
  • An empty space on a desk (hint: use bookends to keep books from falling over!)
  • A common agreed-upon area for the whole office to share administration + leadership books

2. Collect materials.

If you're anything like me, you probably have dozens of books that you may have bought for grad school or for research, and now, you have a place to proudly store these books in your own mini library. But you don't have to limit yourself to books - you can include printed copies of your favourite articles, education journals, your thesis or dissertation, conference papers, a USB stick full of your own writing...the possibilities are endless! 

Try collecting a few of these materials for your own library:

  • Administration + leadership books
  • Printed copies of journal articles
  • Educational Administration journals
  • Printed copies of online articles or blog posts
  • Higher education magazines with your favourite articles bookmarked
  • Your thesis or dissertation
  • A USB drive full of your own work

The only constraint you may have is space (depending on what your workspace is like), so you might have to be selective about what materials you want to include. 

3. Lay out ground rules for borrowing materials.

As soon as you set up your mini library, there's a chance other people might notice and ask to borrow your books. I did call this a library, which implies sharing, right? But you can decide whether or not you want to lend books out and how you want to keep track of who has borrowed what. I went so far as to create library sign-out cards where people would write their name and the title of the book they were borrowing, as well as the date they borrowed it. Dispense due back slips at your discretion!

Show me your own mini libraries! Tag #valentineacademia on your social media accounts to show me how your libraries turned out!

Click here to download a free tip sheet to create your own mini administration library!

C. Valentine

Instadministration: 5 Ways to Use Instagram to Share Your Administration Research + Projects

We all know that Instagram is a great way to share photos with our friends, as well as to connect directly with businesses and bloggers. But for us administrators & academics, Instagram is a platform that gives us with the opportunity to share our academic-related experiences, connect with like-minded peers, and give our audience an authentic, behind-the-scenes look at the research process. In other words, Instagram allows us to show others what academia looks like. Photos speak louder than words and your Instagram portfolio can be a useful platform from which to share who you are + what you do.

I also know that as administrators/academics/researchers, we tend to separate our personal lives from our academic/professional identities. But Instagram is your opportunity to share more about who you are + the unique academic experience that you're living. Below, I've shared 5 ways to use Instagram to share your administrative research + projects with your social network (even if you don't have one yet).


Pssst...if you are new to Instagram, sign up here for a free account and let's get started!

1. Photograph your research projects.

In my opinion, academic research does not get shared nearly enough through social media. Research dissemination is typically reserved only for academic journals and conferences, but those audiences are also fairly limited. Your research and your work is part of who you are, so don't be afraid to share your projects (or the research process, for that matter), on your Instagram account. You never know what other academics you might be able to connect with online that you may not have otherwise knew existed if it weren't for social media. So whether it's a paper, an arts-based research project, or just a photo of the celebratory donut you treated yourself to after finishing a book chapter, share it!

2. Share what books you're currently reading.

There's one thing we academics have in common: we are always reading something: books, articles, magazines, blog posts...the possibilities are endless! So if you've recently read a book that has inspired you, take a moment to share a photo of it on Instagram and leave a recommendation for it in the description of your photo for others who might share the same interests. Don't be afraid to also leave a shoutout using the @symbol to the author to let them know what you thought - authors usually appreciate hearing about how their ideas resonated with you!

3. Share what events & conferences you're attending.

Are you attending an educational admin conference, or giving a presentation at one? If photos are allowed, document your experiences attending these events, or have someone take a photo of YOU attending/presenting/being your glorious self. Don't forget to share your highlights + takeaways from the conference or event in the description of your photo and use the conference hashtag (if available). 

4. Capture the places that inspire you.

Where in your city do you feel most inspired? Is there a favourite park bench you sit on to think during your lunch hour? A coffee shop you visit to work on an article or a book? Think about where those places are in your city, and the next time you visit, take a picture to remember it by.

5. Write 100 words about your photo.

Okay, it doesn't have to be 100 words exactly, but pictures are only enhanced through the text you include in your Instagram post, so why not put some thought into it? Describe what you're doing, who you're with, what you were thinking about when you took the picture, why you took this photo, etc. Adding some thoughtful text is a great way to infuse some of your personality + narrative into your photos and to allow your followers and friends to get to know more about you. Plus, 100 words isn't that much - it's the exact length of this paragraph!

Did any of these ideas work for you? Use the hashtag #valentineacademia to show me your posts and don't forget to comment below with your own ideas :)

Happy Instragramming! 

C. Valentine

Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy: A Framework for Educational Administrator Preparation Programs

Originally invented in 1956 by Benjamin Bloom, the original Bloom's Taxonomy provides a framework for instructors for setting educational goals in their classrooms. Often portrayed as a pyramid, the original Bloom's framework scaffolds students' skills, beginning with Knowledge, and progressing up the "levels" of the pyramid to Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, and finally Evaluation. In the early 2000s, Bloom's original taxonomy was revised to move from static notions of educational objectives to action verbs, to better describe student cognitive processes. For example, Remembering became Remember, Comprehension became Understanding, Application became Applying, Analysis became Analyzing, Synthesis became Evaluating, and - perhaps most importantly - Evaluation became Creating.

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Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy is a further (but very important) revision made by Andrew Churches that incorporates technologies that are more aligned with the 21st century learner. This new taxonomy includes certain verbs the describe more accurately, how today's students might learn. For example, to Remember (lowest level cognition), students may highlight, duplicate, or visualize. To Create (highest level cognition), students may film, direct, or publish an original piece of research. The diagram below illustrates how students can Remember, Understand, Apply, Analyze, Evaluate, and Create using digital tools:

Figure 1. Bloom's Taxonomy for the digital world. By Fractus Learning, 2014, via Creative Commons. Used under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International License. 

Figure 1. Bloom's Taxonomy for the digital world. By Fractus Learning, 2014, via Creative Commons. Used under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International License. 

This revision of Bloom's Taxonomy suggests that it's never too late to revise old systems to make them work for 21st century learners. We should have the same view when examining whether the current structures of our administrator preparation programs properly equip today's administrators to work in the modern university. We put future educational leaders at a disadvantage by not emphasizing technology as a means through which to learn and to create. Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy would be a helpful framework to consider when thinking about what kind of work we are asking students studying educational administration to produce and whether or not we are sufficiently incorporating technology as a means of producing that work.

Ideas for student projects that incorporate technology

  • Recording a podcast on administrative and/or higher education issues
  • Publishing a blog to reflect on their experience as a graduate student
  • Crafting an autoethnographic project that explores the student's personal motivation for studying educational administration and leadership
  • Designing a multi-media presentation on the effects of organizational alienation
  • Writing an original essay, study, or literature review on a topic of the student's choosing

Do you think Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy is a useful framework for educational administrator preparation programs? What are some ways to encourage students to create original pieces of research using technology?


Bloom's Taxonomy for the digital world - printable table. Retrieved from 

The Padagogy Wheel V5.0. Retrieved from 

C. Valentine

Every Administrator Needs a Toolbox

When I first imagined this blog, I knew that I wanted to create something that educational administrators would find useful. One way that I thought I could do that is by creating a Toolbox section where I could post tutorials and interesting technology updates that might be beneficial for the research and/or practice of educational administration + leadership. I created these articles in part because I wish more ideas like this existed on the Internet. These are technologies, frameworks, and advice that I think are worth sharing and implementing in our own research & practice.

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Why should administrators live tweet at academic conferences? How can Bloom's New Digital Taxonomy be used in administrator preparation programs? Can we use Instagram to tell the stories of our universities? My goal in this space is to explore non-traditional uses of technologies to be used for administrative and school leadership purposes. I also want to offer how-to tutorials on crafting an administrative portfolio, starting a blog to discuss administrative issues, and recommend the best new products that I have found that make doing administrative work a whole lot easier (not to mention a lot more fun!). I'm looking forward to writing future toolbox articles, and hope that you find them useful. 

Let me know in the form below if there's something you want to see here and I'll happily give you credit if I end up writing an article about it!

C. Valentine

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