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“Thank you” to all those who answered. This Hit is in two parts.  My
meeting with the principal and superintendent went very well. They were
especially impressed with
the circulation statistic of spending approximately 2 minutes per book X a
minimum of 1000 books per week = 33 hours per week! This is the schedule
and letter that I posted to the teachers:
Media Center Schedule
May 3-7 Book Fair - Media Center closed.
May 10 Closing Out Book Fair - Media Center closed.
We will be preparing lists for each teacher of the classes overdue books.
May 11- 14 Regular Media Center Schedule Suspended
Teachers may sign up to accompany their classes to exchange books.
May 17- 21 Book return week - As has been the practice in years past,
teachers and individual students may continue to check out books
for projects or reports; however, class book exchange is suspended.
* We will be using incentives again this year to encourage prompt book
* Student report cards will be held until overdue books are returned or
paid for.
May 22- June 3 Media Center Closed for inventory, book and AV cleaning
and repairs, cataloging, etc.
Last year, even with incentive programs and three weeks to
return overdue books, students in our school failed to return 47
books. Looking through the cards for these books I conservatively
estimate the value to be over $500. Add that to the year before when
81 books were not returned, and perhaps you begin to see part of the
reason we close the media center early and spend some time focusing on
the collection, book returns, and general book maintenance.
While I understand that there is some inconvenience for you, our
patrons, when we close the media center; please understand that during
this time we work at important tasks that, when done, make your media
center and the collection it holds better.
I welcome your comments and questions about this schedule and
anything else. Please quick mail or call me

The superintendent liked the schedule and the letter, and I have had no

response from the teachers. I guess "no news is good news."
Now for the “Hit”
1 . My tasks at inventory include: cleaning the shelves (students help
with this), putting materials in exact order, inventorying EVERYTHING
equipment, printing out results of inventory, mailing lost book forms home
via US
mail, getting my orders for magazines, supplies, teacher requests, etc.
ready so the
secretary can just have them signed and drop them in the mail July 1 when the
budget is available for the coming year, and tagging equipment needing
cleaning/repair for pickup by our repair guy. I also print out lists of
what teachers have
borrowed to help them get their materials together.
2. making sure the teachers and students have returned all materials
and books takes at least one week. We usually take two weeks district wide.
entire library needs to be prepared for the summer. repairs to books which
have been
damaged, cleaning of books which have been soiled, and preparing videos
and other AV materials--machines cleaned etc.
3. cataloging of new items, weeding and deleting, inventory, repair
and of time permits looking at catalogs and studying Texas Essential Skills
to see
what might need to be added to collection to support teaching of such. It
takes the
two weeks at the end to get all the books in even though everything is due
two weeks
before school is out. The only way a librarian could really close a library
properly without closing early would be extended contract and book due
dates would still
need to be early.
4. You can still let the kids come in to do research, etc. but NOT to
check out books. In any case, they should be done the last week of school
and you
should be able to close the library totally by then. I always let teachers
out stuff until the bitter end.
5. bring your specific professional needs and concerns to the
principal's attention (I see that you are working on this--bravo!) and
leave it to this individual to come up with responsible, accountable,
professional solutions to each need and concern. This exempts you from
being misperceived as the troublemaker, seemingly capriciously denying
access, while it compels the administration to confront their lack of
knowledge and understanding of your responsible needs and concerns.
Likely not all of your professional issues or concerns will be addressed
or resolved as you know they ought to be. That's okay. It simply has to
be. You're working on it. And only with the administration's support and
assistance will your good work continue to succeed and expand into those
areas now deficient. If the inventory does not get completed
this year; if materials for which you and your administration "ought,"
ideally, to be responsible for, are not returned and accounted for in
fashion, well, that's something which will need to be addressed now as
needing to be more
properly addressed next year. And you may walk out of school to enjoy
your summer, knowing you did the best you were able to do, under always
imperfect circumstances.
6. inventory, repairs, weeding, magazine storage, cleaning,etc. and we
are never finished by the end of school. I thought it would take less
time after automation but that has not proved to be true. Because
automated systems only tell you whether a book is on the shelf, it

doesn't tell you if it's in the right place so you still have to shelf
read and that takes quite a bit of time in itself. The actual inventory
for about 12,000 items takes about two days with automation. If you're
not automated it takes more people and a lot more time. If this is your
first year, inventory is probably very important for you to find out
what you've really got. I don't let students check out, unless it's just
for a few minutes for classroom use, but I do check things out to
teachers during that two weeks so if a teacher is doing a unit, I can
pull books for them, with the proviso that they stay in the classroom.
Maybe if you tell the principal you're willing to do that it will help.
7. I inventoried everything that I catalog in my computer system,
which includes the books and the A/V equipment, videos, etc.I closed the
library just one week before school got out and sent notices to EVERYONE
about what they had on their account. For my middle school I sent a list
to the office and they started calling students up and shaking them down
for books and fines. I had the teachers clear their lists before I would
check them out of school. I also had a drawing where anyone with a clear
account could join and win prizes. Then all I did was make two backups
of my system, one for the school safe, one for me to take home.I don't
know if that sounds too simplistic, but I seemed to have worked just
8. After completing inventory the card catalog or circulation system
records need to be updated so that your records are accurate. An
arguement to use here is that updated records are vital so that students
do not become frustrated looking for information. Also inventory gives
you an opportunity to evaluate the collection and see what areas need
new books due to wear and tear on the materials, outdated materials, or
a lack of materials. The end of the year is also a good time to order
supplies for the upcoming school year, so that they are waiting for you
when the new school year begins.
9. Often inventory is done the last weeks of school. This involves
getting ALL the books returned, teacher and student. Then putting the
shelves in order and then doing the inventory. Then you will need to
track down all missing books. Then do reports and marking of shelf
cards, etc. Then end of the year mending, cleaning and catching up on
filing, ie. card catalog cards, etc. So you will be ready for the
darlings come September. My school is usually out on a Wednesday (the kids)
then we
have two work days with out them. Any way, we stop checking out three
weeks before school is out or actually 2 1/2 weeks for kids. The first
week we have storytime/no check out. The last 1 1/2 weeks no kids at
all to do the above. In our school district it is against school
district policy for children to be left in the care of someone who is
not certificate.
10. inventory..... inventory...inventory... and The most crucial
point would be to have the books returned... Explain the loss and costs
of books not returned... (that should work) Notices need to be sent and

returned... books have to be placed on the shelf in perfect order before
you can prove that some books did not come in.. sometimes they claim they
have returned them and won't pay... therefore the library needs to be in
perfect order to prove they are
not there... they takes time. In Buffalo we usually close 2-4 weeks early
to do all of this.. We also have stats... and mending.. and clean up and
lots of reports..
teachers should not be using library as prep time. I'm sure there are
legal issues involved. Hope this was of help,

End of Part I

Brook Berg
District Media Specialist
Fosston Public Schools
Tel: 1-218-435-1909
Fax: 1-218-435-6340
email: bberg@fosston.k12.mn.us

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