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Part 2 of Closing the Media Center

11. I have an extended contract of two weeks. It is worked into
my monthly salary some way. I can work one week after school is out in the
and one week before school starts in the fall. I was able to get this
arrangement passed by the school board after I called area schools to
see how they did this. I love having my one library (K-12) open until
the end of school, because closing the library early in May created
alot of discord among the teachers and students towards me. I do start
weaning the kids off books, though. Like this week, I have decreased
the number they check out by one. The first week in May, I whittle it down
to 1 book each. The second week of May all books are due. The third and
fourth week I show a 30 minute video based on a book. I'm the prep time
for the teachers. It really takes those last two weeks to get all the books
in. I have the teachers returning all their books by May 31. I tell them
that (a
slight fabrication of the truth) once my automated inventory process
starts, I can't check in their books until after and that causes me alot
of extra work to go through and do another inventory on what they return
late. Tell your principal to go to bat for you and get you on a 2 week
extended contract so that you can keep the library open. If that won't
happen for this year, close it early and get your contract for next year
extended by 2 weeks or so.
12. If your paraprofessional doesn't have classes scheduled every
hour of the day, you can split the way the time is spent during the last
three weeks of school. You can close off circulation of books, but still
welcome classes to come and use resources in the library during their
scheduled times. Or, you can checkout materials to the classroom for
research projects. During the hours of the day that no classes are
scheduled, the paraprofessionals can concentrate on doing the inventory.
If your libraries are automated, inventory can go rather quickly.
Closing the library three weeks before the end of the school year can
generate a lot of resentment among the students and staff. If the principal
 insists on keeping the library open until the last minute, request extended
 contract hours for the week after the students have all been dismissed and
complete the inventory and other housekeeping jobs then.
13. Collecting the books can take the longest depending on the
support from the administrator and the teachers. A lot also depends
on if you do inventory or not. It used to be that we did the inventory,
books and made the orders out for next year all the last few weeks. We
now do an automated inventory sometime during the year. Set you last
date books are due. Publicize, award, collect and make it a
ceremony. Set a date later for teachers. Send them a list of all they
have out so you can correct and have them ready. I would collect teacher
books the last day when I do not have to do inventory--you can do this
 when teachers have a sign out process that they have to come by the
library for.
Start sending notices to students. Call students. Be persistent. Get
you graduating list ready Do you do books orders? What stage are they

in? The best time to spend it right now so the order goes out July 1st
the beginning of the budget year.
14. Yes - The third week before school ends there are no more
checkouts and book are due in that week. This gives us that week to
get the bulk of the books back and begin getting notes out to the kids
and/or phone calls to the parents. If you have books late for more than
weeks at this point, a letter signed by the principal with the replacement
cost of the book and a payment deadline date (usually about
a week and a half from the mailing date) need to go out immediately -
otherwise you will not reach the parents in time. I also send teachers
a list of what they have checked out
and ask them to send in what they don't need and mark the list for what
they still have but need for another week. Then we check the shelves to
see if the "missing items" are perhaps back on the shelf (it happens!).
I usually spend the next week getting additional reminders out to
students, calling parents (at work if necessary) and have helpers check
the shelves (get them in order). The last week we do inventory since
most of the books are in at this point. I use teams with a paper shelf
list by Dewey sections.
15. For ideas, look at the retirement hit that was posted at the
beginning of this month. Ideally, all those items should be done each
and every year, you never know when your career or school may change.
To show my district how I have no time during the year for the end of
year tasks (like cataloging, repairing books etc) I am adding up how
much time I spend each week on tasks such as shelving, check in/out,
story time etc and comparing it to my part-time hours. For example, my
weekly circulation is 600 books minimum, if I spend two minutes on each
book for the circulation process (helping a student choose a book,
checking it out on the circulation system, checking it back in on the
automation system, and reshelving it on the shelf in its proper spot)
then I am spending 20 hours or over three days a week on just that,
basic circulation. Unfortunately, doing these reports showing how under
serviced my school is also takes time! Note I am typing this at
midnight on a school night.
16. I am paid to work 32 hours a week in an automated library from
the first day of classes for the kids to their last day (Sept 8 - June
30). I put in around 10 hours of unpaid/unrecognized overtime a week.
There are almost 900 students and 70 staff members in my jk-8 school,
with 7,000 items in the library collection. I have two professional
development days without the students in school, but I am in all day
meetings at that time, so I do not have a day without classes and
students all year. I am given 5 days at the end of the school year to do
inventory and all the other following tasks (June 23 - 30); students and
staff are not supposed to use the library or my time but I do can't stop
them if they do - short of bringing out "Conan the librarian" and
chasing them out of the library with medieval instruments of torture!
The computer lab is in the library so I cannot lock the doors.

Personally, I think the library _should_ be open to student and teacher
use until the last day of school (it is anyway, despite locked doors,
masking tape on shelves, and other deterrents) and the district should
pay us to work two weeks without students/teachers to do a thorough job.
I am fortunate to have an automated library, otherwise it would be
double the time for a manual system. Obviously, this not all done and so
I begin in September finishing up the previous year while everyone else
is beginning a new year. And many things are not done, period. My end of
year "to do's" in my library:
... submit daily overdue notes to appropriate teachers/students
... write personalized letters home to parents detailing title of book,
cost of book and when checked out (twice per book)
... phone homes of all students with overdue books (three times)
... submit to principal list of parents SHE needs to phone to remind
parents to return books
... check in all books (this does take a lot of time with 100's of books
a day)
... shelve all books (ditto)
... shelf read
... scan all books and materials through automated circulation system
and replace on shelf
... print out a list of several hundred books (last year it was 1,800
books) that were reported as "lost" from the inventory and double check
the shelves before truly writing them off as lost
... delete all lost and damaged books from my system
... do reports: lost books, materials still checked out, circulation
stats, age of collection by copyright, gaps in collection that need
boosting (eg. biographies), number of items in collection by type (book,
video etc), usage of collection by type, number of books and/or
materials per student and more that I can't remember because it hurts my
brain to even think about it.
... delete graduating/moved students from my system
... delete transferring teachers from my system
... clear all circ transactions and check out overdue books to students
who did not return them so I can hound them in September
... clean up all catalogue records to prepare for district union
catalogue a/v inventory:
... request teachers return all a/v
... hound teachers to return a/v
... collect a/v personally after hours with help of custodian and her
magical master key to all classrooms
... manually check all a/v against master list
... check all a/v is working
... repair a/v
... insure serial numbers match insurance policy
... label a/v
odds in ends:
... catalogue books (I don't have time during the school year because of
my reduced hours)
... repair damaged books
... clean books
... reorganize library to accommodate growing collection
... weed (ohh, it is so hard to throw away books missing
covers/pages/pictures because they probably won't be replaced)
... take all books/materials off shelves and clean shelves (the only
time my shelves are cleaned)
... file publishers catalogues
... order books/supplies for next year
... update webpages
... file correspondence
... plan activities for next year (read-athons, author visits etc)
... clean off desk until I can see the wood (!!!)

... clear all library computers of saved files from teachers and
... rearrange hardware/software on library computers to maximize
... delete old emails from my computer (there must be a faster way than
one by one)
... prepare for September:
... decide on library schedule for new year (I have a combination
fixed/flexible schedule with 35 weekly half hour class book exchanges)
... change any policies for new year
... set up computer calendar for new year
... do up activity sheets for students for new year
... move all students up a grade in the computer system, add info such
homeroom/teacher if it is available
... change screen savers to "Back to school theme"
... change bulletin boards (I have 9 and I only do them once a year)
... decide what work to bring home for the summer
There are lots of little tasks too but I think that list is a start.
Good luck in your battle, keep us all posted.
16. Just yesterday I decided on the calendar for end of year
closing for my two schools (K-5) with books collections of about 10,000
per school. Multiply the tasks necessary times two since it is for two
schools, plus being only one managing person. I too have hard-working,
full-time paraprofessional at each school. We are automated and
flexed. The actual physical inventory for each school only takes about
one and a half to two days, that included books, videos and dusting the
shelves as we go along. Then I allow a day to a day and a half for
reconciliation of the inventory results. We have to allow a good 5-7
school days to get the books back since invariably it seems
we have to physically track down the books with a cart. (Teachers many
times being included in the group that does not return on time, I think
not realizing that they have yet to be shelved before we leave for the
summer.) Collection of lost and damaged fees, plus cleaning of all
overheads, VCR heads, tape recorder heads are done in house. A physical
inventory of all equipment is taken also, but not in an automated way,
yet. Not to mention putting away decorations. Every year it seems like
the seemingly early closing date is an issue because of the time needed
to properly close the library and the teachers not comprehending the
extent of the task. On the days when we are not heavily engaged in the
equipment cleaning and the prep and actual physical inventory the
paraprofessionals offer to read in the classrooms. (I swap years for
which school has to have their books back a little earlier.) All this
explained...this year last week of book selection is proposed to be the
week of May 19, so students will have books in hands until May 28th and
June 1. Our last 1/2 day for students is May 16th. (For one of the
schools I also have to juggle around two celebrations that caused a
problem last year. We were mid-inventory and one of the departments
didn't understand that we were "all wires" and had volunteers in taking
the inventory and that the library was "closed.") I try to notify
teachers early of the closing schedule with the hope they will adapt
their plans as needed. I adapt my schedule and have it approved by each

principal so that I can have a block of time to finish up at each
17. I am in a junior high library and I keep the library open until the
next to the last day of the school year, which is a picnic day for the
students. I am on a nine month contract but work a little in the
summer anyway. I try to inventory part of the library before the
school year ends and get the equipment and books in. Other than
that, I don't worry too much.
18. You do inventory, but if you have a handheld device you may
begin anytime,
not wait until the end of the year. Inventory takes about a week. If
you have no extended contract (we have 20 days in our district), you
will need to get inventory done before the last week of school to try to
recover any lost books that may not have been actually checked out but
have left the premises. You need to send out overdue notices and
bills. But as far as closing the library, we never "close" but just
stop checking out books about 8 school days before the last day to give
us time to get all overdues cleared up. Students may do research IN the
library and not take out the books the last week. I conduct all library
classes except for classes that go on field trips or have an assembly
during their scheduled time. I don't make up their time that last
week. I feel that students need access to the library as long as school
is in session. It makes you look good and seem more important to the
scheme of things. If you close,
then you are just a warehouse caretaker, rather than a professional.
What you really need is to ask for an extended contract so all
housekeeping chores (finishing cataloging books you got at the book
fair, rearranging shelves to make the collection more accessible,
mending books you never had time to mend while you were teaching
classes, creating wonderful lesson plans for next year, creating a
website with Internet links to match the curriculum, ordering supplies,
books, videos, CD-ROMs, periodicals) could be done in summer months and
you could get full pay for a few more days.
19. I imagine you've gotten a lot of responses to this but I'll put
in my 2 cents
worth as we were just talking about it in our district. I too manage
two school libraries, both elementary. I have paras in each but not
full time in either school. The district currently plans to "close" the
libraries 2 weeks before school ends. This means classes no longer come
as scheduled. Kids can still come in for independent research and books
could still be checked out by teachers for classroom use.
In those two weeks, we will attempt to do as much as possible from this
list (not necessarily in this order). To do it all well would take at
least two months!
1. Put bookshelves back in order
2. Relabel/ shift shelves as necessary
3. Inventory all books
4. Make repairs to books needing it
5. Do some weeding
6. We have a new automation system, and I'd like to spot check the data
on many titles
7. Reorganize periodicals
8. Retrieve all overdue books or payment for lost books (which in itself
can be quite time consuming)!

I've been doing this for 20 years. I'm sure this list does not include
all that could/should be done at the end of the year. I'd be interested
in seeing a HIT if you'd share comments from others
20. My school is 6th through 8th, 400 students and I do not have a
para. We
are on a total flex schedule, which is wonderful for all parties
involved, but I have absolutely zero time throughout the school day to
do the things that need to be done at the end of the school year. I
used to close two weeks prior to the close of the school year, but the
teachers complained loudly. I reduced the time to one week (not
enough!). I do not have an extended contract, and must stay about a
week after everyone else does to get everything done. The teachers
understand and sympathize, but the students need in the library. I'm
very glad it is such an integral part of our school and so I (almost)
gladly stay the extra time during the summer. I want to continue the
good rapport I have with the staff and, most of all, I want the kids to
continue wanting in the library! I realize this is philosophical, and
not any real "ammunition" for you. I look forward to others' comments.
21. Everywhere that I have worked, it is customary to close the
media center
during the last two weeks of school, especially if you are automated.


Brook Berg
District Media Specialist
Fosston Public Schools
Home mailto:hdbaberg@unitelc.com
School mailto:bberg@fosston.k12.mn.us

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