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I had a couple requests for a HIT so here it is.  Sorry it took so long,
this is still new to me.  These are some of the responses that I got on the

I don't charge the teachers in my school. I encourage them to borrow
lots of books and I recognize that some will probably get misplaced, but
I figure in this setting, we're all working toward the same goal -
getting kids to read - so I don't worry about the books that disappear.
There aren't very many, anyway.  Just my opinion.

Bettie Fisher
Media Specialist
Eberwhite Elementary School
Ann Arbor, MI

The first thing you need to do is have a policy and procedure manual and the
second thing is to have it approved by the powers that be, whether it is
your principal or board.  Once it is approved, then you can enforce the
policy with no problem.  And I can tell you this from experience...I did
they same thing this year and when I get a complaint my principal backs me

I didn't get in on the teacher paying for books issue but at my last school
San Antonio Texas when a teacher lost a book there wasn't any question that
teacher would pay for it.  The students paid for lost books; the teachers
for lost books, end of discussion.  School property is everybody's
and considering our library funds had been cut drastically not to charge a
person (student or teacher) for losses just wasn't an issue.  In addition if
teachers checked out a class set of textbooks, they paid for the lost

Neena Wright
Librarian, Mathews High School
Mathews VA

I've been following this thread with interest.  We don't have a policy in
>place about charging teachers for lost books.  The teachers in my building
>assume that they are supposed to pay for the books, and we've always let

Molly Clark
Library Media Specialist, serving grades 3-5
Elm St. Elementary (K-5)
Phoenix, NY

I'm sorry to disagree on this one.  If the teachers would send THE KIDS to
the library to check out books instead of creating their own mini-library
in the classroom they wouldn't have to worry about children taking the
books and then being liable for them.  It isn't any better to let teachers
get away with losing books than it is for kids to get away with it.  We're
in our jobs to help keep such a situation from arising.

Shelley McCoy
Library Media Specialist
Farragut Middle School
200 West End Avenue
Knoxville, TN  37922
phone 865-671-7016
fax 865-671-7048

I say get the support of your administration and stick to your guns.  We
have the same policy here, and if a teacher whines about it, I refer them to
the principal.

I look at it this way: The students here have to pay for lost books, so why
should the teachers be treated differently??  Our students are very
low-income, and if they can manage to pay for the books, surely the teachers
can.  Plus, I think the policy makes the teachers be more careful with the
books.  If the policy wasn't in place, why should they keep track of their

Good luck!
Lisa Jessup
Library Clerk
Pendleton School
Buena Park, CA

You must have your principal's support or it just won't work.  You'll build
much ill will that will damge a collaborative relationship with your
This is an area you need a lot of tact.  Talk a lot about how important it
for teachers to return materials.  Give them a lot of gentle reminders.
all your new teachers, the older one will slowly come around, for the most
Good Luck!
Debbie Balsam, LMS
Taylor Elementary
Arlington, VA

I would only charge them if they lose several and show a pattern of this or
regard at all for your position. Often my teachers offer to pay; I have
taken money from a teacher that I recall. If they offer to replace a book or
you could take them up on it graciously.
Good luck with this, and I know your situation must be different.
Keep in mind, as sad as it seems, good, working relationships with teachers
your bread and butter. 8-)

Anyone who loses a book should pay for it.  If a teacher checks out books
for her classroom then lets a student take a book or more out of the room,
the teacher is responsible for seeing that the student returns the book.  If
the student loses the book, the student should pay but it should be the
teacher's responsibility to dog him or contact his parents until the book is
paid for.

Virginia Y. Martin, Librarian
Ketron Middle School
Kingsport, TN 37660


I go by the ole' saying that if Mama ain't happy, no one is.  I have
been a school librarian for 18 years and in those years I have had
very few books lost by teachers.  Most of the books lost were
taken home by the student.  I have found that I do a lot to keep the
teachers happy.  If the teachers want to boycott your
library....believe you me, they will.  I have just learned to choose
my battles.  Although I taught in the classroom before moving into
the library.....they seem to forget we librarians were ever teachers.
I love my cohorts and I try not to put too much on them.  The
"standards" have just about killed them and the pay here is
low.....but, if they lose a bunch...then we talk about a "settlement".
Good luck to you.....the joy that you bring to your students and the
love of reading that you will instill in their hearts is worth every
minute you put into it.  Good luck and I hope you enjoy your job as
much as I do mine.  Cathy Lattus

Cathy Lattus, Media Specialist
Woodrow Wilson Elementary
900 West Emerson Street
Paragould, Arkansas

I have never charged teachers for books lost during the year for the very
you mentioned. I want the teachers to use our resources and understand the
of the library. Students use the books and take them home, etc. and it
seem fair to charge the teacher for a lost book which may have been taken by
student. I have helped them work out different systems for signing out books
students who need them at home, etc. but my philosophy (on all library
is that we are here to serve the community (teachers, students and parents).
want them to value and use the facility and therefore I don't want to
them for doing that. Our teachers are good about trying to keep track of
they have checked out and asking students to help find those that are
If you build trust with teachers and students, they will value your program
want to keep track of materials. I figure the few lost books (which often
up the next year) is worth the "good relationship".
Hope that helps.

        I fill out a purchase order and ask their department head to code it
(for their department) and sign it for replacement of the lost item.  This
works for me.  If the department head wants to reduce his budget for a
careless teacher then that's fine with me.

Lee Milner
Torrington High School
Torrington, WY 82240

Most schools have a policy that the school budget makes up this amount.
Usually it comes from that department's budget. Did you go to your principal
before you initiated this policy?  Die he/she approve it, endorse it, tell
the faculty about it?
Unless you are talking about a lot of books, most just absorb the cost, list
it in a budget request ( Amount for replacement of books lost by faculty -
$xxx.xx) and go on.  It is a hard thing to enforce without  prior discussion
and real endorsement by administration to back you up.
Unless the amount is really large, most administrators won't make a fuss
about it.

Toni Koontz
Media Specialist
St. Charles Preparatory
Columbus Ohio
Carpe Diem

Kathy Cool
Ressie Jeffries Elem. School
Front Royal, Va

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