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Some time ago I promised to post any hits I received to my request for advice for a 
new elementary media specialist. Below are the answers I received. Thanks to 
everyone who responded.

Angela Williams
Media Specialist
McKissick Elementary School
Easley, SC

If at all possible, try to contact the person at your new site and ask to spend a 
day or two with her "learning the ropes." Hopefully you can see how she manages 
check-in/out, etc. It may be very different from H.S.  By this time of year, she 
may already be in "return only" mode, but perhaps she could still show you the 
automation system (if different from yours) - how to do inventory, printing up 
bills for lost books, subscription info, things like that. Find out if she has 
policies and procedures written down. If not, ask if you can interview her and jot 
down what her normal policy is (for late books, etc.). What things does the library 
always do every year? What committees, programs, etc. are you expected to help with 
or run? Does the library annually close down for book fairs, Santa Secret shops, 
other school activity or fundraising events?

If this school is in your current district, ordering may be standardized 
throughout. Ask if this is so, or if she orders independently, with whom, etc. You 
may find she works with a different group of vendors and reps than you have. Ask 
her to leave you their business cards if she has them.

Treat her to lunch -off campus if possible so she can talk freely. It's a great way 
to get a "heads up" on which teachers (or parent volunteers) are ones you'll want 
to make inroads with immediately and which ones may require "special handling." Six 
months later you may look back and find you were in complete agreement with her or 
just the opposite!

When I first started many years ago, the principal advised me not to change 
anything the first year. I've found that kids are pretty adaptable to change - it's 
teachers you have the most problem with. So take it slowly and try to keep things 
on an even keel and make changes gradually. Have fun and enjoy yourself and the 

Best wishes,

Joanne Ladewig, Library Media Technician (a.k.a. "Library Lady")
Lawrence Elementary School, GGUSD
Garden Grove, CA USA

I'd love to read some of the other ideas your receive.  Here are a

couple I thought of just off the top of my head:

1.  Have procedures for checkouts and checkins, magazine signouts,

reading incentives, library aides, parent helpers, etc. in place and

stick to them.

2.  New books - designate with a sticker or colored tape and put in a

particular place.  The children love to be the first one to take out a


3.  "Get in their faces" = talk again and again with the teachers about

collaboration, communicate with the school family about new books or

special events in the library, communicate with the principal often

about the importance of libraries, get outside the library and greet

and participate in the children's lives.

4.  Wear goofy hats, play games that build up skills, have special

breakfasts or lunches to mark achievements, advertise, and advertise.

5.  Read to each grade even for a short portion of the class time.


Lisa M. Askey

Elementary Librarian

Phil-Mont Christian Academy

Dresher, PA. 19025

ENJOY your summer.  You're going to need your energy.  I just survived

my first year.  I know that a fellow LM_Netter, Alice Yucht, will

respond to your query.  She has an EXCELLENT website that I have used



I recommend that you bookmark that site.  She has a wonderful template

for a brochure that you could have ready for the first day orientation

at school.  It's a great introduction of yourself and the services that

you will be able to provide.

Don't go in expecting to change a lot.  This really upsets people.

Make changes slowly and gradually.  Inform the staff of the changes at

staff meetings and with memos.

You will be surprised at the leadership role and how much power is in

your hands.  However, remember how you use that power can make you or

break you.  Be willing to ask the staff what they would like from the

media center, be willing to listen (even if you know there's no way

under the sun that you will do as suggested), and be willing to try new

things.  Be a risk taker.

I didn't think I was doing such a great job, but I got my first eval

and received top marks in all areas.  I also compared circulation

statistics.  I more than doubled the circulation.  The average books

circulated through our media center for the last 10 years was about

3700 - 4100 books.  I circulated 9100.  This is not really because of

anything that I did.  It was my new principal who supported me from Day

1.  She moved the movement class from the library (long story, don't

ask), and she took me off of the rotation with the PE, art,

music/movement, etc.  Teachers had a scheduled time to come in each

week with their class.  It was understood that this was not a Teacher

Prep.  The teacher or the assistant was to stay with the class and we

would work together.  Lovely situation.


Janice M. Askew

Media Coordinator

T. S. Cooper Elem.

237 NC Hwy. 32 South

Sunbury, NC  27979

Okay, here's the best I've got after 8 years as an elementary school

librarian.  The book ordering, fine letters, blah, blah, blah, will all

come.  This is what I've found to be the most important:

  -- Love the kids.

  -- Act silly sometimes or at least once a day.

  -- Remind the kids why they should love to read about 1 million


  -- Make the library a safe haven for the most unloveable child in


building.  He/she will need you more than you'll ever know.

  -- Meet w/other elementary librarians and pick their brains -


  -- Make sure the kids know not all books have an AR quiz.

  -- When other responsibilities are heaped on your head, remember your

focus is to the children you see every day.  Everything else will get

done eventually, or not.

  -- Have FUN!

Have a great year.  Kelly

Kelly Smith, Librarian

School Technology Specialist

J. W. Wiseman Elementary

922 South Broadway

Portland, TN  37148

(615) 325-8580

The best advice I can give you is to think back when you were in elementary school. 
 The students love to be read aloud to and they love for you to make sounds and to 
be animated.  My students can't wait for me to dress in the Cat and the Hat 
costume.  They even ask me every year if I am going to be the Cat and the Hat 
again!  It is a tradition at our school.  They love for you to joke and laugh with 
them.  This age group has such a sense of humor.  They will move close to you to 
hear the story and they marvel at the pictures.  We have some great discussions and 
I am amazed at how much they learn and how much they observe in their world. This 
is the starting place where you can turn them on to books and help them become life 
long readers and learners.  Basically, you are working with little angels.  Good 
luck at your new school.

Donna Nowak/Library Media Specialist/Kilmer Elementary/Colorado Springs

I love elementary as well. If you haven't worked in an elementary

School before it might be helpful to get copies of the following books:

Best Books for Children: Preschool Through Grade 6 Seventh Edition

by John T. Gillespie

A To Zoo: Subject Access to Children's Picture Books, Sixth Edition

by Carolyn W. Lima, John A. Lima

These books will give you ideas of what to buy, what to read to the


and how to fill teachers needs as well.

Good luck,


Josephine Dervan, Library Media Specialist

Strathmore Elementary School

Aberdeen, NJ

He who has a garden and a library, wants for nothing- Cicero

Suggestion: Make a flexible schedule and stick to it.

Carol Johnson

Instructional Technology Consultant

College of Technology and Computer Science

East Carolina University

Science & Tech. Building Room 239

Greenville, NC 27858-4353

252-328-9632  FAX 252-328-4250

Angela Williams
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