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Thanks, everyone, for the many recommendations!
Here is my original TARGET:
Here's a question especially (but not only) for those of you who manage a library 
solo and are responsible for coordination of equipment (TVs/VCRs/DVD players; 
digital cameras; videocameras, etc.): What system have you used that works well and 
takes the least amount of effort and time from your day?
This has been my first year in my library (no aide and none coming anytime soon), 
and I've been coordinating equipment through a shared Outlook calendar that anyone 
can check but not add reservations to. They are supposed to check for availability 
and then email me with their request if it's available when they need it. While I 
still think that takes less time than everyone just asking me without having 
somewhere to check first, it does take on average an hour of my time every day to 
coordinate all this equipment (including tracking it down when it doesn't return). 
I'm considering a system for next year of a manual notebook housed in the library 
that anyone who wants to borrow equipment must physically come and check and write 
in their reservation. I'm wondering, though, if this will save me time in the end.
I found lots in the archives about caring for equipment and ways to circulate it, 
but nothing about a coordination system. Suggestions? I'll post a HIT. Thanks!
Here’s the HIT, with names removed:
This looks like a great way to handle your work load and equipment and 
facility use requests!
I use a pair of dry erase calendar boards housed in the library.  Teachers are to 
come and reserve equipment.  If the equipment was reserved and not returned they 
then go the teacher who was "supposed" to return it and then they can claim it.  
Like you I am a one person show and can't manage everything.  This system works 
well in my library and most people are very cooperative.
Just curious as to your rationale for not allowing them to sign out the equipment 
on the shared Outlook calendar in advance.  I am fortunate that most basic 
equipment.......VCR/DVD, and televisions are in every room. Digital and video 
cameras aren't requested that often so they just ask me usually a day or two in 
advance so that I can make sure it is in and charged.  However we do have two 
mobile labs that I am in charge of.  I just put a clipboard with each one with a 
printed calendar for every month. Teachers write their name and times.  The one or 
two times this year that there has been a scheduling problem or location problem I 
just told the teachers to talk to each other with the schedules in hand and work it 
out. Not a problem.
I would think that if your teachers are comfortable using the Outlook calendar that 
scheduling it themselves, with some monitoring by you so that one teacher doesn't 
monopolize it, would save you time and help all staff remember that this is shared 
Good luck.
I am also new to a high school media center this year.  I am fortunate to have an 
assistant (even though 99% of her time is making photo copies for the teachers).  
As far as the equipment goes, the teachers come into the media center and sign up 
for the equipment.  I have calendars on the clipboards (equipment, computer lab and 
media center usage) where they sign up on a first come first serve basis.  I do 
have a problem with a few teachers who share the LCD projector and laptop.  The 
weekly sheets are dated until the end of school.
Hope this helps.
I created a daily booking sheet using a Word table - equipment down the 
side, periods across the top. Then blew it up to A3 on the photocopier. 
Staff used to visit and book, although they could also phone.
It worked ok.  Few stuff ups!
Now we use a program called Book-It.  Stuffups abound as staff find it hard 
to remember all the permutations.
Although my assistant and I are not involved in the bookings, we still end 
up having to clean up the messes.  Nasty.
For a small school, give me the daily booking sheet every time.
I use a binder with weekly schedule sheets for the entire year(Monday through 
Friday and half-hour time slots). If anyone wants to reserve a piece of equipment, 
they come to the library and block out a
day(s) and time(s). All equipment is barcoded and scanned out to the person wanting 
it (so I can tell who has what). I don't use the schedule for overheads and carts 
because every classroom has this equipment, but the items are checkout to the 
teachers and on their library record.
I am also the lone librarian.  Although I did have a student aide one period a day. 
 We are a K-12 system formerly in two buildings now connected with 
office/stairwell/elevator/Distance Learning Room addition.  I have an inventory for 
AV equipment for the entire school, which I am updating/locating/etc.  This is my 
first full year on the job, started in Nov of 2004.
I coordinate the TV/VCR/DVD's for the secondary - about 10 teachers/classrooms on 
three floors.  (The elementary is an open plan setup and they share a couple 
TV/VCR/DVD setup between the six rooms there.) I have two shelved carts with 
TV/VCR/DVD and all the cables and remotes on them.  There are two sign out sheets 
on a cabinet just inside the library door.  Still have to do some tracking down, 
but often the teacher who wants the machines will do that themself after checking 
the list to see who had it last.  No one needs to check them in or out with me and 
if no one has a machine reserved for that class period it is first come.  This 
would not be possible since I am only half-time librarian and spend part of it in 
the elementary library and part in the secondary where the equipment is housed.
If you have all the equipment housed in on area/closet and depending on the number 
of items you have you might have a sign up sheet for each one and post them on the 
door/wall/bulletin board.  If there are more than six or eight the notebook would 
be a better idea.  I think having the teachers come to the library and sign up for 
items would be easier for you, especially if they could just come in and sign up.  
If a date was filled they could find an alternate right away.  If each reservation 
and check-out doesn't have to be okay'd by you personally this would save you time. 
 Are you automated? Does your equipment have barcodes so you can check them out on 
the system like you do a book?  If not, you could try this as well.  I haven't got 
my library automated yet -- hopefully, this next fall.  However, can you reserve a 
book on an automated system?  I am at home and can't check.  I know I can reserve a 
book through the online system at the college where I take classes.
Not knowing your set up, the amount of equipment, and the frequency of use I can 
only suggest some things.  And I think I am out of ideas.  Good luck.
I was a solo librarian, too.  This method seemed to work pretty well.  The 
teachers' credit unions in our area give out free large book-format calendars every 
year.  Each two pages is one month, and the squares have plenty of room to write.  
Use one for each category of equipment, i.e. one for TVs/VCRs/DVDs, one for 
cameras, etc.  I assume you have them all numbered prominently.  (I had my TVs/VCRs 
and TVs/DVDs checked out in sets and just labeled the carts.)
I labeled the books with LARGE print in Magic Marker, and kept them on my desk for 
the teachers to sign themselves up, and made sure they knew how many of each we 
had!  We must have had some kind of a limit as to how far in advance or how many 
days they could sign up for, but I can't remember what the limits were.  You 
probably have them already.  If not, you need them!  Keep in mind how far in 
advance lesson plans have to be turned in.  In case of uncooperative equipment, 
those who signed up first had first dibs.  
There is an advantage in having them come to the library--good PR opportunities!
I used to use a 3 ring binder for each tv cart and printed out calendars 
(from Word template) for each one. Binder stayed in  the room where tvs 
were stored. Teachers would sign up as needed, some on a regular basis, 
some the day of need.  In the morning, I'd check the schedule and write 
a postit note for who needed it when. Teachers were generally good at 
getting the cart to the next person, and if it didn't happen, the 
teacher could look in the book and track it down.  Teachers were pretty 
good about north and south sides of building (we were in the middle) so 
carts didn't have to roll far.
So, most of my work was setting up binders once a year, and short review 
in the morning. Occasional problem solving and tracking repairs and remotes.
I think it's a great service to your teachers that you maintain the Outlook 
calendar.  This is my sixth year in a similar situation, though it's my first in my 
present school.  Here we use a physical notebook, and it really requires very 
little from me, except to track down the remote occasionally.  In my old school, 
there was more tracking, and more equipment to manage.  Teachers could sign the 
book, or email me with requests.  I found that I frequently had difficulty finding 
time to update the online version of my schedule, which created conflicts from time 
to time.  Over all, though, having the schedule available to faculty was popular.  
Do you use the resource scheduling feature in Outlook, or just a generic calendar?  
Good luck!
Our reserve/sign-out sheet is in the office. Teachers
are responsible for getting and returning the
equipment. Has worked well. The occasionaly glitch is
that a bulb has burned out or something gets broken
and nobody tells us.
I am not only the library media specialist and technology coordinator in my school, 
I am also in charge of the AV equipment.  I have a form that teachers must fill out 
and submit to me in order to borrow LCD projectors, digital cameras, video camers, 
VCR's, or any other equipment that is not bolted down to a cart.  I allow them to 
reserve a given piece of equipment for a week at a time.  I have a box behind my 
circulation desk with copies of the form.  They fill out the form and leave it for 
me in the same box.  I have a folder that I keep a weekly schedule in; when I 
receive a request, I book the equipment in the schedule.  All equipment borrowed 
must be returned by the end of the school day.  If teachers do not return equipment 
on time, I gently/forcefully remind them that it must be returned.  Some teachers 
have had a problem with this, and eventually, I do have to involve the principal by 
CC'ing her on the e-mail reminders I send to these teachers.  This system takes the 
most time on Monday mornings, when I process the requests.  But I probably spend no 
more than one hour a week on this task, and I have a paper trail to follow if there 
are problems.
How much stuff do you have?  How many teachers?  What is the configuration of your 
buildings or subject areas?  Meaning, would a better division be by building, wings 
or floors or by subject areas?
Why am I asking?  Because EVERYTHING you mentioned is considered standard classroom 
equipment and SHOULD NOT be on your inventory and your hassle.
If you do not have enough TV/VCR units for all teachers to have their own, then 
what is the ratio?  Can you have two side-by-side teachers share, three teachers?  
Does it need to be by wing, or floor or department?  If all the science teachers 
are together, can you assign the equipment by department?
Same with the overheads.  My guess you have as many of those as you have teachers.  
Tell them they are to add it to their inventory.  UNLESS, your district is like 
mine and the capital outlay needs to be over 500 dollars to be inventoried.  Then, 
they can just have it. 
Explain nicely that you will be happy to do any simple repairs or arrange for major 
repairs (cost effective!) new bulbs or replacement of broken equipment but with the 
time constraints on your schedule and increased use of equipment in the delivery of 
curriculum, the equipment needs to out where it will be used, not warehoused in the 
library or a "hassle" to schedule.
I've had to use all three of these scenarios, and I much prefer the standard 
equipment one.  Yes, I still trouble shoot, zooming off to classrooms to help a 
teacher with a recalcitrant machine, but no longer am I involved in the day to day 
scheduling of standard teaching tools.
Yes, I do have a few items, projection units, cameras and tape recorders that 
people can check out.  Projection units are expensive and do not go out much.  All 
of my science and history teachers have a mounted projection unit in their 
classrooms and one math teacher.  So, checkout for these usually is in the English 
classrooms.  Which is maybe once a trimester.
I highly recommend taking yourself out of the loop.  Get the equipment out to the 
teachers and let them schedule between themselves.
Thank goodness I am out of the equipment management game in this job. However, in 
my previous position (high school with about 500+ students) I did coordinate 
equipment.  When it was stored in my office (such fun-- you have no idea!) I kept 
one of those monthly planner calendars that we are given each year for teachers to 
reserve equipment. It was always first come, first served, and you'd better sign up 
for all the days you plan to use it because if your name was not on the calendar 
and someone else wanted it, I would send to take it away. (I seldom did it myself, 
but everyone was forewarned!)  At one time, I was provided with a separate storage 
room for the equipment, and I did the same, but also had a poster with a pocket for 
each item. Teachers had to sign and put the card from the cart into the pocket; 
this helped to locate MIA carts. Again, if a teacher kept a cart past the 
signed-for period, the person who wanted it went and took it away. I know it sounds 
harsh, but it worked, and I was really not hated for it! I realize it is not a 
perfect system, but after everyone knew the routine, I spent very little time with 
equipment (except for maintenance!)
What levels do you have?
Can you put eq on each grade level perhaps in the chairpersons room and a
chart on the wall outside the door where others could sign it out? Or make
different classrooms the home of a piece of eq with the sign out sheet on
the wall outside the room. Then each grade level will have what they need
and they can circulate it only on their GL. We used to do this in an elem
school that I worked in.
Now I house eq in classrooms and almost everyone has what they need w/o
needing to share.
Digital cameras are circulated from the library and checked out for
overnight use. This does not always work though as people don't return them
on time.
Hope this helps.
I have a shared drive on the network on which I put a calendar for each month of 
the school year. I only make them live when the previous month is almost over, so 
staff cannot plan for the year. This is where I put the calendars for everything: 
computer lab, DVD/VCR/TV carts, binding machine, video cameras and still cameras. 
It works well for everything except the cameras. I have to come up with something 
better for circulating those...
I hang a calendar on the door of the AV Room.  I request that the teacher sign up 
ahead of time, but that doesn't always work.  They sign the calendar for the day 
and item taken.  I sometime have to retrace the equipment, too.
I don't know how much of each type of equipment you have but I used to have a sign 
up page for each school day with the exact number of lines for that type of 
equipment.  (20 VCRs=20 lines)  That way teachers signed up for that day or more.  
I would also mark broken on a line if equipment was out for repair.      
Thanks again, everyone. At this point I’ll probably start with a physical 
calendar located at the library circulation desk where teachers can reserve 
equipment for the periods and days they need. We don’t have enough equipment for 
each classroom, and our classrooms are crowded, so we don’t want to locate 
equipment by floor or department. We’ll see how it goes!
Nancy KapLon, MLS
The SEED Public Charter School
Washington, DC 20019 <> 

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