Library Policies and Supporting Staff

Module 5 reflection post for LIBE 461 Administration of the School Library Resource Centre

Welcoming Policies:

As a TOC, I have had the chance to work in many different libraries and I try to pick up different ideas from each one. Last week, I taught in a vibrant library in a large Vancouver elementary school. One policy that was successful for that library was accessibility! It seems simple, but by having the library open for twenty minutes before and after school every day of the week, students were encouraged to visit often. I only wish every school had this policy in place!

Circulation was high at this library and there was an entire wall listing holds on popular books. Another library I saw recently had a list of student names written on a sticky note on a new book to indicate the order in which it was to be borrowed.

In my children's school, the former TL used a positive reinforcement strategy in regards to overdue books. Classes with no overdues at the end of the year earned a pizza party.

The Bacon article suggests that if you don't have a book, you could offer to order a copy or borrow it from another library. My daughter's librarian has ordered books based on her recommendations, and it has been great for my daughter! Although I have yet to witness an inter-library loan, I assume that they happen in my district. Do any of you use inter-library loans?

Discouraging Policies:

I have seen evidence of "no borrowing if you have overdues" policies at several libraries. This obviously discourages some students from interacting with the library and it upsets some students. I understand that it is important for young students to understand the routine of returning books to the library, but it is hard to console a kindergartener who is crying when they're told they can't take out a book today. As someone who wants to get books into kids' hands, this doesn't sit right with me.

The opposite of the encouraging accessibility policy above is when libraries aren't open outside of class time. At my children's school of 275 students, the library is only open after school twice a week and it's never open before school.

Staff Issues

In my opinion, staff will want to work with a teacher-librarian who makes their lives easier and creates units that build students' research and literacy skills while meeting curricular needs. Lambert mentions that she solicits ideas from teachers and then creates the plan and does all the prep in order to make it simple for the teacher to bring their class to the library. If teachers can share some of their job and get support in teaching and assessing their students, they are more likely to want to collaborate with the TL in future.


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