30 Days Hath September

Photo credit: ppdigital from morguefile.com

Do you have a “September” folder?
A number of years ago I attended an excellent workshop through BER entitled Increasing the Effectiveness of your School Library Program. The presenter, Deborah Ford, had many tips for ensuring that we remain organized.  She recommended creating forms which could be used/tweaked in lots of situations.  One of her essential forms was for End-of-Year procedures.  Something you could pull out in June and make sure you didn’t forget to complete a particular task before closing up shop for the summer.  This proved very valuable to me, and I got thinking—what about a similar form for September?   The fabulous folks at elementarylibraryroutines.wikispaces.com have a sample you can use to tweak for yourself.  (That’s what I did!) Now my September “to-do list” is housed in my September folder on my hard drive, along with suggested read-alouds for the beginning of the year, signage, parent letters, volunteer sign-up sheet, behavior expectations, etc.  Make a pledge to create a list before this week is over, and you’ll be ahead of the game come next September!

Brownies and browsing and books, oh my!

First 6 Weeks: Part 3
One September activity that has gone a long way in building good will with my staff is to invite them in to see all the new books after we’ve processed them and before we circulate them to students. We set up Barnes & Noble style with distinct areas for certain genres and we provide brownies as a treat. We offer a morning slot and an afternoon slot to accommodate the specials schedule so everyone has a chance to drop by. We have clipboards out and a form teachers can fill out listing books (with call numbers) that they might want to sign out at some point. If I purchased a book with a particular teacher or team in mind I’m sure to put a sticky note on it and usher them right over to it. And of course I’m happy to recommend great read-alouds while I have a captive audience!

First six weeks Part 2: A Gold Mine!

A few years ago I purchased Harry Wong’s The First Days of School for the professional collection, read it over the summer, and then very intentionally changed the way I did some things in my library. The book was a great read, addressing many of the day-to-day issues for teachers. One of my biggest take-aways from the book was the whole idea of figuring out and explicitly teaching the routines I wanted to have in place for my library—entering, exiting, transitioning from story to book exchange, lining up, etc. It has made a big difference for me in my work, and consequently I have recommended it to several people, especially newbie teachers.

This summer I came across an excellent wiki which was begun by four librarians who had a Twitter chat about Harry Wong’s book. This wiki is an absolute gold mine! (especially if you’re new to the field) These librarians have posted an incredible number of resources and links that will help you not only with the routines involved in your work, but the administrative tasks, curriculum, and promotion of your library. Lots of handy stuff all in one convenient place. It’s clear that the site is truly a “living” wiki, too, with regular updates. I first looked at it in July and my visit there yesterday had some new surprises.

So in the same spirit of those four colleagues who so generously share and provide a space for others to share, I am sharing their amazing wiki with all of you. Have a look—you won’t be disappointed!