Question Detail

Are there any librarians that use an Open Library concept? Help!!!

Oct 19, 2014 2:40pm

This is my first full-time contracted position and one that I do not have a lot of experience in. Elementary Library Media Specialist with 850 students! K-5... I only have to teach a lesson to Kindergarten. My main problem is scheduling. There are not enough days in the week or hours in the day to give each class their own "slot". I have 6 Kindergarten classes, 5 First Grade, 5 Second Grade, 6 Third Grade, 5 Fourth Grade and 6 Fifth Grade. Right now I have open library times for 3-5 grades where teachers can send students down between 9:43- 10:23 or 1:00- 2:30. This isn't working. I will have teachers that bring their entire class down, and others who send 5-8 students in a group and they just keep coming!!! I will have a line of 20 students to check out when Kindergarten is walking through the door for their "specials" class time. I have tried emailing teachers and asking them not to send students down after 10:15, so I can get everyone checked out before Kindergarten gets there. It is not working. Help!!!

  • Arts / English Language Arts / Other
  • K-5
  • Collaboration / New Teachers


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    • Oct 27, 2014 8:33am

      The best way to start, at this point, is the eliminate your check out duties. Train someone to do check in and check out. Where I worked last year, we used parent volunteers. Ask, if you can post for volunteers to come in at your open library hours. Or recruit students. Most school check out systems are not complicated. The kids can learn community service, application of alphabetical order, and a vocational skill. Also, students parent volunteers or students can be responsible for escorting students to the library at certain times. This will eliminate the problem with teachers sending to many students at a time. Make a schedule for each class. Make the 5th graders the captains and don't be afraid to have students from multiple grades in your room at once. Have the 5th graders (in pairs) pickup 4th and 3rd graders in groups of 10. This is an example the numbers will vary.
      But in terms of quick math, I will assume you have class sizes of 25 students. So it looks likes you have 5 hours and 50 minutes per week to move about 500 kids in and out of the library. So, 110 kids an hour. It's doable with help.
      You said you've been emailing, stop emailing and talk directly to people. You work in a school, a community of problem solvers and genuinely supportive people. Ask around for solutions, when you have established a routine then email everyone. But definitely start with adult volunteers they will be the fastest to train.
      Finally make sure everyone knows that you only check out books once a week. Some of your book worms may be trying to make multiple trips to the library.

      • Oct 27, 2014 1:41pm

        It sounds like you are in a pickle. I'm wondering if you have been educated/certified as to how to run a flexible schedule? A flexible schedule is what is most desired so that students can go to the library "at point of need," but that means that you need enough staff. I have not found students or volunteers to be very helpful very often. It's more than knowing the alphabet. I've worked with adult paras who did not understand shelving very well. I think you need to ask the principal for help with the teachers who are not respecting your polite requests with regard to Kindergarten time. You might try having a pickup time where you take a book truck and go by one grade level or two each morning to collect books and check them in at one time. Then you can be concerned only with checking books out rather than checking in and out at once. Then you might work out a schedule for checking out classes for twenty minutes at a time (which should work well if teachers are on time) and then have a set time for passes.

        If teachers and students don't follow the pass times, you should politely return them to class unsatisfied. This is an unfortunate situation but necessary if you are understaffed.