Reduced hours? No Assistant? More Classes? Reduced Teaching Minutes?

Image from: Idioms

Districts are making drastic cuts across the board. Please add your "out of the box" ideas on how to run a library without an assistant. This is not the "ideal" situation, but it is the reality of MANY elementary librarians. This is a controversial topic that has been rejected by many in our profession. I'm a realist. This was my situation as it may be yours. In 2011, I went through a roller coaster of emotions as my principal delivered the news that my position would be reduced to .75, then down to .4, then back up to 100% after one of our other integral teachers resigned. During the 2011-2012 school year, we were reduced to 1 aide for the entire school and no library assistant. If you have ideas like "parent volunteers", please detail how you train your volunteers and encourage them to participate regularly all year long. Help us to NOT do "more with less", but to do things differently.

-Keisa Williams, Librarian, Monarch Academy (2006-2012)

Big Idea



Switch library check out to every other week.

Switching to every other week (or every 3 weeks) allows you to use the non-book week to focus on lessons.
Offer before and after school checkout for voracious readers. - keisawilliams keisawilliams Jun 15, 2011

Teach via Screencast

This works if you have 1 computer per student. Record your 2-8 minute mini-lesson using a free screencast creator. Have students individually watch your lecture then perform an assessment task. For example: Create a screencast of How to use the OPAC. Then create a Google Form with your assessment questions. Embed this form in a wiki. This way you have all of your data in a spreadsheet. Another option would be to host your screencasts on your school server (so you do not have to depend on the Internet). I haven't tried this yet, but I plan to play around with Screenr during the summer. Here is a great example. - keisawilliams keisawilliams Jun 15, 2011
Screencasting Bookmarks

Promethean Planet

If you are lucky enough to have a Promethean Board and clickers in your library, remember to use the resources at Promethean Planet. You will find free resources, but they also offer fabulous professional low cost flipcharts. Here are a few of my favorites: Brainpop Flipcharts, Read It Yourself Stories, Literacy First NonFiction K-4, Literacy First Fiction K-4, DK Eyewitness Activity Packs, Old MacDonald Had Hot Fudge Table of Contents, GreenLight Learning Tools Reading Mini Lessons , National Geographic Explorer, Free Resources from National Geographic. - keisawilliams keisawilliams Jun 15, 2011


Self Check Out
Our district obtained the self-check module for our new circ system this last year, and I plan to pilot using it with 4th-5th graders. When we get the "kinks" worked out, I may open that up to other grades. Right now, I plan to train teachers to help check out students, and while I am working with a teacher's class, the teacher will be "on call" to work with any students there on passes with self checking. When 4th-5th graders are checking out, I plan to be in the stacks w/ the students primarily, and the classroom teacher will be monitoring self check for her own students. Our self check module does not allow for returning or rechecking, and I don't know exactly how holds will work. This is all a plan in progress. We'll see how it works.
I think this will be a good change in some ways, b/c the classroom tchrs will be more aware of what their students are checking out. If I see that certain teachers are discouraging students' free choice (only "just right" books, only books of a certain level or genre), I will simply let them check out an extra book so they meet their teacher's expectations, but still get to take something that interests them. (jamie camp)

I have used self-checkout all the way down to second grade. Overall it works okay. Our district is transitioning to another circulation software that will not let students check out over their limit. This has been the downfall to the current set up. Additionally, I think in the coming year I will assess each students ability to do self check out before giving them the privilege to use self check out. Multiple school librarians have posted photos of the step by step process and have color coded the keys that need to be used. (Stacy Ford)

I have used self-checkout and self-check in K-5. Students check out at the promethean board computer. This way I can see the screen from across the room. I turn the volume up so I can hear any of the error alerts. I blogged about it here: Autonomy is the New Black. - keisawilliams keisawilliams Jun 15, 2011