It’s all about communication! To make shutting down for the summer a stress-free experience, you have to communicate to everyone you can think of more often than you think you should have to. It’s a busy time of year, and students, teachers and families all have a lot going on. Just because getting library books back from 187 different students is a big job for you doesn’t mean they understand your woes! They’re only thinking of themselves and the one or two books they haven’t gotten around to looking for yet!
Here are some things to remember:
Make sure everyone knows when your final due date is!
Make sure everyone knows how to change their pickup location. Make sure they know that if they didn’t change the pickup location, their requests have been suspended until August. They can reactivate the request and choose a different pickup location by logging into their account on indypl.org.
Make sure you gather back all library books*. You can run a report on the intranet behind the VPN (http://sharednet.indypl.org/). Choose Horizon Reports, Blocks and Overdues. Choose the link for Items and Borrowers Block Reports, and then choose your location and the Checked Out Materials report. At the bottom of the report, there is a hyperlink that lets you download the report and open it in Excel so you can sort it by student name, call number, homeroom field (if you used it) or barcode number. You will also need to run the Lost Materials report. You can learn how to merge these spreadsheets into handouts for your students by watching the video The link is on the Downloads and Installations page on the SharedNet, so you have to be connected to the VPN to view it.
Make sure you know how your principal wants to handle books/items that don’t get returned. Some schools simply bill the families. Other schools withhold report cards. I have actually stalked parents at 8th grade graduation to collect money from them before the diploma got handed out. No lie! And I promise that was not the first time they heard their son had a lost book to pay for – they just waited till then to take care of it! One school is not letting students participate in Field Day this year unless all their books are turned in and/or paid for.
If you are withholding report cards or billing families, make sure you and your bookkeeper have a good communication system established so you both know when things are either returned or paid for.
Try to keep a sense of perspective. During the rest of the school year, you are really important to your students. When it comes time to collect the books back up, you are a small voice in a big crowd. Repeat your message often, apologize for seeming to nag, make compromises, use claims returned if they insist the book was returned. Try to balance the importance of responsible library users with the importance of wanting them to love the library. If you get too strident, you may discourage them from checking books out next fall, and none of us wants that!
If you have suggestions, please add them in the comments! Your friends around the city will thank you!
*Note: Some of your kids may not be able to get to a library over the summer. Some schools in other states check books out to students to read over the summer. I thought that was an interesting idea for you to consider. (Sorry, you can’t do it with IndyPL books, just yours!) If you choose to do this, just check the books out to the student and then extend the due date.