Here’s a list I put out last year but many had indicated they wished the list came out earlier. Yes, I have started inventory, or should I say my students have started inventory. I micromanage the process and the students complete shelf-reading, scanning, and searching for missing books. I fix the cataloging issues – how did they sneak through last year’s inventory? My students actually love the job and eagerly greet me with, “Are we doing inventory today?” It is a long and tedious process but well worth accounting for books that have been misplaced, not checked in properly, marked lost, or other issues. When students claim they have returned that book I can confidently (or semi confidently) state that we have completed inventory and if the book was located in the library it would have been scanned. Here’s my end-of-school-year list.
- Start working diligently in getting student overdue items returned at the end of April or the beginning of May. Think about incentives for returning books. Ask your teachers for help in getting the books returned. I usually do a daily countdown and will break it down by grade level and money lost if not returned. The gathering of student overdue library items needs to be a collaborative school effort NOT just a library process.
- Use social media (Twitter, Facebook, Remind 101, etc.) to help get overdue books returned.
- Decrease the number of hardback books students may check out and increase the number of eBooks allowed in early May.
- Email friendly reminders to teachers in early May to return items they are no longer using.
- Begin inventory after Spring Break and try and have it complete before the last two weeks of school. Inventory can be seamless while your library is open and still checking out books. Inventory the heavily used collections such as fiction or graphic novels last.
- Inventory and weeding are two separate “beasts” so don't try and do both simultaneously. Do weed those musty books that jump out at you while you inventory.
- If you don't have time for a full inventory select your more heavily used collections to scan. I know there is nothing more frustrating than to try and find a book that has been missing for years. Get it marked as lost and replace it.
- Plan your final programs and have them ready to implement prior to the last month.
- Embed lessons on eBook usage and host BYOD Days. This will encourage and help with summer usage of eBooks.
- Design and give out bookmarks that will help students with checking out eBooks over the summer.
- Add screencasts or directions on accessing eBooks on your website.
- Skype or use Google Hangouts to incoming students and share summer reading lists and programs.
- Try and have a simple student book swap to encourage summer reading.
- If possible, host a book fair with a local book store or vendor and provide books on the summer reading lists.
- Gather data throughout the school year so your end-of-the-school-year report is not time consuming.
- Prioritize daily and complete the "must get done" projects first.
- Set a shelf or section aside for "next year's" tasks.
- Begin a list of books to purchase for next year's budget. I easily start a new list in Titlewave from books not received from my last order, lost books, newly released books, or paid for books.
- Allow students to replace the books rather than pay for the books. This is something I started in the last few years that really works.
- Do not use the term "library is closed for inventory". You can nicely say you must cut back on your services due to end-of-year obligations.
- Look around for opportunities to either attend or present at professional development functions during the summer and add them to your calendar NOW.
- Do not shut down your PLN for the summer! Set a goal to stay connected virtually and gather ideas for your next school year.
- Plan your summer reading and set reading goals. Share your summer reading with your faculty and students through the school website, twitter, Facebook, or other social media accounts.
- Host a virtual book club during the summer.
- Understand that you are human and have limitations so don't stress over what doesn't get done because it will be waiting for you next year.
- Work on the process as time allows but do not let it take over the main focus of your library.
Here’s a link that may help in the process:
Photo by Sue Fitzgerald
Photo by Sue Fitzgerald