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Back-To-School Librarian Toolkit
July 18, 2019
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7 Must-Have Features When Choosing the Best Library Software
August 6, 2019

Librarian Back-to-School Checklist

Librarian Beginning-of-School-Year Checklist
Ahhh, sweet summer is coming to an end! It’s time to get your library ready for students again. Even the most prepared teacher-librarian will need to cross off a few tasks before opening up their library doors. From library displays to updating calendars and importing patrons—you’ll be busy this month!

School Library Beginning-of-Year Checklist

To help you prioritize, we’ve created a Librarian Back-To-School Checklist. Check out the details below.
Establish a Library Theme Probably the most enjoyable task on your to-do list, creating a theme for your library will help students become excited about the new school year. Choose a topic, create a display, and pull books related to the idea.

Need theme ideas? Check out these suggestions:

  • Unmask a Super Book!
  • Reading Campout
  • Books are Dino-Mite
  • Blast off with a Good Book

Create Booklists

Booklists are a great way to showcase book recommendations by grade, topic, or theme. You can give booklists out to students, parents, and teachers. Booklists will help kids find new books and read more during the school year. You can even create a reading challenge and reward students for reading all the books on the list.

Booklists in Researcher

Create booklists using Researcher in Alexandria. Add books to a list following these steps here. Once you’ve created a list make it public. Post your book lists to your library bulletin boards so your patrons can easily access the list of books.

Prepare Your Library Software

Before you check out your first set of books, you’ll need to prepare your library software for the new year. We’ve listed Alexandria’s Beginning-of-Year Procedures and linked their corresponding instructions.

    1. Update Calendars
    2. Advance Patrons
      1. Advance Patron Grades
      2. Update Patron Policies 
    3. Import Patron Records
    4. Remove Graduated Students
    5. Update Expired Cards
    6. Backups
    Beginning-of-Year Producers v7 Users
    Beginning-of-Year Producers v6 Users

    Be sure to note several of the procedures in our back-to-school steps above will overlap with the End-of-Year Procedures. If you took these steps at the end of the previous school year, you don’t need to do them again. Kudos to you!

Watch Alexandria’s Back-to-School Workshop

If you’d prefer to be walked through the Beginning-of-Year Procedures, be sure to watch our Back-to-School with Alexandria workshop. In our workshop, we’ll lay out the step-by-step process of opening up your library for the new school year. We will answer common questions and give you tips to effortlessly prepare your library for the upcoming year.

Back-to-School With Alexandria v7 Users
Back-to-School With Alexandria v6 Users

Alexandria Training

Alexandria offers basic training webinars bi-weekly. Hosted by our certified trainers, our webinar training will cover the topics of Patrons, Items, Circulation, Tools, Preferences, and Settings. Each session will end with a Q&A. Take a look at our training workshops.

Alexandria also offers one-on-one training. This hands-on approach can be conducted in a live webinar or on-site format. To learn more about our training options, contact us at

Sign up for the Tip of The Week

Sign up for Alexandria’s Tip of the Week. We’ll send tips and tricks directly to your inbox every week. From tools to management to researcher, learn short-cuts and pointers on how to use your Alexandria software like an expert.

Sign up here!

Plan Library Orientation

Every student that visits your library should have an orientation. Plan out your library orientation before school starts. Your library orientation should highlight checkout and return procedures, library resources, and how to take care of borrowed books properly. If your school provides a back-to-school night, you can plan a mini orientation for parents. Library orientation is a great way to introduce yourself to the school community!

Outline the School Year

Get organized and make a general plan for the year. You’ll thank yourself for outlining ahead of time, instead of trying to do so during the thick of things. Create a general plan for lessons, displays, book highlights, and more. Buy a planner and mark key dates like book fairs, holidays, and celebrations.

Not to worry! We’ll help you get started. Here are a few celebrations to note:

Banned Books Week
International Dot Day
National Friends of Libraries Week
Novel Writing Month
November is Picture Book Month
Children’s Book Week
Read Across America Day

Need more?

Check out our Back-to-School Librarian Toolkit for more ideas. We have books and activities you can use in your library to kick off the year right.

Tidy Up Your Shelves

Tidying up your shelves can give your library the refresher it needs. Your elementary library may be cluttered with outdated books, old files, broken technology, or misplaced supplies. Now is the time to sweep through your shelves! You can go the extra mile and tidy up your entire library. Take a look at these tips for sparking joy in your library space.

Make Lists for Volunteers

We bet you have a few volunteers who come into the library during the school year. Create a list of running tasks and projects for volunteers to complete. These tasks can be recurring tasks like re-shelving books and organizing shelves or a giant project like genrefying the library. Trust us when we say it will make projects and tasks more manageable.

Purchase Supplies

It’s time to stock up on additional supplies. Take an inventory of your library supplies. Need a new scanner? Labels? Printer? Stocking up now means you won’t have to worry about it during the school year. Not to mention, many teacher discounts are happening at the beginning of the year. Don’t miss out!

Replenish your supplies.

Talk to Teachers

You should always be talking to teachers. It is valuable to communicate with teachers on what you’ll be focusing on during the school year. During these conversations, learn how teachers hope to use the library during the school year and ask questions about units the teachers plan to teach. Additionally, you should provide teachers with information about library services and specific library tools teachers can use.

Making Reservations

Show your teachers how to use Alexandria’s Reservations tool. Teachers can use reservations when checking out an item for a specified future date. For example, if a teacher is planning a specific unit and needs a classroom set of Because of Winn-Dixie, they can reserve the items for a future date. When that future date arrives, no other patrons can check out the reserved books.
You can also use reservations with the For Library Use patron to ensure that an item is available for use in the library during a specified date range. For example, you can use the For Library Use patron to make reservations for all Thanksgiving books on November 15th through the 30th. No other patrons can check out Thanksgiving books while those reservation dates are active.

Learn more about reservations.

Talk to Administration

Schedule a time to meet with your principal to discuss your plans for the library. During this conversation highlight the successes and failures from last year and how the principal can help you achieve your goals for the library in the new school year. Allow your principal to contribute suggestions of what they would like to see in the library during the new year.

Make Connections

Get connected with other librarians in your school district. Finding a community of other librarians and media specialists is an excellent opportunity to bounce off ideas, ask questions, and find library inspiration. Facebook groups, social media, and RenWeb are great starting points to finding your tribe.

Did you know there is an Alexandria Librarians Facebook group? Join here!

New Year, New Library Inspiration

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