To Open or Not to Open the Library, the First Day of School

Engrossed in a good book

School opened for students on August 11th, so I have now logged in two school days of the new year. On the first day, I began the day helping 6th graders all who are new to our school find their classrooms. At the change of each period, I was  in the hall helping to guide the students to where they should be. The district asked schools to post on social media using the hashtag #JPPSS1stday. I ran around the building taking a few pictures to post on Facebook and Twitter. Then when I had a few minutes, I worked on the library catalog and getting the library ready to open. Also, seniors, who are taking online classes, were scheduled in the library. Oh, I am the school's laminator queen, and I had piles of posters and papers to laminate for the new year. 

First book check out for 2016-17 school year
He is gearing up for the Fantastic Beasts movie by reading the book first
The district guidelines allow librarians to wait two weeks before opening the library to classes, though administration asks that librarians check out books as needed during that period. I like to have a soft opening the first few days letting in the regulars, and then try to schedule orientation for 6th and 7th graders as soon as I can. This year, it was raining during lunch the first two days of school. I got a call from the principal on the first day to explain that the students could not go outside and needed to have somewhere to go when they finished their lunch. She asked if I would open the library for all lunches. That meant I would have students walk in who have not gone through orientation and do not know my expectations when they visit the library. 

I love seeing students reading together
Let me say this, I am thrilled to be back at school. I really love the kids and love having them in the library. BUT, it has not been a great opening. My desktop computer is not working. This is the computer hooked up to the scanner for me to check in and check out books. Though I can scan books by checking them out on one of the iPads, the wireless didn't seem to be working. So that was not an option.  I can also use my laptop, but if I have to type in the barcode numbers, it is too easy to make a mistake. We added 100 students to last year's enrollment. There really were not quite enough tables and chairs in the building for the classrooms last year, but we managed. As teachers received their class rosters this year, they were clamoring for more tables and chairs for their classrooms. That left the library with two tables and about 15 chairs. The district claims that they have purchased enough tables and chairs for the school when the building opened three years ago. That just isn't true. How am I going to teach classes in the library without furniture? There is not enough seating for the students when they visit at lunch. With technology not working correctly and no furniture, I am not a happy librarian. On top of that, the school server wasn't working on Friday. When I logged off my laptop at the end of the day. I thought that I would be able to open my orientation powerpoint at home. I just tried, and I can't get to any of my documents. My back up external hard drives won't open the document either. 

Do I sound like I am whining? I hope not. 

Using good time management and getting homework done during lunch

Back to my original focus of this post--when should the library open for the school year. I just can't see waiting two weeks before having students visit. The students are already in Destiny, so the library management program is really ready for check outs when school opens except for setting the calendar, which I fixed for the new year on Friday. The sooner that I hold orientation means the students are prepared for using the library. Teachers aren't ready for library collaboration during the first few weeks of school which gives me a bit of time to get some of the library management tasks completed. The teachers are waiting for the laptops to be given out to the students before working with me because so much of what I do with the students involves technology. 

Another student who found a good read on the first day of school 

Anyway, despite all my difficulties, the library did open the first day. I have orientation scheduled to begin next week and a visit for pre-testing with senior project students. The library is part of the school's academic program, and if the teachers have started teaching then I need to make the library and its resources available for anyone who needs them. I may grump, but the library doors are always open. 

These 7th graders were happy to get the new Sphero working for our makerspace

All the opening issues aside, I am looking forward to a good year. 


  1. This is so tough, especially when you have been tasked with so many roles. Seriously, the laminator thing can be overwhelming. I was so glad last year that the tech people ( who share my library) got annoyed with the traffic for the laminator and got it moved to a workroom in another part of the school. Still, it sounds like your students are excited to be there and the main things are the main things. I call that success.

    1. Having students clamoring to visit the library is definitely a good thing. Over the last three years, it has been quiet during high school lunch with the same dozen regulars visiting daily. With a new crop of freshman, the library is a busy hub during high school lunch. I like that--maybe I can get them to read more!

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  3. Great post, Elizabeth! I think it's great that your library is open from Day 1. Your students look very happy to be there.


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