A librarian shares the tips and tricks that helped keep the shelves straight and organized over a 30-plus-year career.
In this short and simple guidebook, Couture outlines the day-to-day operations of a library, from shelving to personnel management and stocking materials. Many tips address proper planning and good organization in both the short and long term. A daily planner helps organize the most pressing tasks and identify moments between those where smaller, 5- to10-minute jobs can be completed, like filing catalogs or other minor maintenance, a technique the book refers to as “batching.” This can be augmented with a monthlong and yearlong style of planning, allowing librarians to prepare for seasonal projects, special activities, and other events well in advance. As with many busy, multifaceted professions, time management is key, whether it’s identifying assistants’ and volunteers’ strengths to best assign them jobs that can be completed effectively to selecting books and other materials by evaluating their reviews (recommended review publications include School Library Journal, the New York Times, and Kirkus Reviews) and awards. The handbook includes links to helpful resources and catalogs, many free, to aid in the latter. Couture brings 32 years of experience as a school librarian to her debut guide. Its large print and to-the-point instructions are easy to absorb, navigate, and revisit. Template tables offer useful examples for managing schedules, tracking book sources and reviews, and even blocking out shelves. Documentation and scheduling are presented not merely as tools for completing tasks, but also as ways to revisit achievements for self-encouragement. Some strategies, however, seem impersonal. In one example, training and instructing volunteers via “task cards” placed on a work-board is dealt with in the same detached fashion as books or inventory. Despite the author’s experience being largely centered in primary and middle school facilities, the book can be applied to public libraries as well.
A comprehensive, navigable resource for both experienced and new librarians.