My Policies and Procedures Manual . . . um, Email

You know, some days I don’t think I do a very good job of being a librarian, but I still get up and strap in every morning for the ride. Some days I’m the pigeon and some days I’m the statue.
One thing that’s always been WAY up on my list of stuff to accomplish in the summer is to write a full-blown Policies and Procedures Manual. Our state’s Head Librarian at the DOE (but not really AT the DOE; she’s got her office in a school near where her husband pastors a church — great lady by the way. Helps me all the time) has a HUGE template on our state website that is incredible. I have it saved on my thumb drive (or I did until the bloody cretins stole it last week in the break-in) and every summer I intend to fill it out and make my library into a professionally run organization. Then something happens like Budge has surgery on her foot and I have to wait on her hand and foot (which I don’t mind doing at all) or Computer Services needs help all summer installing new wireless.
Bottom line: It’s always something.
So once again, I started this year with a heart full of good intentions,a school full of buggy computers, and an unfilled out P&P template on my now tagged into evidence thumb drive. Realizing I’d been working and not communicating, I figured I needed to get my teachers some intel.
With that in mind, I sent the following email to my faculty yesterday. It’s about as close as I’ve come yet to getting that professional organizational feeling going —
“Okay, as most of you can tell, I run around here like a chicken with my head cut off lots of the time. Well, now that most of the computers are running as well as I can expect them to, I’ll try to slow down a little.
Here’s the scoop, from my heart. I hate the way the library hasn’t been available very much so far this year. I take the blame. First it was me not being in here because of chasing down computers and because half the collection wasn’t cataloged from the merger. Next thing I knew it was time for MAP and book fair and butter my buns and call me a biscuit, it’s almost October. I take the blame.
Anyway, I wanted to do a nice big orientation for each ELA class, but that would be another two weeks limited access after book fair. Then I realized some teachers knew how I did things and, of course, all the new ones didn’t, and I felt like it was a big unhappy mess. So to get things moving in the right direction, I’m going to give y’all the Q&D of how Chris and I handle stuff from here on out so y’all’ll have something to go on.
First, book fair. I have two teachers signed up to bring classes. I don’t mind if you send individual students to the book fair as a reward or something like that, but don’t send more than two at a time please, and make sure they have their agenda. Also, Thursday and Friday, they can come look. Starting Monday, though, unless they are coming with you, please don’t send anyone without $’s. Usually, they just want to get out of class. Also, thank you all tons for your support of the book fair and it hasn’t even gotten here.
Okay, when book fair is over, here’s what we do. Yes, it’s late, but better than never.
Checking out books as a class:
If you as a teacher want to come to the library as a class to check out books, I can stagger it so two 7th and 8th and one sixth grade class can come per BLOCK. Just email me and let me know when you want to come so I can schedule you.
Scheduling for Research:
If you want to come to the computer lab or to the library for research or paper typing or such, I can handle two full classes per period or block. One would be in the big lab and one would be in the library proper. Again, email me and let me know. The time I get your email determines who is first in my first come – first served economy. Y’all, conversations in the hall don’t count because I won’t remember it and I may promise you anything. Email or nothing 🙂
A Note About Log-Ins for Computer Research:
Nothing will frustrate you or me more than half a class not being able to log in to a computer and your lesson revolves around them using the computers for research or to work on a project or whatever. I DON’T KNOW THEIR PASSWORDS. If they can’t log in, it will take a minimum of 24 hours to get the password changed. In the meantime, they can’t use a computer. Yes, they can log in under Workstation Only, but that won’t give them access to the Internet or their T: Drives, so unless they have a flash drive, they can’t save anything. Also, it is STRICTLY VERBOTEN (that’s “forbidden” in German!) for you as a teacher to log a student in under your log in or ANY generic log-in such as bsteac / bsteac. Bottom line, make sure your students can log in BEFORE you build a lesson around the computers. I’m not even opposed to you bringing a class in JUST to log in and out so you know their passwords work. I’d rather see you do that than blow an entire block of instructional time because they can’t log in.
Sending Individual Students:
You can send individual students to the library for pretty much anything as long as you follow two UNBREAKABLE RULES. Number one, EACH student must have an agenda. Not a pass, an agenda. We spent mucho deniro on them. The students need to use them. This also means NO MULTI-STUDENT PASSES. No agenda and they are a boomerang because I don’t know if you know where they are. I don’t mind getting yelled at, but I don’t want to get yelled at for something I didn’t do. Number two, you cannot send more than three individuals from your class to me at any one time.  Forty teachers, one fourth on planning at any one time, three students each and I have nearly 100 students in the library. I’m really good, but I’m not that good.
About Library Books:
You can pass this on to your students. They can have three books out at a time. They can check those books out for fifteen school days. Also, they have to have their agendas with their barcode in it or they can’t check out books (Yes, I know not all of your students have barcodes, that’s way up on the to do list and we’ll check them out some other way in the meantime).  Late books are $0.05, that’s one nickel, PER BOOK PER DAY. Now, I’m not trying to fund my retirement off late fees, but that little bit helps the library and it keeps them thinking about turning their books in. PLUS, here’s a little secret to keep between us and leave the students out of . . . the way I have my system set up, even though the book shows up as late on the first day overdue, the fees don’t start to build until two days later. So, a book due on Monday, but turned in on Wednesday would be “late” but wouldn’t accumulate a fee. It’s called a ‘mercy period’ and, God knows, I need mercy so I give mercy.
Okay, there’s a ton more but bottom line, that’s about all that REALLY matters as far as how I get you and the students in and out with the best service I can provide. The other stuff like copyright and equipment and such, you’ve pretty much already figured out, and done quite well with I might add, and what you haven’t figured out, we’ll muddle through together.
I’m here to help. I can’t be everywhere at once, but I’ll try my best. So keep this where you can find it and if you need to know anything else, let me know :)”
So that’s what my faculty has to go on. I REALLY need to get that manual together . . . soon.

One response »

  1. Hey, Shannon. (I start this way because I am really trying to be Southern. I have lived in The South 31 years AND people still tell me I “act” like a Yankee .. go figure.)

    Anyway, I just read your P & P manual email … all I want to know is … what else is there to say? Sounds to me like you covered the bases. You are going to provide service … you just want to make sure your patrons know there ARE some parameters … other than that … you are there for your students and teachers. Works for me.

    I have gotten so old, I figure it is OK for me to drop the stuff that doesn’t matter so I can do what does matter. That is how I plan to spend my last 3 years in the profession … doing what makes a difference … not what will get me a “good” evaluation. They are not necessarily the same things.


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