New librarian checklist

Our library operations checklist offers suggestions to support new librarians and school library staff. Use this list to identify and gather key information for the day-to-day management of your library.

When you start working in a school library

You'll need to get familiar with new procedures when you start out as a new school librarian or library staff member, and you'll need to get access to important information and contact details quickly.

Begin by checking if there's a manual for the policy and procedures in the library. This could be in print, online or both. If there isn't, you can use this checklist to identify and gather the information you need. If there is a manual, this checklist will help you make sure it's up to date.

This checklist isn't comprehensive. Think of it as a starting point — add items that relate to your school.

School librarians and library staff around New Zealand gave us suggestions for this checklist. We hope you find it useful and warmly acknowledge their valuable input.

The library guiding documents section below gives more information about developing your library policies and procedures.

Library operations checklist

  • Essential contact information

    Gather all the contact details you need for the library, including cellphone numbers and email addresses wherever possible.

    School and library contacts

    Internal contacts include:

    • library team members, such as the Teacher with Library Responsibility (TLR), library volunteers and student librarians
    • school staff, including the caretaker and cleaners
    • your school's coordinator for the National Library Lending Service — this may be part of your role
    • your school administrator or the executive officer who looks after budgets, invoicing and other financial matters and procedures
    • school first aiders
    • your Health and Safety Officer or whoever is responsible for emergency evacuation or lock-down procedures.

    External contacts

    Contacts outside your school include:

    • people or groups who use the library after hours, such as homework or book clubs
    • National Library Services to Schools for:
      • school library support
      • Services to Schools facilitator
    • the courier you use for National Library Services to Schools loans
    • suppliers you regularly use — the section on suppliers has more information about what other information to gather
    • technical support people or organisations for your library's:
      • computers
      • Integrated Library System (ILS) — including the vendor, helpdesk and local support group
      • network and email
      • photocopier.

    Contact Services to Schools

  • Essential contact information

    Gather all the contact details you need for the library, including cellphone numbers and email addresses wherever possible.

    School and library contacts

    Internal contacts include:

    • library team members, such as the Teacher with Library Responsibility (TLR), library volunteers and student librarians
    • school staff, including the caretaker and cleaners
    • your school's coordinator for the National Library Lending Service — this may be part of your role
    • your school administrator or the executive officer who looks after budgets, invoicing and other financial matters and procedures
    • school first aiders
    • your Health and Safety Officer or whoever is responsible for emergency evacuation or lock-down procedures.

    External contacts

    Contacts outside your school include:

    • people or groups who use the library after hours, such as homework or book clubs
    • National Library Services to Schools for:
      • school library support
      • Services to Schools facilitator
    • the courier you use for National Library Services to Schools loans
    • suppliers you regularly use — the section on suppliers has more information about what other information to gather
    • technical support people or organisations for your library's:
      • computers
      • Integrated Library System (ILS) — including the vendor, helpdesk and local support group
      • network and email
      • photocopier.

    Contact Services to Schools

  • Library usage and layout

    Library usage

    Information about how you use your library could include:

    • the opening and closing hours
    • what needs to be turned on and off each day, including the alarm system
    • procedures for issuing, returning and reserving library items and teacher resources, including holiday borrowing
    • loan limits — how many items students may borrow and for how long
    • how you manage overdue, lost or damaged items
    • a template for timetabled library bookings — this could be print or electronic
    • an information sheet for relievers working in the school.

    The layout of your library

    Confirm and document:

    • how your collection is organised and shelved
    • a floor plan of library, with each section labelled.
  • Library usage and layout

    Library usage

    Information about how you use your library could include:

    • the opening and closing hours
    • what needs to be turned on and off each day, including the alarm system
    • procedures for issuing, returning and reserving library items and teacher resources, including holiday borrowing
    • loan limits — how many items students may borrow and for how long
    • how you manage overdue, lost or damaged items
    • a template for timetabled library bookings — this could be print or electronic
    • an information sheet for relievers working in the school.

    The layout of your library

    Confirm and document:

    • how your collection is organised and shelved
    • a floor plan of library, with each section labelled.
  • Logins, passwords and online systems

    You may need to work with your technician or Integrated Library System (ILS) vendor to gather this information.

    Logins and passwords

    Make a note of:

    • the library computer login, including information about local file storage, printing and email access
    • logins for your library's web page, the school website, Intranet, Blog, Wiki and other content curation tools — also include information about who has access and who contributes to these
    • how to log on to your photocopier, wifi and other in–school networks
    • logins for online resources, for example eBook platform, EPIC databases at the National Library, Journal Surf and any other password-protected resources
    • the code for deactivating the library alarm, especially if it's separate from the school alarm
    • the logins for any online booking or survey tool and when you last used them
    • the online cataloguing services, such as Record Manager and the Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS), that you use, including their email, logins and subscription details.

    Cataloguing service for schools — includes how to use Record Manager

    Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)

    Your Integrated Library System

    You'll need information about your ILS, including:

    • the login
    • how you access issuing and returns, and administration and cataloguing
    • what the different levels of access are, what they allow and who has access
    • the ILS report and update settings, including:
      • the email address that reports are exported to
      • internet provider, and
      • Internet Protocol (IP) addresses
    • how the the connection between your ILS and Student Management System (SMS) works so you can import and delete borrower files.
  • Logins, passwords and online systems

    You may need to work with your technician or Integrated Library System (ILS) vendor to gather this information.

    Logins and passwords

    Make a note of:

    • the library computer login, including information about local file storage, printing and email access
    • logins for your library's web page, the school website, Intranet, Blog, Wiki and other content curation tools — also include information about who has access and who contributes to these
    • how to log on to your photocopier, wifi and other in–school networks
    • logins for online resources, for example eBook platform, EPIC databases at the National Library, Journal Surf and any other password-protected resources
    • the code for deactivating the library alarm, especially if it's separate from the school alarm
    • the logins for any online booking or survey tool and when you last used them
    • the online cataloguing services, such as Record Manager and the Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS), that you use, including their email, logins and subscription details.

    Cataloguing service for schools — includes how to use Record Manager

    Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS)

    Your Integrated Library System

    You'll need information about your ILS, including:

    • the login
    • how you access issuing and returns, and administration and cataloguing
    • what the different levels of access are, what they allow and who has access
    • the ILS report and update settings, including:
      • the email address that reports are exported to
      • internet provider, and
      • Internet Protocol (IP) addresses
    • how the the connection between your ILS and Student Management System (SMS) works so you can import and delete borrower files.
  • Integrated Library System (ILS)

    As well as contact and logon details for your ILS, make a note of:

    • the name of system, and what version you’re running
    • the annual service fee and upgrade schedule
    • the URL for system manual or user guide and help videos.

    Also gather information about how you:

    • import and delete names of borrowers via your Student Management System (SMS)
    • import and delete catalogue records — there's also information about this under Resource cycle
    • run recall notices, overdues and replacement cost letters, including the dates that you do these
    • make back-ups, including who does these, how often they happen and who tests ‘restore from back-up’.
  • Integrated Library System (ILS)

    As well as contact and logon details for your ILS, make a note of:

    • the name of system, and what version you’re running
    • the annual service fee and upgrade schedule
    • the URL for system manual or user guide and help videos.

    Also gather information about how you:

    • import and delete names of borrowers via your Student Management System (SMS)
    • import and delete catalogue records — there's also information about this under Resource cycle
    • run recall notices, overdues and replacement cost letters, including the dates that you do these
    • make back-ups, including who does these, how often they happen and who tests ‘restore from back-up’.
  • Resource cycle

    Document the detailed steps for how you handle resources. Include visual examples wherever possible.

    Selecting and receiving items

    Keep information about how you:

    • select resources, for example lists of suppliers and book review sites, and how you handle student and staff recommendation forms
    • receive items — include how they're delivered, invoiced and stamped with school stamp, for example where in a book it goes.

    Cataloguing resources

    Document your cataloguing processes, including how you:

    • import catalogue records — depending on your ILS you can get instructions from your vendor or instructions from National Library when you register for Record Manager
    • amend catalogue record fields — include preferred format and media types, collection locations and classification, details of the purchase and replacement cost
    • process catalogue items — note your suppliers, materials used and examples of where you put the spine label and barcode.

    Managing library resources

    Describe how you:

    • mend items — include the minimum standards needed before you replace or weed an item
    • weed or withdraw items — note who, how, what and when you do this
    • do a stocktake — include recommendations from your ILS and school financial officer.

    Stocktaking guide

  • Resource cycle

    Document the detailed steps for how you handle resources. Include visual examples wherever possible.

    Selecting and receiving items

    Keep information about how you:

    • select resources, for example lists of suppliers and book review sites, and how you handle student and staff recommendation forms
    • receive items — include how they're delivered, invoiced and stamped with school stamp, for example where in a book it goes.

    Cataloguing resources

    Document your cataloguing processes, including how you:

    • import catalogue records — depending on your ILS you can get instructions from your vendor or instructions from National Library when you register for Record Manager
    • amend catalogue record fields — include preferred format and media types, collection locations and classification, details of the purchase and replacement cost
    • process catalogue items — note your suppliers, materials used and examples of where you put the spine label and barcode.

    Managing library resources

    Describe how you:

    • mend items — include the minimum standards needed before you replace or weed an item
    • weed or withdraw items — note who, how, what and when you do this
    • do a stocktake — include recommendations from your ILS and school financial officer.

    Stocktaking guide

  • Suppliers you use regularly

    Keep information about suppliers your library uses, including:

    • booksellers
    • eBook platform suppliers and administrators
    • magazine distributors, and
    • businesses that supply:
      • stationery and library consumables, including barcodes, covering materials and labels
      • signage
      • library shelving and furniture
      • ICT equipment.

    As well as their contact details, you could note information such as:

    • titles and publishers the supplier carries
    • costs or discounts for both print and digital resources
    • what specific consumables they supply
    • special services they offer, for example bilingual signs.

    School library suppliers list

  • Suppliers you use regularly

    Keep information about suppliers your library uses, including:

    • booksellers
    • eBook platform suppliers and administrators
    • magazine distributors, and
    • businesses that supply:
      • stationery and library consumables, including barcodes, covering materials and labels
      • signage
      • library shelving and furniture
      • ICT equipment.

    As well as their contact details, you could note information such as:

    • titles and publishers the supplier carries
    • costs or discounts for both print and digital resources
    • what specific consumables they supply
    • special services they offer, for example bilingual signs.

    School library suppliers list

  • Professional support

    List all the places you go for professional help and support, including:

    • National Library Services to Schools — the website, helpline and services to schools facilitator
    • your local school library network coordinator
    • School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) — include your membership details, their website and Schoollib listserv
    • the children’s or young adult librarian at your local public library
    • Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) — include details of your membership and professional registration (RLIANZA) and their website
    • the New Zeland Educational Institute (NZEI) field officer for your area.

    Contact Services to Schools

    SLANZA

    LIANZA

  • Professional support

    List all the places you go for professional help and support, including:

    • National Library Services to Schools — the website, helpline and services to schools facilitator
    • your local school library network coordinator
    • School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) — include your membership details, their website and Schoollib listserv
    • the children’s or young adult librarian at your local public library
    • Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) — include details of your membership and professional registration (RLIANZA) and their website
    • the New Zeland Educational Institute (NZEI) field officer for your area.

    Contact Services to Schools

    SLANZA

    LIANZA

  • Calendar of tasks, activities and events

    Set up an online calendar of regular and one–off tasks and events that occur throughout the year. You could:

    • note where you’ve stored the instructions for managing these
    • put lead–in times in the calendar if they're needed.

    Put dates in your calendar for tasks and activities such as:

    • the opening and closing dates for the library, including your Summer Reading programme and when the library will be open for that
    • orientation for new staff and groups of students
    • selection of student librarians and their training, scheduling, tasks, responsibilities and rewards
    • the regular stages of your resource cycle — cataloguing, processing, mending, weeding and stocktaking
    • when you run recall notices, overdues and replacement cost letters
    • deadlines for library news items in school newsletters, on the intranet or in your school's daily notices
    • when you update the library web pages on the intranet or write blogs — note who contributes
    • request and return dates for National Library Services to Schools loans
    • when reports need to be delivered, including your annual report and budget
    • when you do performance appraisal and performance planning.

    Annual report

    School library budget

    Don't forget to gather dates for:

    • regular school activities, such as teacher-only days, and
    • one-off events, like Book Week, book fairs and Kids Lit Quiz.
  • Calendar of tasks, activities and events

    Set up an online calendar of regular and one–off tasks and events that occur throughout the year. You could:

    • note where you’ve stored the instructions for managing these
    • put lead–in times in the calendar if they're needed.

    Put dates in your calendar for tasks and activities such as:

    • the opening and closing dates for the library, including your Summer Reading programme and when the library will be open for that
    • orientation for new staff and groups of students
    • selection of student librarians and their training, scheduling, tasks, responsibilities and rewards
    • the regular stages of your resource cycle — cataloguing, processing, mending, weeding and stocktaking
    • when you run recall notices, overdues and replacement cost letters
    • deadlines for library news items in school newsletters, on the intranet or in your school's daily notices
    • when you update the library web pages on the intranet or write blogs — note who contributes
    • request and return dates for National Library Services to Schools loans
    • when reports need to be delivered, including your annual report and budget
    • when you do performance appraisal and performance planning.

    Annual report

    School library budget

    Don't forget to gather dates for:

    • regular school activities, such as teacher-only days, and
    • one-off events, like Book Week, book fairs and Kids Lit Quiz.
  • Library guiding documents

    Keep on file and up-to-date all library guiding documents, library-related policies and plans.

    These could include:

    • library guiding documents
    • job descriptions for all members of the library team
    • annual budget — to inform and guide spending
    • your collection management plan — to inform and guide management of the collection
    • how-to procedures listed throughout this checklist
    • school community profile — to identify the characteristics of your students, teachers and local community
    • your school’s charter and annual plan
    • bring your own device (BYOD) policies and procedures
    • digital citizenship agreement
    • citation protocol used throughout your school, for example APA.

    Library guiding documents

    Job descriptions

    School library budget

    Your collection management plan

    School community profile

  • Library guiding documents

    Keep on file and up-to-date all library guiding documents, library-related policies and plans.

    These could include:

    • library guiding documents
    • job descriptions for all members of the library team
    • annual budget — to inform and guide spending
    • your collection management plan — to inform and guide management of the collection
    • how-to procedures listed throughout this checklist
    • school community profile — to identify the characteristics of your students, teachers and local community
    • your school’s charter and annual plan
    • bring your own device (BYOD) policies and procedures
    • digital citizenship agreement
    • citation protocol used throughout your school, for example APA.

    Library guiding documents

    Job descriptions

    School library budget

    Your collection management plan

    School community profile

  • Find out more

    Mrs. ReaderPants: New School Librarian? 10 things you should do first – blogger and experienced librarian Leigh Collazo offers advice to new school librarians.

  • Find out more

    Mrs. ReaderPants: New School Librarian? 10 things you should do first – blogger and experienced librarian Leigh Collazo offers advice to new school librarians.