The school year ended a few weeks ago, and to sum up the first year of the library’s existence and my first year as a school librarian in a word: Success!

We had over 5,000 books on the shelves. Students and staff checked out nearly 5,000 books. What an awesome ratio.
Nineteen checkouts!

The most checked-out volume was “Cosmos,” an oversized book about the solar system. The Kindergartners loved that book!

We survived a book thief, which was quite the saga that had plenty of red herrings and one heck of a migraine. I became aware of the problem when most of the manga shelf went missing. As the administration, teachers and I unraveled the mystery, it was revealed that the day before the books disappeared, some concerned parents were discussing the availability of those very books. In the end, though, it turned out to be unrelated – a high school student with kleptomaniacal tendencies had borrowed them. His mother returned them, as well as several other books I hadn’t noticed go missing.

Bleach: Loved by kids and kleptos alike
For a while, I worked with this student, allowing him to properly check out books. It appeared to be working. I would love to say that all’s well that ends well, but by the end of the year he was out of school and in another institution.
I managed to round up most books at the end of the school year. As much as I would enjoy having the students check out armloads of books over the summer, that’s not possible. The vast majority of checkouts came back by the last day of school; roughly 50-60 remain in the students’ hands. Considering that’s approximately 1% of the collection, it’s great. Most libraries have a greater never-returned percentage.
Some changes for next year:
  • Checkouts per week per grade. K-2 will remain at 1 book per week. 3-6 will drop to 2 books, at the recommendations of teachers and parents alike. The middle school literature teacher recommended that I allow the 7-8 grades to check out 2 books, or 3 if at least one is a “quick read.” (I’ve got some avid graphic novel/manga fans at that level.)
  • I swear I’m going to run overdue reports more often.
  • Keep the kids out of the return bin! Some of the books that are missing at the end of the year may have been sneaked out of there, and therefore still listed as being checked out to the last rightful patron. If they want something a friend is returning, they’ll have to go through me.

I’ve been invited back for next year, which made me dance with joy and relief. The CEO of the school also told me that I’m welcome to look for grants that would increase my time at the school (and book budget). It’s awesome to know that she appreciates my hard work and dedication.
Over the summer, I’m reading books that the kids have been enjoying. I’ll be posting my reviews here. First up: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1 (The Lightning Thief). Stay tuned!
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