Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cookin' the Books

What are your circulation records doing? A skilled librarian once said, "Put everything on your calendar - even if it's something that occurs last minute - to justify what you do and so people can see what is going on in the library". It's all about transparency, isn't it? Well, the same thing can be said of circulation records.

When a teacher asks you to pull books and have them available for a project for using IN the library, check them out to the teacher. It increases the circulation of your library and the teacher IS using the books, so there's no need to worry about "cooking the books!" It's legit! This whole idea sprang from a discussion that Sheri' (my library aide my right arm) and I had. A class had come in and we discussed whether to check out the books to the teacher. We decided we absolutely should to which Sheri' replied, "I don't think anybody's going to think we're cookin' the books!"
However, if you are looking for ways to increase circulation in your library, here are a few ideas:

  • Create great displays and keep them coming! Once they empty out, replenish!
  • Banned book displays, Coretta Scott King winner displays, series displays all work well.
  • Movie book displays are always a winner.
  • Suggest to teachers who don't visit the library that often to check out books to ignite discussion in the classroom (a science teacher might want to check out books for students to browse and thumb through after a test).
  • Students often will come to the library to check out a book that a teacher has briefly used to teach a reading skill - so be ready for suggestions for teachers! They often indirectly influence what kids want to read.
  • Teachers often dash in quickly and ask for some examples of informational text - I have given them ESL brochures with barcodes, technology how-to books without barcodes, and newspapers. Rule #1: Check out anything with a barcode.
  • Teachers and substitutes often come in for a book or magazine saying, "I will be right back with it. Do you really want to check it out?" The answer is yes! Not only does it increase your circulation records, but you know where your resources are.
  • There are also the ubiquitous reading contests that will help increase circulation.
  • Programs in your library can help increase circulation: Create a display surrounding the program - Someone from the Civil Rights Museum is coming? Create a display. Having a gaming day in your library as a reward? Create a display on board games, sports, and word games. 
  • What is your library doing to increase circulation? There must be many ideas out there to share.
Just keep those books cookin'! Check them out so they will reflect well on the circulation records of your library (the cooked books on the stove above are courtesy of our Teen Living classroom).

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