Teacher Orientation

I’ve been thinking about teacher orientation resources for a few weeks. A few friends of mine have larger staff turnover than usual and are hoping to work with new teachers. I shared a few of my documents with them and then set about revising my own documents. We did not gain any new staff members last fall so I have had almost two years away from my documents.

I try to keep it simple, but comprehensive. I know that few people want to take the time to read a packet of information, but I haven’t always gotten time with new staff members and provide print materials regardless. My thoughts are that at least the information is out there in print. I admit there’s also a bit of “I did my job thinking through the policies and communicating them with you.”

Here’s what I usually provide:

General Library Information

  • Instruction & Research
    • Schedule (we have a modified fixed schedule)
    • Information Skills Integration (mini lessons, projects)
    • Library as a Space (how can you schedule the room)
  • Resources
    • Online catalog access
    • E-books
    • Destiny Quest app
    • Online subscriptions (with passwords and notice that these passwords can only be shared in print and not posted online)
    • School professional collection information
    • Videos
    • District Professional Library information
    • Public Library (how to get a card, nearest branch, their online resources)
  • Cameras, Equipment & Technology
    • Cameras
    • Electronic response clickers
    • Technology support (which staff member to report which tech issues to)
  • Checkout Policies for Staff
    • Staff checkout limits
    • After hours checkout
    • Finite resources warning (encouraging teachers to share and leave some books on the shelves for students who love to read about what they are studying in class)
  • Student Procedures
    • Open checkout information
    • Return procedures (when and where the books are due)
    • Library cards (students have them in the library)
    • Library passes
    • Student checkout limits
    • Overdue notifications
    • Library is available for many purposes (students can work independently)
    • Alternative for recess (procedure for sending students, time limit, library space is not for time out or punishment)

Every time I read and revise this list I change something. Right now the library passes I would like to see used for computers aren’t used. In general in my current school we don’t use passes. I can take this bit out of my list. Until this year I had the Instruction & Research section at the end. I’ve decided it’s the most important and it’s now first. It could also use a few more details.

I also think it is important to provide teachers with more than just procedures. I am an instructional partner. If I simply provided procedural and policy information to teachers then I might be seen simply as someone who manages space and resources.

Instructional ResourcesRF_Standards_Outline

  • Pacing Guide (my plan for my fixed lessons)
  • List of mini lesson topics (ones I can do in the classroom or as part of a unit)
  • Collaboration Lesson Ideas (4-5 fleshed out ideas for each grade level for inquiry, project-based or problem-based learning all connected to state standards)
  • Standards outline by grade level (which state standards and AASL Standards will be the focus for each grade level)


We have been in the process of getting a new district web platform for two years, so I’ve procrastinated putting resources online. As soon as I get access to our new system, much of this information will be accessible in electronic format for our staff.

Library Management Forms & Templates

cover_data_notebookTeachers make forms and templates for everything they do in hopes that it makes it more efficient in the future to print new copies and keep right on rolling.

I’ve been wanting to put together a library data notebook of sorts with as many forms as I could muster that might be useful to another person. I have finally come to a stopping point for this project! I won’t say it’s at the end, because I’ve already thought of files that need to be added to the collection. That will be for another day…

I’ve uploaded six new listings at TeachersPayTeachers. There are five sets of documents I divided by function, and the final set is a bundle of all of them for a discounted price. I think we probably all struggle with lesson plan formats and calendars that ‘don’t quite just fit.’ Mine may not quite fit you either, but I’ve given it a try! The file to create your own plan book is a variety of templates for weekly calendars, lists, and notes. I didn’t even attempt to make a traditional ‘lesson plan book.’ Instead the calendars can be used to plan a few days in advance or to use for reflection. I use these files as documentation for that question of “What exactly do you do all day?” My own notebook includes post-its and notes taped to most of the pages. Anytime a teacher leaves a note on my desk requesting a lesson or a resource, I jot down the date, the date of my response to the request, and I tape it in my book.


RF_Plan_BookI’m also quite pleased with my calendars for tracking patron use of the library. I have used these every day for two years in my library. Each week I print a new one off with the dates for the week and leave it on our circulation desk. Through the day I add a tally mark every time I notice a student using the library just for the space, or one for a volunteer or teacher coming in with a small group. I write down teacher names when a whole class is taught in the library. And when I count library cards at the circulation stations, it’s easy to jot the number down in the box to track patrons circulating materials. At the end of the week, I add the numbers to an Excel spreadsheet that calculates the average number of patrons in the library each day. It’s great data to be able to share with staff. I got the idea for uploading these forms when I realized it would have been easier to print all the forms I needed for the year and to spiral bind them into one item, rather than stuffing each page into a file folder at the end of the week.

There are also listings with a few of the forms I used for collection development and collection maintenance. These are for collection analysis, tracking how many books were added to the collection, how many were discarded, and keeping up with inventory.

And finally, there is a set of forms I use for transferring students. Every time students are enrolled I need to make sure they are added to the circulation system, keep up with books they might have from another school, or add them to systems such as Study Island, AR, or Reading Counts. Similar procedures must take place when students are withdrawn. This past year while withdrawing students I realized that I have no system in place for keeping track of the value of materials that are lost. I also waive fines for students who can’t pay for extremely overdue and presumed lost materials. A fine tracking form lets me waive what I need to for students to be successful, but also to be able to report the value and impact on the collection.