Library operations — quick reference checklist

When you start out as a school librarian or move to a new school, there are procedures to get familiar with. There will also be information and contact details you need to be able to access quickly.

You can populate this basic reference checklist with information relevant to your school library. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, as you're sure to have items to add that relate to your own school, but you can use it to get started.

If you already have a procedures file - whether online only, or with print copies on your noticeboard or in your filing cabinet - it's important to check that it's up-to-date.

We've deliberately excluded long lists of related documents. Instead, in a general statement at the end, we suggest you add the URLs or file codes for documents such as:

  • the School Charter
  • Annual Plan
  • Social Media Policy
  • the citation protocol used throughout your school (eg APA)
  • or any other policies or strategic planning documents that involve the library and its services.

It's important that you know where to find them, and that they're kept up-to-date.

Many suggestions for inclusion in this checklist came from school librarians around New Zealand. We warmly acknowledge this valuable input, and hope you find the finished list useful. A copy of this checklist is attached at the foot of this page.

Library operations — quick reference checklist

Essential contact information: in school and externally

  1. School staff list with phone numbers – including caretaker
  2. In-school technical support – for library computers and network issues
  3. Helpdesk details for library management system (LMS) – for library software issues
  4. Photocopier technician
  5. Administrator / executive officer: budgets, invoicing, financial matters and procedures
  6. Contact details for any regular after-hours users of library space
  7. School first-aiders
  8. Emergency evacuation or lock-down procedures

Library layout and usage

  1. Floor plan of library, with each section labelled
  2. How your collection is organised and shelved
  3. Opening / closing hours
  4. What to turn on / off each day
  5. Loan limits (if you have these): How many items students may borrow, and for how long
  6. Procedures for issuing, returning, reserves, overdues, lost / damaged items
  7. Teacher resources – where relevant – issuing / returning procedures
  8. Template for timetabled library bookings
  9. Information sheet for relievers

Passwords, logons and online systems

  1. How to log on to your LMS
  2. Different levels of access to the LMS – what these allow, and who has what access
  3. How to log on to services such as: EPIC, Journal Surf, school wifi, photocopier, and any other password protected service
  4. Code for deactivating library alarm (if separate from school alarm)
  5. Logon information and details for library website / intranet / blog / wiki tools
  6. If you use an online survey tool, logon and password (and when last used)
  7. Access details for online content curation tools used (and who contributes to these)

Library management system (LMS)

  1. Name of system, and what version you’re running
  2. Contact details for vendor and helpdesk
  3. Annual service fee and upgrade schedule
  4. URL for system manual or user guide
  5. Processes for importing / deleting names of borrowers
  6. Login details if using SCIS or SchoolsCat for downloadable catalogue records
  7. Back-up: who does this, when, how often – including who tests ‘restore from back-up’
  8. Local LMS support group

Regularly used suppliers

  1. Booksellers used by your library, along with any discounts offered
  2. eBook platform, supplier, administrator
  3. Magazines: titles, suppliers and costs (print and e-zines)
  4. Suppliers of stationery and library consumables: barcodes, covering materials, labels etc
  5. Signage suppliers, and who to consult for bilingual signage terms
  6. Library shelving, furniture, ICT and equipment suppliers

Professional support

  1. Contact details for your National Library adviser / programme facilitator
  2. Library advice: LIBLINE: 0800 5425463
  3. Services to Schools website URL:
  4. Local school library network – co-ordinator
  5. SLANZA: local co-ordinator, URL for SLANZA website
  6. Schoollib listserv details
  7. Children’s / YA librarian at local public library
  8. LIANZA – URL for website and link for RLIANZA revalidation requirements
  9. NZEI field officer for your area

Calendar of tasks / activities / events

  1. Set up an online calendar of regular and one-off tasks and events that occur throughout the year.
  2. List where you’ve stored the instructions for these, and diary the necessary lead-in time where this applies.
  3. Tasks and activities include:
  • orientation for new staff / new cohorts of students
  • deadlines for library news items for school newsletters / intranet / daily notices
  • updates for library web pages / intranet / blog (and who contributes)
  • student librarians: selection, training, scheduling, tasks, responsibilities, rewards
  • book processing / mending instructions, including which materials to use
  • Summer Reading programme, including when library will be open
  • processes for holiday borrowing during year and at year end
  • closing date for library at year end
  • process and dates for running recall notices, overdues and replacement cost letters
  • stocktaking procedures and reporting
  • weeding – who, how, what, when
  • reports – who for, how often, what data, what format
  • performance appraisal and performance planning
  • special events, eg Book Week, book fairs, Kids Lit Quiz

Important guiding documents: list where these are filed

  1. Policy documents or guiding statements, eg the school’s Social Media policy, the citation protocol your school uses (eg APA), and any other policies or strategic planning referring to the library, its services and operations.
  2. Your school’s Charter and Annual Plan
  3. Detailed how-to procedures for tasks and activities listed throughout this checklist.

Image by Adrian Thompson