The change in our school has been tremendous! The one aspect that I'm really impressed with is our 5th Grade Leadership Program. All 5th graders go through a Leadership Academy, and at the end they all "apply" for jobs around the school such as:
- Greeters = help greet parents and kids at the front of the building in the mornings
- Morning Announcers = help make the announcements in the morning
- Watt Watchers = go around school making sure lights are turned out in empty rooms
- PreK Leaders = help in the PreK classrooms
- Kinder Leaders = help in the Kinder classrooms
- Safety Patrol = help remind kids to walk at the end of the day and help out at the buses and parent pick-up
I quickly realized that while having a group of 5th graders come to library to help was an awesome opportunity, it could also become a headache if I was having to always tell them what to do. So, I once again went into UBER-ORGANIZED mode!
The first thing I did was brainstorm a list of all the "jobs" that were always needing to be done in the library on a day to day basis:
- Shelving returned books
- Adding new Magazines to the plastic holders
- Stamping and labeling new or donated paperback books
- Finding lost/misplaced books
- Straightening up shelves and pulling books to the edge
- Cleaning and organizing centers
- Turning on computers and logging into the library account
- Helping decorate and manage mini-events and Book Fairs
So I created badges for each of my Library Leaders that listed "jobs" that they could do anytime they came in the library. I could also use these for the rare times that I would actually get a volunteer in the library. This way, I didn't have to stop what I was doing to tell them what to do.
I copied the badges on card stock, double sided, and stuck them inside plastic name badge holders that I had purchased. I hung them on the wall near my office using push pins. Whenever they came in the work, they would put their badges on, and then they would hang them back up whenever they left.
They worked well, but unfortunately broke over time. I also noticed that the library leaders would sometimes spend more time talking together, than actually working.
Over this past summer, I tried to find a better way to utilize library leaders.
I thought that if each library leader was responsible for certain bookshelves within each section, then when they came in to work they could go to "their" bookshelves, and at least be a little more spread out. To figure this out, I counted the number of bookshelves in the Fiction, Everybody, and Non-Fiction sections. Then, I divided the number of bookshelves in each section by the number of Library Leaders I had. This told me which bookshelves to put on each of the badges. I copied their name and job descriptions on cardstock again, but this time I laminated them back to back and hole-punched them in the center. I hung them on heavy duty nylon lanyards that I purchased, and this has worked out so much better.
This year my Library Leaders even came up with a great suggestion to rotate the shelves and put a different focus on each day of the week. So together we created a schedule and posted it above their badges on the wall.
I'm always trying to improve my systems, and would love to hear your ideas! How do you manage volunteers or student helpers in your library?