Librarian's Toolkit

Elizabeth Crowley

Part 1 :The Care and Feeding of a School Librarian


As librarians, our job is to help young people find the right book for who they are now, without judgement.

Professional Growth and Development

I've been in education for many years and have always been an advocate of professional development. It can be challenging to find the time to step outside of the classroom even to touch bases with other teachers, let alone spending time educating yourself on current best practices professionally. After spending so much time in the library and talking to other librarians this past year I noticed that in many ways school librarians are isolated. The online piece notwithstanding, there is typically only one librarian per school so you may not get to talk to others frequently about best practices professionally. I have been grateful to be taking classes while spending time in the library but I want to make sure that when this program is completed I continue to reach out in this area.

A professional journal that I'm interested in is The School Library Journal. I haven't subscribed to it yet but it interests me because it's touted as, " the world's largest reviewer of books" and that appeals to me both personally and professionally.

My goals include becoming active in the associations below and continuing to work with our BOB teams :

  • AkLA - I've joined the Alaska Association of Libraries -
  • AkSLA - I've joined the Alaska Association of School Librarians -
  • District Planning for Battle of the Books
  • Instructional Tours - Our district is trying to partner with Anchorage to make instructional tours of fellow libraries a regular thing. I attended the first one. Picture below.
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Time Management

I have come to believe that this is one of the most important skills to cultivate as a librarian. Unlike the classrooms I have always been in the library I work in has quite a bit of unstructured time so there is no clear order to your tasks. Aside from the obvious demands of natural deadlines I've found myself time and again emailing other librarians with questions about time management and starting to gather resources to help me structure my time the most effectively.

Here is my most current structure :

  • I keep four small notebooks with lists.
  • I categorize my goals by :
  • Long term- (school year or longer) For example, by next year I'd like to complete a deep weeding on my nonfiction section and by the following year I'd like to look at genrifying the library.
  • Short term - That would by semester, or quarter's end.
  • Weekly
  • Daily
I organize them this way before I leave at the end of the day, I make the to-do list for the following work day. That way when I get to the school, I know exactly what needs to be completed first. This is helping me feel more balanced and organized. The middle school I've been working at doesn't allocate prep or lunch for the librarian so it's easy to keep working or get distracted and hop from one project to the next. When I first started there my mentor librarian said, " If being a librarian doesn't make you ADHD nothing will." I can see her point now.

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Self Care and Nurture

This is a topic that I think is important but it's not actually a weak area of mine. I have gotten better and better about learning to prioritize and compartmentalize with age. The things I do that I think are important are:

  • Professionally ~ I continue to be open to learning new ideas, educating myself, and reading. Also, I listen.
  • Personally ~ I take time to be with my family and friends. We travel, talk, play cards, and enjoy each others' company. I'm very happy.

Part 2 : Engaging the Essential Functions of the School Teacher-Librarian

Standards and Curriculum Delivery

Library Media Standards

As I am relatively new to the library I want to be able to have quick access to the standards that I think I will need and use the most as a librarian. Our district moved to the Danielson model for assessment and I think using the Alaska state library standards and the ALA guidelines is a necessity for me professionally. It's also best practice.

Library Lessons

This is an area that I'm looking forward to expanding on immensely. I had some opportunity to do library instruction this past year and some time to observe but I'd like to do a lot more and there are many, many wonderful resources available for LMS. I'll just keep adding live links to this as I collect resources.

Education World -


Pinterest - -


AASL (again) -

Student Achievement and Assessment / Library Websites and Apps

In the last year I've learned a lot about what my job is going to entail in terms of integrating technology and making it an integral part of the 21st century library. At first I was a bit overwhelmed by all of the online assessment tools, learning apps and websites available but now it's really fun and exciting to explore them and I thought this would be a good place to gather resources.

Here are some of the websites and/or links I've found that I've begun experimenting with and using in the library. The first three are assessment and the others are broader in range.

Pictures of three of the apps so far that I have used are below.

Reading Advocacy and Literacy

I had no idea when I started my Library Media studies that one of my favorite parts of working in library would be promoting it to our patrons and community. I've never considered myself to have a sales personality but it's easy to want to sell something you're passionate about.

So far I've hosted :

  • a Haunted Halloween Event
  • two book fairs
  • two Title 1 Family Nights
  • Secret Santa with a Book
  • a District Speech competition
  • Blind Date with a book
  • Library March Madness
  • A Poetry Slam competition and Books to Movies activity, here's the link for that :

Leadership and Public Relations

It's been kind of nice in a way that the library I've been working has had no promotion or social media presence because it's given me the opportunity to create that with a lot of positive feedback. I've been able to develop a Facebook page, a Twitter, and an Instagram along with keeping the website updated. I'm always looking for more ideas for events.

Here our our social media links:

Professional Accountability

It is imperative that as professional we are accountable to our community. It's important because it reminds the community that we're relevant and tasks us with ongoing job of self-assessment. I read in Module 4 that one of the librarians surveyed their outgoing students as to what they deemed to be valuable about the library. I'm a proponent of continual feedback like this, it can only help me grow professionally. I'd like to implement something like that in the future and this site looks promising:

Fiscal Consideration and Budget

This fall will be the first time I've gone through the entire budget process as a librarian so I'm not entirely sure what to expect. I do know from last year that some things to keep in mind are:

  • Keep receipts if you order from Amazon
  • Use purchase orders
  • Communicate well with the admin secretary
  • Manage your P card
  • Don't spend all of your book budget in the fall, unless they're going to take it and then SPEND away
  • Try to have Book Fairs or other fundraisers

Facilities and Ambience

This category is a work in progress for me, every time I go into a bookstore or another library I take about fifty pictures on my phone. I'm really excited about putting my personal stamp on a library, it's a creative outlet and it's incredibly important to maximize access and flow. Right now I've mostly been collecting ideas but I can't wait to start implementing!

The resource I've used the most for this is Pinterest, here's the link to my board :

Documents, Forms, Links, Wish Lists, Miscellaneous

I'm not sure if this is the intended purpose of this section but I've enjoyed putting all the fantastic library related ideas I see and hear on a regular basis here. Smore creates live documents so I can create Notes, save emails, downloads, pictures, links, as I see fit. There are so many great libraries out there and related ideas that I'm happy to have this Tool Kit to store them in.

Here are a few I've saved so far: