Back to School Checklist for School Librarians

Can you believe it’s that time again? The back-to-school hustle is upon us, and if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling a whirlwind of emotions. There’s excitement bubbling up as we gear up for another school year, but there’s also a healthy dose of nerves mixed in there. It’s a rollercoaster ride of anticipation and anxiety, am I right? The neverending back to school checklist for school librarians can be overwhelming. But after years of experience, I have learned that it doesn’t have to be.

Use these back to school checklist for school librarians ideas to help you start the school year ready to tackle any challenges that come your way.

As I sit down to think about all the things I need to check off my list before that first bell rings, it’s hard not to feel the pressure mounting. But then I remember that I have prepared a checklist that will guide me through all.the.things that must be done. So, stick with me as I lay out my ultimate back-to-school checklist for school librarians.

Free Ultimate Back to School Checklist for School Librarians

Use this back to school checklist for school librarians to kick off your school year on the right foot.

Ever find yourself staring at a blank calendar, wondering where on earth to begin prepping for the new school year? Trust me, we’ve all been there! That’s why I took matters into my own hands and whipped up a lifesaving back to school checklist for school librarians to help us all get our ducks in a row and dive headfirst into planning mode.

This checklist makes it simple and easy to organize your thoughts and make the most of your prep time as you prepare for the back to school season. I’ve got your back with a comprehensive list to suit your needs.

While every library has some similarities, I also know that we all have some differences in how we do things. That’s why I’ve made sure this checklist is fully editable. You can easily use the overall guide of the checklist and edit it to reflect your own special tasks. Then you can use it to make setting up your library at the beginning of the year as easy as possible. Simply download the file, open it in PowerPoint and you’ll be able to customize it to your liking with ease!

I’m very excited to walk you through each section of the checklist. I want to make sure you’re prepared with all the tips and tricks you need to tackle the back-to-school chaos like a pro. Each section will help you do just that! Make sure to download your copy of the Back to School Checklist for School Librarians!

Section 1: Organize

We need to tackle the aftermath of summer cleaning and get our library back in shipshape! Before you start shoving those tables and chairs around, take a moment to ponder any layout tweaks you’ve been itching to make.

Use the back to school checklist for school librarians to help you organize the library furniture and get prepared for your students to get in some serious learning.

You know those wonderful ideas you get during the middle of the year but never have time to make them a reality? This is your chance! With a fresh slate and no kids in sight, you can shift things around and make those changes! During these last few summer days, it’s time for a fresh new setup!

Once you’ve got your game plan sorted with the furniture, it’s time to roll up your sleeves. Dust off those stuffed animals, fluff up those bean bag chairs and give those seating cushions a little extra love. This is a great time to toss anything that’s looking a little tired too.

Next, let’s not forget about our trusty bookshelves. I always end up storing all sorts of things on my shelves over the summer like shelf markers, extra bookends, books, and other miscellaneous items. I use this time to wipe them down, tidy up, and bid farewell to all those random odds and ends I’ve stashed on them. Once I have decluttered, I’m on to the office! It’s amazing how quickly that pile of mail can grow over the summer, isn’t it? I reward myself for getting through that pile by unpacking any goodies that arrived in those summer orders. I love any chance I get new books and supplies for my school library!

Make Organization a Breeze

It seems like a lot to keep track of, right? My pro tip to keep you on track is my school library planner. They are the secret to staying organized through it all. From digital options to good ol’ fashioned pen and paper, I’ve got you covered. Read more about the planners in my post, School Library Planners, or visit my TPT store to check out the different librarian planner themes I offer!

Section 2: Paperwork

Ah, the dreaded paperwork. It’s the inevitable rite of passage as we kick off a new school year. In this section of our Back to School Checklist for School Librarians, we learn how to tackle those forms like a champ.

The back to school checklist for school librarians will help you organize and get documents in order as you get ready to kick off the school year.

You want to make sure you’ve got everything you need for the upcoming year. Print out those forms and gather up those packets. While you’re at it, take a peek at any updates to school policies. It’s always good to stay in the loop, right?

Now, tackle those forms all in one go. Set aside some quality time to sit down and knock them out. Trust me, there’s nothing worse than scrambling to fill them out at the last minute and risking a dreaded case of paperwork amnesia. Been there, done that – and it’s not my definition of fun! Plus, once you are in the mindset and have a rhythm down, they do go by quickly.

While you’re in organization mode, why not take a moment to review your class lists, school schedule, and all those upcoming events and meetings? Using your planner, make sure to then record those important dates and times. It’s all about staying one step ahead of the game.

As you create your library schedule, remember to include those precious open hours for students to visit and soak up some bookish goodness. On the flip side, include the hours when the library will be closed. I also include my duties there. Once your schedule is set, make copies for the office staff and teachers. Communication is key!

Section 3: Technology

Let’s talk tech. We love it when it works for us, and we despise it when it decides not to work for us. Some of these might seem obvious but they are all great steps to take to help keep our technology in tip-top shape. Trust me, even the most seasoned librarians can sometimes overlook the basics.

First, uncover and dust off that SmartBoard from its summer hibernation. It needs to be ready for us and our students to begin interacting! While you’re at it, hook up that trusty document camera and double-check that projector. The last thing you need is a tech hiccup mid-lesson or mid-observation!

Now, let’s talk computers. You want to make sure you have access to the computer or device you use with your lessons. Double-check it’s connecting correctly and that you’re able to log in to your school’s network and your accounts. There’s nothing worse than being locked out of your school’s network when you’re in the thick of things! Remember to also check your external speakers, if you use any. This goes for any other accessories as well. Giving a quick test run of any computer mice, keyboards, and external hard drives is always a good idea!

Final Tech Checks

Now that everything is hooked up and running, it’s time to log in to all those essential websites and give those passwords a once-over. Sometimes, certain passwords leave us over that long summer break. Other times, the program you’re using decides you need to update your password in the middle of class. Nothing worse than losing a group of primary students because you have to update a password, right?! Be proactive and check through each program that requires you to have a password to avoid this!

Section 4: Decorate

It’s time to get our creative juices flowing and spruce up our beloved library space! If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, especially if you’re new to the library scene, fear not. Start with something simple and build from there.

First, we need to chat about decor. Are we going for a fun theme this year or sticking with classic seasonal vibes? If you’re just dipping your toes into the world of library decoration, simplicity is key. There’s plenty of time for elaborate projects later! I will say that having a theme of some kind can make it much easier when deciding what to include! And if you still can’t decide, check to see what materials you already have, or what is available to be used first. This can help you choose a theme or style to use!

Next, it’s time to start thinking about the bulletin boards in and out of your school library. You can decide whether you want functional boards or themes that change with important events or seasons. While you’re at it, brainstorm some creative book displays to spark a little reading magic in your students. Even if you don’t use all of these ideas at the beginning of the year, it’s nice to have them on hand for months to come!

Feeling stuck for inspiration? Don’t sweat it because I’ve got your back! Check out my post on Library Decor Inspiration, which is full of decorating ideas. From printing posters to crafting the perfect library ambiance, I’ve got all the tips and tricks you need to make your space shine. Plus, you’ll discover nine different sets of posters you can use in your library space!

Section 5: Lesson Planning

It’s time to talk about lesson plans. Aim to have at least two solid weeks’ worth of lessons for all your learners across the grade levels. That means making copies, pulling books from the shelves, and prepping and readying those activities. We want our time out of the library to be as smooth as possible and trust me, this will make a HUGE difference during those first few weeks!

Now, onto the big picture. It’s always important to take some time to reflect on your grand vision for the school year. Whether it’s diving into exciting new projects or shaking up your usual routine, now’s the time to dream big. Set aside some time to think, write, and reflect on what you’d like to see happen in your library space this year.

Once you have that plan in mind, you want to record it in your plan book. Whether it’s in a paper planner, digital planner, or just on a table on Google Docs, it’s important that it’s written somewhere and ready to go. I don’t know about you, but if I fail to write it down, my memory can get a bit muddy! I prefer to keep my ideas top of mind by writing them all down!

Lesson planning also includes your substitute plans, because let’s face it, life happens. Even if you’re not expecting a substitute anytime soon, it never hurts to have a backup plan ready to roll. Have a substitute folder with all your policies and procedures, generic lesson plans, and a list of suggested read aloud books and activities. If you want to make life even easier, my Library Substitute Binder & Lesson Plans are here to save the day!

Section 6: Destiny Tasks

Last but not least, we examine the heart of our library operations. We’re looking at our circulation systems. Whether you’re a Destiny user or using a similar program, we want to make sure everything’s firing on all cylinders come day one. I recommend waiting to add most of the information until the school information has been added in for the year. In my neck of the woods, that means waiting for the data import from PowerSchool.

Destiny Back to School Procedures

Once you’re ready to go, let’s talk student shuffling. This is the chance to ensure our students are up to date with their new grade levels. Did the fifth graders move on to middle school? We might have fresh faces joining the library crew.

Next, it’s report time. Run those overdue reports by class, but hold off on those overdue notices. After all, we have to give our readers a chance to return with their borrowed books once the school doors open. You’ll also want to run your reports for your teachers and your inventory.

Once those reports are run, review your class lists once more. Make sure the barcode lists are ready to go. I make sure to place these lists into page protectors in a binder. It makes it easy for when a grade level visits the library because I can just flip to their page. Your school library may do this differently, but whatever way you do it, make sure the materials are ready for that first day back!

Now’s the perfect time to ponder our report game plan for the year ahead. Set up those circulation reports in Destiny, saving our favorites for easy access. Sometimes, I can’t always run a circulation report by the teacher because of the way PowerSchool imports into Destiny. There are ways around this, but it’s important to be aware of those solutions beforehand.

While we have the time, we should tune up our library policies. How long can our readers keep their books? How many books are they allowed to check out? It’s all about laying down the ground rules to start the year on the right foot!

Be Successful with the Perfect Back to School Checklist for School Librarians

There’s no denying that the beginning of a new school year is hectic and overwhelming. By using the Back to School Library Checklist you can focus less on remembering what to do and more on doing.

So go ahead, click that image below, and snag your very own checklist. Let it be your companion as you dive headfirst into the whirlwind of planning and preparation. Remember, no matter how daunting the task may seem, we’re laying the groundwork for what’s sure to be a magnificent and successful school year!

And if the thought alone gets you feeling overwhelmed, just remember to tackle one task at a time. It won’t be long before you’ve crossed off lots of tasks and are well on your way.

FREE Back to School Checklist for School Librarians

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2 Responses

    1. I’m sorry about that. I have fixed the link. You can download the checklist now. Thank you!

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