Help Build a New School Library

From ALA TechSource:

Ask and ye shall receive. Not 24 hours after I lamented our challenges in covering school libraries, I received an e-mail from an employee at a private, K-12 school in New Jersey:

I am running a non-profit private school and I need some help in setting up my library. The main help that I need is to find out what kind of software I should be buying to launch the library. What initial things do I need? We have at least 1,500 Books and we want them to circulate to the students.

Initially, I wasn’t sure how this question ended up being sent to us. I felt unqualified to answer and wanted to refer the question to someone else…to an “expert”. Then something occurred to me–I can ask the several thousand experts who read this blog! If you have questions about setting up a library like this school administrator does, who better to ask than an open forum of librarians?

A bit more information about the situation: the school is equipped with a high-speed Internet connection, and has already ordered furniture for the library. They are working on a small budget (who isn’t these days), and want to put most of it towards an ILS and barcode-scanning technology.

TechSource readers, I put to it you–please help build this library! Please send your suggestions via blog comments or Twitter and we will  keep you updated on how things unfold. As the comments pile up, the school administrator in question will be weighing in herself with questions.

We’re looking forward to hearing your suggestions and engaging in this Library-building 2.0 project!

If you can help with insights and suggestions, please chime in!

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4 thoughts on “Help Build a New School Library”

  1. I don’t know what the funding options are, but I’m a fan of Follett Destiny. It’s Web-based, so it can be accessed from anywhere, and not only takes care f circulation but also the OPAC, reports, etc. I’m not sure how this library is being staffed, but Follett’s easy interface means it’s easy to train volunteers on how to use it. Another wing of Follett handles library books — our local rep in Michigan is great. I’d suggest finding the NJ rep and getting some help on setting up an account to order future materials, find reviews and reading levels, run collection reports to see where the weak areas of the collection are, etc. Our Follett rep provides many more services to our area than just being a vendor.

  2. I run a K-8 Library and have built it up on my own over the past three years. I purchased Follett Destiny because it is web-based and my students can access it anywhere they have the internet. We have three libraries at my school and Destiny allows us to enter sub-locations as well. For a bit extra, Destiny offers perks such as title-peek (seeing the cover art), webpath express (teacher approved grade level links to websites) and state standard and curriculum links.

    We are switching to TLC (The Library Corporation) because my school district is implementing a district wide automation system. The Chicago Public Library uses TLC and I have high hopes for this system. It too is web-based so my students will be able to access it anywhere they have the internet. It will be linked to other schools and hopefully the Chicago Public Library as well.

    I think one of these two options would work well for you!

  3. I am opening a new school library media center in January. I can’t make up my mind between TLC & DESTINY. TLC has more features but is very expensive. Did anyone else go through this dilemma? Any advice?

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