Start a Library Helper Club
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the tasks of running a school library AND trying to teach great lessons, too… you really need to start a Library Helper Club! (Before you stress — I’ve got a TPT resource that has the fall semester all planned out for you!) But wait… let’s back up. Maybe you’re not even sure what library club helpers could do for you?
Well, after establishing a library helper club, you can have them:
- Turn the library computers on in the mornings and off again at dismissal time.
- Clean tables, door handles, shelf tops, the scanner, the keyboard, your monitor, and many other common areas.
- Scan and sort incoming books and put them in order on library carts.
- If you have some advanced students, teach them to transfer these to your bookshelves or bins, too.
- Pick up paper scraps from the floor and push in chairs.
- Dust and straighten book displays.
- Prep display and class materials.
- Sharpen pencils and check on the status of other school supplies.
- Run errands.
- Trim bookmarks.
- Help other students use the OPAC and find their books.
- Assist with book fair preparation.
- Help at the circulation desk.
And believe me…that’s just a few things off the top of my head. Your library helper club can take MANY small tasks off your plate!
To establish your club, first, use my TPT resource to recruit a team of serious library helpers. My resource includes both an editable job description and a job application. Using both of these will help you weed out students who are not really committed to helping you – and maybe just want an excuse to get out of class. (WOW… I have been THERE!) Plus, by using these, you let parents and other involved teachers know your expectations before they agree to sign off on the application.
The resource also includes very kind acceptance AND rejection notes, so you can let your applicants know what you have decided in a timely manner. Again, this helps your students (and their parents) realize that they are taking on a serious responsibility. Plus, I feel like those students who were not chosen need to be let down easy. I think a sweet note helps a little.
As for those who are chosen… my resource also includes weekly rewards for your hard-working club members! I’ve created 18 backpack badge rewards that you can bestow each week for a job well done. (There’s also an extra “Happy Birthday” badge!) My resource includes time sheets to help you keep up with who is actually showing up to help! (But…giving the badges does not have to be a weekly event, of course. YOU choose the timing and the criteria for bestowing the badges that works for your program.) For extra fun and motivation — the theme of each badge is paired with a matching activity idea. This is a BIG part of what keeps your helpers feeling like they actually belong to a cool CLUB — and not just an unappreciated work crew. Trust me… adding this element made a big difference in my library practice. Some examples of activities include an making an origami owl bookmark, doing a fun and easy science experiment, creating a synchronized library cart routine, following a drawing video, doing a little Blow-Pop research, playing donut ring toss (pattern included) and making a Swiffer-type dusting gadget.
Since time during the school day always seems to be in short supply – I planned library helper club activities that are very high interest, but super SIMPLE to actually plan and accomplish (ahem…and FINISH UP!) All are easy…and kid-approved. There is a complete list of my badges in the TPT listing.
One more thing… if you purchase the resource, before your library club gathers that first time, you should be sure to look for the “My Favorites” chart. This is a great little tool to help you get to know your library helper club members — and for them to get acquainted with each other — and hopefully become friends! This is another key to keeping your club members motivated — and coming back to help you week after week! If the students feel that you are personally interested in them, and that they are part of a friendly team, they will be more invested in the library program and its needs. Then, once you have them trained, I think you will feel much less stress about all that there is to do!
The resource even has you covered with an end-of-the-year certificate. If your school has an awards assembly, this is a simple memento to recognize a semester of service to your school.
In the meantime though, DO the badge activities with your club members as often as possible. Those common fun events will help guide your library helper club toward building friendships while they’re learning how to work together for you as a team! (AND… while they’re saving you a lot of time by covering mundane tasks like cleaning, straightening, taking care of computers, prepping materials, and so on.) Most kids long for a feeling of belonging, so make sure you are fostering this within your library helper club by teaching them how to do all tasks correctly, verbally appreciating their efforts, and planning little times of reward with the 18 backpack badges and activities.
Here’s What You Will Purchase in this Resource:
– One Library Job Description sheet (editable in PowerPoint)
– One Library Job Application sheet (editable in PowerPoint)
– One acceptance and one rejection note 🙁 (editable in PowerPoint)
– A “My Favorites” chart (to help your club get acquainted)
– Two different time sheets (for tracking participation)
– A bonus parent volunteer tracking sheet
– 18 backpack badges (I also included PNGs of each badge, so you can cut them out with a Cricut.)
(Please be aware that the 18 backpack badges are NOT editable at all. :))
– A happy birthday badge
– Three pages of reward ideas that match-up to each individual backpack badge
– Directions, printables, and/or links for the activities as needed
– A bonus page of gift tags for your adult volunteers (or teacher friends!)
– An end-of-the-year certificate of appreciation
I hope this is a resource that helps you train a great group of kids to save YOU lots of time and effort… BUT ALSO to help THEM build friendships that will last for many years. (I still keep in touch with the librarian that I helped all during junior high!) <3
SWEET FIVE-STAR FEEDBACK FROM OTHER LIBRARIANS:
***** These are super fun. Helped me create some semblance of order to the madness that was a group “we’d rather help in the library than go to recess.” Which they still do sometimes. I assigned different jobs to each badge. We’ll see how it goes earning them! — MsOReadsBooks
***** It was a great tool to help me get Library Helpers started in my first year of being a librarian! — Amanda E.
***** This resource is amazing, thank you so much for sharing! — Taylor K.
***** Great resource. Many thanks for this! — Emma R.
***** This is a great resource!!! My students loved it!!! Kaylee K.
Trying to find the backpack badge lanyard clips? The button below will take you to my Amazon list.