This is for Jim at TeacherNinja, who requested more information about day-to-day library operations.
Library Helpers. Oh, how all of the students want to be library helpers. Unfortunately, this does not mean they all want to shelve books. No, they want to stand at the only computer within 20 feet of the circ desk. This is fine when we have classes and I am roaming around helping students get books, but after I've taken care of the class, and the study hall students, and have checked in all of the books (something only I do, after being challenged by parents!) and filed the circ cards, sometimes I have five minutes to do something frivolous like, oh, check work e mail or look for new releases of YA fiction. This is hard to do with two sixth graders standing at my elbow.
I finally hired a full complement of workers. At least two every period of the day. I take applications. If a student does not fill it out completely (I do need to know what period your study hall is!), or if they answer that they want to be a helper because they hate study hall, they are not hired. Also not hired are students who are struggling with grades, have chronic overdue problems, or cannot behave themselves in the library. I switch out most of my helpers on a quarterly basis so that many students get a chance.
The jobs that the helpers are supposed to do (and which are posted for them to see) are:
Put books in alphabetical order on carts
Dust backs of chairs in computer lab
Push chairs in
Pick up stray paper
Straighten computer lab
Scrub pencil marks off tables
Sensitize books and pile up
Make the library a better place to be!!
This isn't that exciting, I know, but I remember spending a lot of time in my 4th grade library bundling up Campbell's soup labels. Try enough student helpers and you will find some that work really well. You will also find some students that don't do a lot of work, but need to be near you. School work always comes first for my students, and some of my students are "supervisors" who spend most of their time doing homework, which is fine!