Log In Tracker: Free Printable

Have you ever thought about how many different online usernames and passwords we have to keep track of on a daily basis?

I have to remember usernames and passwords for Amazon, Follett, my library management program, Google Docs, my school email, supply vendors, my blog, our online attendance software, and so many more!

I created this free Log In Tracker Printable to help you keep track of all your different username and password combinations.

Now, obviously usernames and passwords are sensitive information.  That’s why I created the space for a password hint instead of the password itself.  You might also consider keeping this file in a secure drawer and away from students.  I also recommend you use a pencil so you can keep it updated in the event of any password changes.

You can download the printable by clicking on the image above or by clicking here.  Be sure to check out my all my other free printables, too!

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The Power of Incremental Change in School Libraries


Big change doesn’t always happen overnight.  Sometimes the biggest changes in our lives happen little by little.  We lose one pound a week and suddenly we’ve lost 30 pounds.  We set aside a small portion of each paycheck and then we have a nice nest egg at the end of the school year.  It’s easy to recognize incremental change in our personal lives, but how does this play out in school libraries?

For the sake of this article, I’m going to look at the idea of incremental change in libraries through the lens of weeding.  However, the principles listed below can be applied to many other aspects of librarianship- some of which I’ll discuss at the end of the article.

Break down the project and schedule small tasks

Weeding can be a daunting task.  School librarians don’t know how they’re going to find the time to go through all the necessary steps.  They get frustrated or overwhelmed and give up or just don’t do it.  But weeding doesn’t have to be overwhelming.   The key is to break it down into small tasks you do on a consistent basis.

For example, at a previous school I set up a 7-year weeding cycle.  I focused on one or two Dewey sections each semester.   I gave myself one full year to weed the 800s, 900s, and fiction because they were the largest in volume, and I knew I’d need extra time.

  • Year 1: 000s & 100s
  • Year 2:  200s & 300s
  • Year 3:  400s & 500s
  • Year 4: 600s & 700s
  • Year 5:  800s
  • Year 6:  900s
  • Year 7:  Fiction

After determining my semester focus, I would then narrow my focus on different subsections and schedule them monthly and weekly.  During the semester I weeded the 100s, I gave myself one week for each division within the 100s.  My schedule looked like this:

  • Week 1:  100-109          Week 6:  150-159
  • Week 2:  110-119          Week 7:  160-169
  • Week 3:  120-129          Week 8:  170-179
  • Week 4:  130-139          Week 9:  180-189
  • Week 5:  140-149          Week 10:  190-199

I’m not saying I think everyone should schedule ten weeks for each Dewey section.  The point is that I created a schedule that worked for me, my collection size, and my school schedule.  You might have a small library and it’s possible you could weed your entire 100s in one afternoon.

A schedule will only work if it’s realistic, so make sure you’re honest with yourself about how much time you have and how much time you need.  It’s always a good idea schedule more time than you think you’ll need.  This will prevent unforeseen difficulties or interruptions from derailing you.

Set structure

Once you’ve created your schedule, you need to find ways to help you implement it.  I keep a task list in Outlook, and I’ve created a daily, recurrent task that reminds me to weed.  When I check it off at the end of each day, it automatically puts it back on my task list for tomorrow.  You can create similar task reminders in Google Calendar, iCal, and most calendar applications.

Some people find it helpful to set specific times or do certain tasks at the same time daily.  I’ve learned from experience that my day is too unpredictable to set specific times, but it may be helpful for some school librarians on fixed schedules.  For me, crossing something off my daily to-do list is a very powerful motivator, even if I just put it back on the list for tomorrow!

Do it!

You’ve broken down your goal or project into small, manageable tasks.  You’ve created a schedule and set your structure. Now you just have to do those tasks!  Sometimes we get so caught up in organizing our reminders and structure, we’re satisfied just doing that and we neglect to actually do what we’re scheduling!  Don’t fall victim to this trap!  Do the work already!

Tweak, re-invent, and try again.

Your plan is established, but it is not set in stone.  It should work for you.  Make changes if some part of your structure or plan doesn’t work.

Other areas where incremental change can be powerful

  • Cleaning- School libraries are notoriously dirty and dusty.  Perhaps the janitor doesn’t clean in the library, or perhaps he doesn’t clean enough.  The fact is that if your library is gross, you need to clean it. But that doesn’t mean a floor-to-ceiling all in one swoop. If you consistently clean small areas of your library on a daily or weekly basis, it will be less likely that library will ever revert into the gross, dust-collector it once was.

  • Instruction- Are you thinking about implementing an information literacy skills program?  Start small.  Write lesson plans for one class, one grade level or one subject area.  Test it out and go from there.

If you want to read more about incremental change, I suggest you read Michael Hyatt’s blog post on the Power of Incremental Change Over Time.  Hyatt’s post doesn’t deal with libraries, but it is a great place to begin if you’re looking for some inspiration.

How do you harness the power of incremental change in your library?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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25 Productive Things You Can Do in 5 Minutes For Your School Library

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about productivity and how I use my time.  I wanted to figure out how to use my brief chunks of spare time in order to become more productive. So I came up with a list of quick, productive actions I can take to improve my school library.

Photo courtesy of Graham Briggs via http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1340424

  1. Walk through the stacks and pick up any trash or books that have been left behind.
  2. Dust a small section of shelves.
  3. Read the latest blog post from my favorite library bloggers.
  4. Sharpen the pencils I leave out for students.
  5. Write a thank-you note to a teacher, parent, student volunteer, or community member who supports my library.
  6. Shelve books.  Do as many as I can in 5 minutes!
  7. Look through last year’s yearbook and learn the names of 5 students I recognize, but don’t know their names.
  8. Clean computer screens or keyboards.
  9. Check spam email folder.  Delete!
  10. Wipe down tables or study carrels.
  11. Shelf-read or block a small section of shelves
  12. Check under your tables and study carrels for gum.  Gross, but necessary.
  13. Go through paper files and recycle or shred any outdated or irrelevant paperwork.
  14. Chat with the next student who approaches the circ desk.  Ask him how his day was or how his week is going so far.
  15. Decide which library events and promotions (Teen Read Week, Black History Month, etc.) I want to celebrate.  I use this “Dates to Remember” sheet to make sure my calendar isn’t overcrowded.
  16. Start tracking how you spend your time.  This will help you justify more hours, a second staff member, volunteers, or to justify your existence as more than a book-stamper!  I use this simple time tracker sheet.
  17. Read a few reviews of the latest YA or children’s lit books.
  18. Recycle outdated catalogs and mailings.
  19. List some long-term goals you have for your library.  Make sure you revisit them when you have the time to flesh out the steps you’ll need to take to reach them.
  20. Take a quick inventory of supplies you use often.  Make note of any supplies you need to replenish soon.
  21. Take pictures of students using your library.  These may come in handy for future reports or promotional materials.
  22. Throw out any unhealthy snacks you keep for yourself.  They only sap your energy.  Pick up some healthy options (like almonds or dried fruit) on your next trip to the grocery store.
  23. Straighten up and dust your desk.
  24. Delete rarely-used shortcuts and icons from your computer desktop.
  25. Browse your own stacks.  You might find some gems you forgot you had.

What are the quick, productive things you do in your school library?  Please share in the comments below.

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