Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

It's in the Procedures Book: There Is No Better Time Than Now to Begin Compiling Your Media Center's Procedures Book; It Will Come in Very Handy

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

It's in the Procedures Book: There Is No Better Time Than Now to Begin Compiling Your Media Center's Procedures Book; It Will Come in Very Handy

Article excerpt

"NOW, where are the directions for setting up the projector?" Can you answer, "It's in the procedures book."

Does your media center have an up-to-date and helpful policy and procedures book? Are your essential documents in one place so you can refer to them quickly? Or, do you spend too much time digging for what you need to help you manage efficiently? There is no better time than now to begin compiling your media center's procedures book; it will come in handy!

A procedures book is a collection of documents that explains how your media program operates. It describes or prescribes a preferred, common, and consistent course of action. It is both a practical tool to help you and your staff and a resource that helps define the philosophical basis of your program. It also does the following:

* Helps staff become self-sufficient and efficient. (The media center support staff I regularly meet with compiles many of the documents I give them into procedures books for the media centers they manage.)

* Helps provide continuity when there is a staff change

* Offers guidance for substitutes and volunteers

* Provides answers to your own questions. (Although I no longer work in a specific school media center, I still refer to the contents of the procedures book we developed in my current district position.)

* Provides quick answers to questions from parents and visitors

* Ensures that your essential documents will be accessible in one place

* Presents an image of you and the media center as organized and professional. ("Wow! Do you really have to know and do all this?")

You most likely don't have a chunk of time to devote to writing and completing an entire procedures book. Start small. Document by document, your book will grow. Begin by gathering existing documents, even those in draft form. Put them in one place, preferably a three-ring binder organized into sections with plastic sheet covers for documents you want to protect or may need to remove often as you use them. After you complete management tasks or answer frequently asked questions, take a few minutes to prepare notes that might be helpful for future reference. Involve media center support staff who can contribute documents explaining tasks that represent their area of expertise. When you revise older documents and create new ones, aim for a reasonable amount of consistency in format and appearance. Always add "date created" or "date revised" to each document and be sure to include the school and district's name.

Rosie Sasso, a media specialist at Saint Stephen's Episcopal School in Bradenton, Fla., modeled her media program's procedures book after a class project she completed in a media administration course. "When I arrived, there wasn't much to go on, so I had to start a system that worked best for me and what was in the best interests for our teachers and students. Things were in bad shape." She started the manual in 2001 and completed it 3 years later using a variety of resources: school documents, ALA and AASL documents, and documents she created on her own. View the Saint Stephen's document at SSVL/LMC/Extras/PPM2004.PDF.

Documents unique to your program are the central component of your book. District, local, state, and national documents are helpful too. Include policies and guidelines in addition to media center task and operational directions.


Basic information.

Most of this is in your head, but can you put your fingers on it if you need to share it with others or need information quickly? Include the program mission and media center overview information such as hours and schedule as well as basic unique programs and services offered. A floor plan will be helpful, especially in larger facilities. Program plans and goals may be a helpful addition.

Contact information. …

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