Beginning of the Year in the Library

Markers, and crayons, and pencils, oh my!

     As you walk through stores right now, you can start to see that school is definitely in the air!  This is always a time that makes me happy (there’s just something about brand new school supplies that makes my heart smile!)  

     But with the happy smile comes the slight grimace of all the things that need to get done at the beginning of the year.  I’ve been thinking about this even more right now as we have two brand new librarians that will be starting that are already feeling overwhelmed (and they don’t even know what’s coming!) LOL!
     If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you might have guessed that I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to organization!  And the beginning of the school year is no time to forget how much I love to do this!  So, if you would like to keep your sanity with all the work that is about to come your way, follow in my footsteps and start finding or purchasing BINDERS now! My favorite kind of binder is the Presentation View binders which have the plastic see-through front and back.  (Sam’s has a set of 8 for approximately $12.00  You can also find really good deals now at all the stores for their “Back To School” promotions).  This way, you can create and print your own cover pages and spine labels to make them look pretty, and make them easier to find.

     There are 12 main binders that I use to keep track of everything throughout the year.   


1.  Beginning of the Year Binder 

     There is a plethora of information that comes my way at the beginning of the year, so in order to keep up with it all, I created this binder.  I organized it into the following sections:

  • School Information
    • This is where I keep any information that the office gives us regarding schedules, phone directions, agendas, etc.
  • Things To Do
    • This is a main list that our district developed that lists the things that need to be completed at the start of each year
    • This is also where I put any additional notes/directions of things I need to complete.
  • Forms to Print
    • This is where I either keep a list or a master copy of all the forms for my different binders so that I can make a copy of them really quickly at the beginning of the year. 
  • Email Updates
    • I’ve learned to keep a BOY template with the most FAQ so that I can just add/delete really quickly to send it out to the faculty.
  • Open House Night
    • This is where I keep a copy of our BOY Brochure, Volunteer Sign-up lists, and Parent Information forms. (I like the handouts that you can print from the Reading Rockets website, and usually have them copied on different color paper for each grade level.)

2.  Lesson Plan Book

     I’ve tried an assortment of lesson plan books from various teacher stores, but nothing ever really seemed to work for me in the library.  So, I created my own using….wait for it… Yep! You guessed it!  A BINDER!  I organized it into the following sections:

  • Year at a Glance
    • I use this as a way to plan big ideas/themes for each grade level.  It also allows me to do some vertical planning as I see all grade levels at one time.
  • 9-Weeks Lesson Plans
    • I have a divider for each of the four 9-week grading periods.
    • I use a from that I created to plan out the week to week lessons within the 9 week grading period.  This is also where I notate any specific collaboration projects that are coming up. 
  • To Do Lists
    • I use this to notate anything that I need to take care of or projects/events to get ready for throughout they year. (I’m usually making notes here during faculty meetings as things come up that need to be completed.)
    • I also have a “To Buy” list here to help me remember supplies that I will need to reorder. 
  • Portfolio
    • In my district, we have certain things that we have to report at the end of the year as part of our EOY report & portfolio.  So I created several forms that I print in August and just fill them in throughout the year.  This way I don’t have to rely on my memory!
  • School Info
    • I usually put a copy of the school wide schedule so that I know when recess & lunch is for each grade level. 
  • Subs & Volunteers
    • I created a form to keep track of substitutes and volunteers.  This way when I’m planning, I can email or call people right away with the information.
  • Phone Lists
    • I put a copy of our school phone lists as well as our librarian phone lists so that when I’m at home I can still find that information in case of emergencies. 

3.  Budget Binder 

     This was the most important binder to get set up in my opinion!  (It was actually my first binder when I started!)   I organized it into the following sections:

  • Procedures
    • I end up having so many logins and passwords, that it’s hard to keep track so I created a page that has this information right in the front of my binder.  
    • It also has a quick checklist of common functions that I do within my budget program and my online credit card. 
  • School Funds/Budget Codes
    • I have a divider for each of the different budget codes (books, supplies, software, etc.), and I created a form so that I can keep track of how much money I spend and deposit in each account.
    • As I write PO’s, I keep copies of all this information behind the divider of the correct account.  This way, if there is ever a question, I can locate the PO immediately.
  • Activity Funds
    • I have a divider for our Book Fairs/Fundraisers, and keep all the financial information from the book fair here.
    • I also have dividers for Lost Books (one for cash, one for check, and one for “worked off”.)  This way I can keep up with how much money is in these accounts. 
  • Credit Card
    • I keep copies of all receipts that I turn in as well as the reconciliation form that I fill out for my secretary just in case there ever is a question about a charge on the credit card.

4.  Computer 

     There are so many different computer programs that I have to use as part of the library, that sometimes my mind just goes blank! (I hate it when that happens!)  To help remind myself during those times, I started this binder. I organized it into the following sections:
  • Destiny
    • There are so many reports that can be run, that I often forget the specific steps, so I print those instructions for easy access.
  • Marc Magician
    • This is a suite of programs to help check the accuracy of your records when you purchase from different book vendors.  I only use it a few times each year, so I always forget the steps. 
  • NoodleTools
    • I keep the directions for logging in as an administrator here, as well as the steps on how to do a mass upload of students so I don’t have to enter each individual one.
  • Databases
    • I keep specific information and/or training handouts about the databases that we use in our district. 
  • Webpage
    • I keep my logins and passwords here as well as specific directions on how to do navigate the site.
  • Copy Center
    • I keep directions from our Copy Center on how to send things electronically.
  • Overdrive
    • This is our electronic ebook system that we use in our district.  I keep logins and passwords as well as any directions and/or training handouts for students.
  • Eduphoria
    • This is a web-based program where teachers can keep track of their workshops, lesson plans, STAAR information, and sign up for computer labs. I keep directions for the different steps that I always forget. 

5.  Bluebonnets 

     I am in Texas, and we have the Texas Bluebonnet Award that is given to one book each year.  There are 20 nominees, and students in 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th grade are encouraged to read at least 5 of the books.  In January, any student who has read at least 5 out of the 20 books is eligible to vote. In February, our district holds a “Battle of the Bluebonnets” where teams of 5 students from each school compete to answer questions about the 20 books.   I use this binder to keep track of this information.  I organized it into the following sections:

  • Blank forms
    • I download the reading log forms from the TLA website so that I can keep track of the books that students have read (they have to come see me to answer questions about the book).  
  • 3rd Grade
    • I keep the reading logs of any student who wishes to participate.  I organize them by homeroom teacher.
  • 4th Grade
    • I keep the reading logs of any student who wishes to participate.  I organize them by homeroom teacher.
  • 5th Grade
    • I keep the reading logs of any student who wishes to participate.  I organize them by homeroom teacher.
  • Voting materials
    • I download the voting stickers and either use their ballot or create an online ballot.
  • Permission Slips
    • I keep a copy of our district permission slip, as well as any information letters that go home to the parents of the Battle Team.
  • Anouncements
    • I keep a template of any morning announcements that I make so that I can quickly add/delete information.

6.  Wish Lists 

     Purchasing book my first year was very overwhelming.  So I created a binder to help get some feedback from the students and faculty as to what books they thought we needed.  This binder is located right by the circulation desk.  As students/faculty tell me about a new book, I have them write it down behind the correct divider.  If I’m able to purchase a book on the list, I will highlight it and write in the date it was ordered.  This way, students/ faculty know what books are coming.  I also use it to write down titles that I see coming into the library from other campuses (ILL’s) that we don’t currently have but teachers are using.  I organized this binder into the following sections:
  • Easy/Everybody books
  • Fiction, chapter books
  • Non-Fiction books
  • Biographies
  • Professional books

7.  ILL’s 

     I created this binder to keep track of the ILL requests that my teachers made.  When books from other campuses would come in, I would write the information down in this binder and then give them the book.  When they returned the book to me, I would write in the date that I mailed it back to it’s home campus.  This allowed me to see if teachers’s had books from other campuses for too long, and I could quickly email them to return the book.
     I also used this to keep track of any teachers that were borrowing my personal books.  Otherwise I wouldn’t remember who took what. 

8.  Reading Programs 

     This binder is divided into two sections which correlate to the two main reading programs that our school participates in throughout the year.  I use this binder to keep track of the administrator information, and the forms that I print off for the classroom teachers.  (This way if they lose it, I can easily give them another copy.)

  • Pizza Hut’s “Book It” program
    • Students earn Pizza Hut coupons for filling out a reading log. 
  • Six Flag’s “Read to Succeed” program
    • Students earn a free ticket to Six Flags for reading a certain number of minutes. 

9.  Book Lists

     Teachers often come and ask for recommendations on books over certain topics (alliteration, cause/effect, imagery, etc.)  So, I started to keep a list of books that I would find on the internet. (Here’s a fantastic site that I use often for different lists!)  I also used these lists as a reminder of things to purchase, and would highlight the title if I bought the book.  I organized this binder in the following sections, but I’m constantly adding to this binder:

  • 7 Habits
  • ABC Books
  • Wordless Picture Books
  • Cause & Effect
  • Character Building
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Imagery
  • Persuasion
  • Point of View
  • Sequencing
  • Simile/Metaphor

10.  Book Fair

     I have this binder out throughout the entire Book Fair as I’m constantly using it.  (You can find out more information on how I do Book Fairs here at
I organized this binder in the following sections:
  • Things To Do
    • I created a general list of things that always need to be done in the weeks prior to the Book Fair.  This helps me remember to send things off to get copied in time for when the Book Fair starts.
  • Sales Forms
    • I wanted to be able to see what I had sold each day and to be able to compare that information with previous Book Fair totals so I created a form to keep track of this data.
  • Miscellaneous Forms
    • I put copies of other things that I always need to make copies of such as poster numbers, wishlists, brochure information, etc.  
  • Email Updates
    • I keep a copy of an email template with important information for teachers and students.  This way I can easily add/delete from this template.
  • Announcements
    • I keep a copy of a template for morning announcements for each day of our book fair.  This way I can easily just add/delete information as needed.
  • Certificates
    • I give out certificates to a lucky winner in each grade level each day of sales.  So I learned quickly to have a form typed up already so that I don’t have to write in so much information.

11.  Substitute Binder 

     Having a substitute is always a lot of work, especially in the library.  You not only need to have lesson plans, but you also have to have directions on how to turn on your computers, how to check in/out books, etc.  (If you are interested in learning more about how I handle subs, you can check it out here at

I organized this binder into the following sections:

  • General Info
  • Lesson Plans
  • Computer Directions
  • Shelving Directions
  • Emergency Info

12. End of the Year Binder 

     The end of the year, like the beginning of the year, is a blur of activity and lists of things to do.  In order to organize this information I created an End of the Year binder.  (You can find more information here at

I organized this binder into the following sections:

  • Things to do
  • Inventory
  • Check outs
  • Equipment
  • Email Updates
  • Announcements
  • Certificates
  • EOY Report

     I know this seems like A LOT of information, but once you get your binders set up, they really do help make things run smoother in the library!  If you would like to set up your own binder system feel free to visit my TpT store or my Teacher’s Notebook store.  I’ve uploaded all these binder covers (front and back, as well as a blank back so that you can write in your own sections) as well as the forms that I created for each binder.
     What type of Beginning-of-the-Year systems do you have in your library? I’m always looking for new ways to improve and would love to hear back from you! 



10 Responses to “Beginning of the Year in the Library”

  1. Ms. O

    Darn. I thought I was getting better at organization but your post blows me away. I don't think I could put my finger on 75% of this information outside of my own head which really … is not good, is it.
    I have binders but they are more like "picture book activities" or "lit circle questions" or "science research inquiry." Hmmm. Food for thought.

    Ms. O

  2. Sandy Karas Liptak

    Don't worry! Keep in mind that this is years in the making! 🙂 I've spent the last 4 years writing lists of things to do, and eventually they formed into a binder. AND it's only this summer that I actually got things this organized in order to share with our 2 new librarians (I work best when I have a deadline!) 🙂 Hang in there and start small! 🙂

  3. Lisa Straubinger

    Hi Sandy! I can not tell you how happy I am that I found your blog! I will be starting my new position as the Media Specialist (teaching technology and library integrated into the curriculum) in the fall. I have already found so many helpful ideas from your posts and I LOVE your organization! A teacher after my own heart 🙂 Please keep the great information coming!

  4. Terri Freyou

    Thanks so much for your organization! I noticed on the end of the year to dos, you have specific list of things to do. I purchased your beginning of the year binder organization, it is awesome! Does it have a specific list of things to do at the beginning of the year?

  5. Sandy Karas Liptak

    Hi Terri. If you look in the folders, it lists different forms to print to get your binders ready for the beginning of the year. Our district also provides more specific lists of things to do based on our cataloguing and email systems. If you'd like to read more about what I do those first few weeks, check out my blog posts about "Practice Books" and "First Week Lessons". Hope this helps!

  6. Terri Freyou

    Thanks for your organization! I noticed you have a specific lists on your post for the End of the Year. Do you have a specific lists for things to do at the beginning of the year or each month throughout the year?

  7. Sandy Karas Liptak

    Hi Terri,

    At this time, it doesn't really have a specific list of things to do other than get your binders ready. I have been making notes and will be blogging about starting a new year this coming year. Hope that will help! 🙂


Leave a Comment

  • (will not be published)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>