Trekking through the wilds of library instruction, management, and fun!

Mar 2, 2014

Library Circulation Desk Sanity Savers

Over the years, I've picked up a few ideas that help students be more independent as they check in and check out their books. Take a look at these pictures, and I'll explain...

There are two computers at the circulation desk. This is the one for checking out books. It's set up for students to check out their books themselves, but we monitor it mainly to make sure they've chosen at least one book that is a "good fit" for them (more about that in a later post). Notice...
  • iPod speaker: We don't use it for the iPod. I just bought it because it was inexpensive and LOUD. That's the point - the self check out procedure only works if the students can clearly hear the "good sound" and be able to discern it from the sounds coming from the check in computer, located about ten feet away.
  • Sign: This "CHECK OUT HERE" sign is helpful because we have two computers from which to choose. It's inside an acrylic picture frame.
  • Scanner: Sometimes the online program doesn't process the check out, even though the scanner light blinks. I needed the students to depend on the "good" sound that results from a successful scan whether or not the scanner light blinks, so I covered the light with blue tape.
  • Destiny: This computer runs Destiny "Check Out" at all times. We set it to a limit of two books per student, so it makes the "bad" sound whenever a student forgets to identify themselves by scanning their barcode (resulting in the computer trying to apply that checkout to the prior student's account) or when they attempt to checkout more than two at a time. The sound alerts us that we need to assist them.

 This is where students check in their books themselves.
  • Speakers: You can't see them, but there is a set of computer speakers here, too.
  • Sign: The sign reminds identifies this computer as the check in computer and lists the steps of the check in process. Click here to print your own.
  • Scanner: The light on the scanner is covered here for the same reasons stated above.
  • Destiny: This computer runs Destiny "Check In" at all times, and it makes the "bad" sound if a student scans the wrong barcode, alerting them to scan a different one.
  • NO Book Drop: I covered up the hole in the desk. The students read the spine label and place the book on the correct shelf (E, F, B, 000-399, 400-699, 700-999) of a six-shelf book truck. Read more HERE.
Please leave comments, questions and your own sanity saving tricks!

Yours happily ever after,


  1. I love your signs. I, too, have two computers. I use a VGA box to connect a second monitor to the check-in computer, so I can see what the students see. I also discovered I can attach a second mouse to either computer in case a student clicks off where it's supposed to be.

    1. Thank you! And I really like the idea of having an extra monitor attached to allow the students to view the screen, too. What a great help that would be!