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5 Ways to Create Habits in the School Library

Over the past few years, I have discovered that I am really a project person, not a habit person. I love to tackle new things, even if they are hard and time consuming. Completing projects excites me.  Completing daily tasks… well, it bores me.  

This became clear while I was in grad school getting my MLS degree. You want me to read two chapters and take a quiz every week? No, thank you!  You want me to create a policy manual from scratch? Absolutely!

I choose to view being project oriented as a strength!

However, the downside is that I tend to forget about the day to day things that have to get done.  It’s why I will suddenly realized I haven’t shelved books all week.  Or I have a stack of book requests from teachers to fill. Or worse! It’s time for check-out and the computers need to boot up!

I’ve worked on creating small habits in my day to better ensure that I keep on track.  

Here are 5 things that have helped me create habits and stay on top of running the library!

5 Ways to Create Habits in the School Library

1. Use a Digital Calendar to keep track of my library tasks.

The digital part is important for 2 reasons!  The first is that I can set reminders.  The second is that I can reschedule things easily.  I really like to use my Google Calendar.  I color code all the different aspects and anything that is red is school related.  

This means that if I find myself out of the library when the reminder goes off, it is really simple to edit the time of the task so I can reschedule it for when I will be back in the library.

5 Ways to Create Habits in the School Library

2. Habit Stack. 

Habit stacking is adding a habit to something you already do.  

For example, I already walk into my library and cross the room the flip on the lights.  However, I was constantly forgot to turn on and log in to the circulation computers. I pass the circulation desk to get to the lights, so I stacked checking to make sure the computers were on and signed in to my morning walk across the library. 

Another habit stack I created is that when I’m scanning book room books back in.  I used to scan them and toss them in a crate to carry back to the book room.  Now I scan and organize.  I create a different stack on my library cart for each section of the book room.  It’s easy to put away 10-15 books that are on the same shelf!  I can do that in one of my small sections of time. 👇

5 Ways to Create Habits in the School Library

3. Utilize small sections of time to complete a specific task or activity. 

I run 40 minute classes all day with 5 minutes between each.  Those 5 minute breaks between classes gives me 35 minutes! There is a lot of time to complete small tasks.  In 5 minutes, I can shelve a few books. Or sharpen pencils. Or restock the book marks.  I can straighten ONE row or basket. Use the time you have to its fullest so you can do bigger things in bigger blocks of time!

5 Ways to Create Habits in the School Library

4. Teach students to do things.  

I really strongly dislike many shelf management tasks like making sure all the books are lined up and turned the right way.  You know who likes to do that? 7-8 year olds! 

I work at a K-3 school.  There are a lot of things that primary aged students can do. I teach First and Second Grade students how to read the shelves to make sure everything is turned the right way and facing the right way. 

I teach Third Grade students how to read call numbers. When they find one they think is in the wrong place, they pull it out a little bit and I come behind them to check.  If it’s in the wrong place, I take it and put it in the right place.

5 Ways to Create Habits in the School Library

5. Set a timer.  

This has been a lifesaver.  Timers are especially beneficial for habits you need to build but do not like to do. 

Currently, I’m trying to create a better habit for evaluation and deselection.  Three times a week I set a 20 minute timer and work through sections of the library.  Last year, I focused on picture books and the biography/autobiography section.  This year, I’m going to focus on chapter books and the 500 section of nonfiction. By setting a timer, I make myself accountable and set aside a specific amount of time to work on a particular task. And 20 minutes is a short enough time that it goes by fairly quickly and I don’t dread the task, even though it is routine.

Are you a habit person or a project person? What tips do you have for building habits? Drop me a comment below!

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