I try not to buy paperback series books like magic tree house, goosebumps and A-Z mysteries and put out a fall request to parents whose kids have outgrown them to donate them to the library.

I ask for donations for duplicate copies of high interest series books like Lemony Snicket and Lightning Thief.

Lisa Von Drasek
Coordinator of
School Services/
Children's Librarian
Bank Street College of Education
School for Children Pre-K- 8
610 West 112th St
NY NY 10025


These are not earth shattering methods, but I stay very attuned to specials and sales. I am always ready for the Bound to Stay bound $6.00 sale at the beginning of Oct. Other vendors might offer buy 4 books and get one free or spend $350 and get $150 worth of free material. It takes a little time to subscribe and read all the vendor/publisher emails, and to get orders ready fast (especially with BTSB), but it brings my dollar cost down.

I also do a "Celebrate with a book" (special event, birthday celebration etc.) with a shelf of Junior Library Guild books from their back list. Again, it is my time that I use to check the reviews for the books and my collection to make sure I need these items. This way the books are lower cost. The PTA helps me by floating the original funds, then the checks or cash go back to them.

I enter contests and free drawings and once won a classroom set of paperback Curious George books. I subscribe to free magazines such as the Lego magazine. I think it is my responsibility to help stretch my budget to bring the most value I can to the library.
Debra L. Maier
Ontario Primary School
Ontario Center, NY
Wayne Central School District

Book Fairs through Barnes and Noble/Borders -they set up and you can purchase through them with the educator discount card
Utilizing the public library. Show students how to use the online catalog at the public library - use the holds feature and they pickup.
Open Source Software - googledocs, wordle, wallwisher, photostory, audacity, epearl, moodle, moviemaker

Christine Schein
District Tech Strand Coordinator
Information Literacy Specialist
Academy District 20
Colorado Springs, CO
Christine Schein christine.schein@asd20.org

This past spring when we lost the state funding for a database (Ebsco) I wrote a proposal for my Parent Teacher Organization and they agreed to fund it for the coming year.

I also went through my list of magazines with a fine toothed comb and pared it down to only the most essential.

I was also extremely careful when I read book reviews and checked circulation records for series books. If circulation was low I did not purchase sequels beyond the 2nd title.

Amy Ipp
Millburn Middle School
Millburn NJ

This one is a tried and true activity from when I was a classroom teacher. At open house/back to school night, I put book shaped stickies on my door with a catchy phrase about supplies. On each sticky is a supply that I could use if parents want to donate items to the library. I usually put items such as a ream of colored paper, markers, stickers, hand sanitizer, tissues, empty coffee cans (for crayons, markers, etc) old wallets (We use those for Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells), etc. While I don't get all the items, it is an easy, less invasive way to beg for supplies.

Another really cheap/free cost cutting measure is to use either wooden rulers or paint sticks (donated by local hardware store) as shelf markers. Early in the year, you can get wooden rulers for as little as a dime and Home Depot and Lowes have always been generous with sharing paint stirrers with me. I usually spruce them up by painting them to decorate them, but this is optional.

Have you used SOLO plates as dry erase boards? They work really well and are cheap. If you want something more durable, then go to the hardware store and buy a piece of board they put in showers (I can't remember what it is called). Have them cut it into the size you want for dry erase boards. I went an extra step and wrapped the edges with colorful duct tape, so students wouldn't get a scratch. Stuff an old, mismatched sock (everyone has those around the house) with the marker and you have an eraser to use too.

Theresa Harris
Glen Allen Elementary
Glen Allen Virginia

One thing I did that really helped to get new books on my shelf was to join our local LIBRES group. Publishers send books to our county school district for us to read and review. Once we send in our review we can keep the book for our library or the retired members use it for "free prizes" when speaking to a group. Last year alone I added almost 80 books. My school has 1-12 grades so I was able to get easy readers to YA.

We meet every other month to discuss the books we read; what we liked, what we didn't like.

I'm not sure if this is a local thing or if there are more like us out there.

Michelle Levy
School Library Media Specialist
Eton Academy
1755 Melton
Birmingham, MI 48009
rylor4@gmail.com (home)
mlevy@etonacademy.org (work)

How about borrowing displays from other districts in your library? My colleague borrowed all of the things necessary for a bulletin board about books made into movies, which saved her time and materials!

Lisa Weinstein
Century Junior High

Orland Park, IL

I look for books at the Friends of the Library sales at my library. Almost every week I find at least 2 or 3 books in great condition to help supplement my collection.

Stefanie Halliday
Belleville High School
Belleville, MI


Mackin has a great program where parents, community, or others may donate to an account that you set up for the purpose of this program.

I think I will set up a program before the week is out!

Colette D. Eason, Librarian
Marsalis ES
5640 S. Marsalis Ave.
Dallas, TX 75241
Box 317, TEA #183
Dallas ISD

FAX 972-749-3501

TALL Texan Class of 2007

This past spring when we lost the state funding for a database (Ebsco) I wrote a proposal for my Parent Teacher Organization and they agreed to fund it for the coming year.

I also went through my list of magazines with a fine-toothed comb and pared it down to only the most essential.

I was also extremely careful when I read book reviews and checked circulation records for series books. If circulation was low I did not purchase sequels beyond the 2nd title.

Amy IppMillburn Middle School, Millburn Towhship Schools Millburn NJ

Well, I don't know how many of these ideas are tips for stretching, instead I think of this as "seeing the handwriting on the wall."

I expected low funding or no funding from my school district for this school year. I began planning last spring.

1. I talked to PTA about the fact the library might have no funding. Although we do book fairs each year (and use the money for library) I know the PTA always targets their fundraising project for something the school needs. They were prepared that I would ask for this August 2010. I did and they voted to support the library with 85% of their fundraising efforts this year.

2. I applied for two grants in anticipation of funding trouble. I will learn the outcome within the next few weeks.
3. I saved back some funds from last year to cover start-the-year expenses.

4. I spoke with my principal about my fear of running the library with no funds. It was an honest conversation (and we don't always have relaxed honesty between us if you know what I mean.) It went well and I'm glad I did it. I simply told her I was scared because I didn't know if I could do my job with "no money." I don't know how to run a library with no funding. Our program is an effort of many years building student excitement about new books, the anticipation of getting your hands on the next book in a series, the love and adoration of being the first student to check out the new book. My reading promotion efforts require money. She said, "It will be okay. You have great books, great energy, the students will still come and be impressed with our library." I said, "It will be hard, and I'll spend energy on money worries and planning that could have been spent on teaching children." I'm glad I had the talk because she understands my worry, knows why I might not be smiling like always, and we both know this will pass.

5. I've been talking to local public librarians about their resources. They actually have excess money right now and want to buy books we suggest. They can even by some book discussion kits that we request. That relationship will pay off with resources, school visits and extended programming.

6. This summer I spent so much time learning Web 2.0 applications so that I can work my magic with the staff and share brilliant, free new ideas. If I can get teachers excited about learning some cool new things for their students it might take their minds off the reduced funds for everyone. I'll share things like iMovie, Audacity, Animoto (got the educator account), TweenTribune website, and Google docs (this is the year they can explore.)

Basically my strategy was planning and anticipation, coordinating with resource people around me, continuing to learn instead of stagnating because there is no money. Use these ideas as they fit your article. I think of my actions as more of a strategy instead of tips to share.

Lisa Hunt, NBCT 2005, School Library Media Specialist, Apple Creek Elementary, Moore, OK, lisa3moon@yahoo.com
More info from Lisa Hunt:

I applied for Dollar General Youth Literacy Grant and a Wal-Mart Grant. I have also applied for a small grant from our PTA, because they have a separate Teacher Request Program. I have plans to apply for a Foundation Grant within my school district, too. I've discovered the beauty of the small numbers grants. I used to skip over the things that were $100 or $200 maximum. However, I've learned that small amount is just enough to get the 10 personal CD players I need, or 2 flip cameras. Over the last 5 years I've changed my planning strategy because we always have less money instead of more.

I got additional good news today from our district personnel office. I will be getting a 1/2 time assistant after all. Budget cuts might strike this position in the future but that will not happen this year. Whew! Small steps to success!

More from Lisa:
I just had to share my good news!! I was notified on Friday that we are recipients of the Dollar General Youth Literacy Grant. We get $1000 for books that are to serve our "Building Better Readers" program. That's my name for the idea of getting interesting, quality, short chapter books in my library to feed my kids' need to read. So excited!!

This is probably something that most of us do, but... I don't buy a lot of periodicals anymore. I buy some that I hope will entice readers (Sports Illustrated and the ilk). I encourage students and teachers to use our databases for those periodicals that may be more research and current event (such as Newsweek).

Pauline Herr, SLMS & SLMS Coordinator
LaGrange Middle School
110 Stringham Road
LaGrangeville, NY 12540

ALA’s book donation factsheet.: http://www.ala.org/ala/professionalresources/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet12.cfm

From Facebook:

John Sandstrom Never be afraid to ask questions of vendors. Ask if they are giving you the best discount, the most service, the greatest help available. The worst that can happen is they say no. John Sandstrom, El Paso Public LIbrary (ok, I'm not a school librarian, but this is good advice for all of us.)
Nancy Everhart Prepare a budget in the first place! If you just sit back and wait to be handed funds, you'll miss out.

Linda Waldbillig Fox Take advantage of consortia. If you don't have a School Library System or regional consortium - start one! There is strength in numbers!
Karen Kliegman Take advantage of free web 2.0 tools to take the place of expensive word processing, presentation, and mindmapping software. (Karen Kliegman, Searingtown School, Albertson, NY)
Yesterday at 11:15am ·
Kelly Wilson ‎"Shop" the vendors at conferences. You can often bring back enough freebies to offset the cost of the conference.
Yesterday at 12:05pm ·
Rita Foran Post your needs on sites like Donorschoose.org or Digital Wish. You may not get everything you request, but every little bit helps.
Rita Foran - Susquehanna Valley Middle School
Yesterday at 12:26pm ·
Mindy Miner Holland I convinced our principal to give the library half of the money which used to go into classroom libraries. I used the money to set up an organized, catalogued book room. The books are now part of the library and available to all. It was a lot of money! - Pinewood Elementary School Rotterdam NY
23 hours ago ·
Stephanie Rosalia
The small one: I use Super Sticky large post-it notes for date-due slips because the printed ones from supply vendors are too costly;

The big one: Because I usually write the grant narratives for most of the grants going out in our school
(and even if I don't write it), I ask that a small percentage of any grant obtained be given to the library to purchase materials to support whatever program is funded. So if you write an arts grant, you get money for arts materials to support the program; ESL grants get money for materials to support that, etc. A great way to fund programs.

22 hours ago ·

Sue Kowalski Often I do an "all call" of sorts for collections of books that might be "in" for a while. For example when nicholas sparks becomes hot due to a movie release I ask for donations of those books and load the shelves. I often encourage kids and parents to donate new books as well. Sue kowalski. East syr ny
Carole Kupelian
One of the things I always tell newer SLMS is to always have orders ready to go. You never know when money will be found, especially at the end of the fiscal year. One yearI had funds that had been encumbered for special ed that I was able
to use because I had a PO ready to hand in.