Novice Needing Help with the Set Up of New Library

I have been asked to set up a library for my church's new school. So far I have collected books and inventoried them (made an excel spreadsheet with Inventory #, Title, Author, Publisher, ISBN, and appropriate grade level ~ either by guess or info found online or in the books, themselves).

As of right now, the school is small with less than 30 students, K-12, and we have a little over 500 books.  My questions would be:

1. Should I go with a particular system? Dewey Decimal? Library of Congress? Another system such as by topic? I don't even know where to begin. 

2. Once a system is decided upon, is there a reasonably-priced software that can be purchased that would hopefully work with my spreadsheet to integrate? 

Right now, the books are just placed, as best we could, by age-range and each teacher has a check-out sheet to keep track of books. I'd really like to put together a nice, smooth-flowing system for them but I'm a novice and the funding isn't all that great at this point. Now would be the perfect time to get this organized while the books/students are fewer. I would appreciate any help.  

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  • Wow, that's a task!  I have been "librarian" at the high school level for 6 years now.  I came in with no library experience and taught myself so I'll help you the best I can. :)

    1. You probably want to use the same classification system throughout your library and I feel, at the high school level especially, Dewey Decimal is important.  Although most colleges use Library of Congress, I've not heard of a K-12 using it.  Some school libraries, mostly elementary, have done away with Dewey and instead group by topic.  It has its merits at that level because if a young student wants to read about dogs, all the nonfiction and fiction about that topic are in the same place.  But by the time they are in high school, they need to learn Dewey Decimal: just my opinion anyway!

    2. I use Destiny Quest (software through Follett).  While it may be possible to import the book on the spreadsheet, this isn't how you would want to do it.  When you catalog a book on this program (usually by simply scanning the ISBN), it pulls up the book's Marc records (with a few, rare exceptions).  This includes all kinds of subject tags so that the book will come up when that subject is searched.  Also, you get a short summary of the book and all kinds of publication information.  It also gives you the suggested Dewey Decimal number for nonfiction.  It is quite simple to use, not only for cataloging purposes but when searching for books, checking them out, keeping track of overdue books, etc.  You can even set up reports to automatically run, showing you who has overdue or lost books, how much they owe, etc.  All of our students have their own school Gmail account so I have emails sent to students automatically to let them know their books are due.  We pay an annual fee of $950.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how this compares with other systems.  Something to keep in mind, you can also purchase textbook software for just under $700 a year.  It is part of the same library program, almost like a second tab.  It would be possible for you to use your library software for textbooks, especially since you are such a small school.  You would just have to specify a custom due date when checking them out.  Also, Follett sells library books as well.  They are my main source because they have access to your library database and can let you know what books you already have so you don't accidentally get more of what you already have.  The company specifically caters to libraries; therefore, the books have library-quality bindings.  Note: some of their books, especially for younger grades, are "permabound," meaning the binding has a lifetime warranty.  You pay extra for these of course but it's worth it for certain well-used books.  Hope I've been helpful.  I'm happy to answer any more questions you may have as you get started on this endeavor!

    • Thanks very much for your kind reply and it's very useful for the librarian setting up brand new library but I would like to know if this company can support out side USA and if yes how to contact ty them for further enquiry 

      Your reply would be highly appreciated and thank you once again in advance 

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