Contactless Book Checkout Planning

Over the past few months we have all gotten used to contactless delivery and pickup at stores and restaurants. As we start the school year, planning for contactless delivery of library materials has been much the same. Our spaces are all designed to draw in students for checkout, much like stores and restaurants. This school year we have to switch gears and plan for studentless spaces and changes in procedures. 

Circulation Planning

Creating our circulation plan was step one. Luckily we already had a book drop box from the hallway into the library. This is where we plan to collect the books returned so students do not need to enter the library. Following guidelines on how long materials should sit before returning to circulation was imperative in planning. Following the four days of wait time guideline, we will place books in coordinating days of the week bins, depending on when they are returned to the library. This way we can ensure that they have sat for the correct amount of days before returning to circulation.  

Checkout Procedures

Due to the increased need for classroom spaces throughout the building, our library will be closed to students for browsing and checkout. Our book checkout plan will be to have students put books on hold, then we will deliver them to the students directly. The personal book shopping program that I offer for students will be available as well.  Students can still fill out the Google Form, but instead of them coming to the library to pick up their choices, I will be delivering the books to them. 

Contactless Pick-Up for Remote Learners

My district is currently allowing students to choose if they would like to be remote this upcoming semester. My worry was that these remote learners would be missing out on the option to receive print materials like the other students. In response to giving access to all students I’m adding a remote learner contactless pick-up option to our library. Remote students will be able to fill out a form on our school website indicating the books they would like. I will then check the books out to the student and bring them to our front office holding area for pick up. Depending on the amount of interest I was also considering having students call on their way to pick up materials and then meet them outside at the front of the school when they drive up.  

For years we have talked about ways to get students into our spaces, remodeling and rebranding our libraries to invite students in. Now that we are in a different world with no end in sight, our goals once again have changed. Providing students with quality resources and materials has always been at the forefront of our jobs. As we all explore contactless options for this school year our commitment to students and literacy remain the same. 


Author: Elizabeth Libberton

Elizabeth Libberton is the library media specialist at St. Charles East High School in St. Charles Illinois. She currently writes book reviews for School Library Journal. She is a member of the ALA Awards Selection Committee. Also, she is a member of the steering committee for the AISLE Lincoln Book Award.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration

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2 replies

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about how to go contactless while still getting books into students’ hands.

    One thing I have trouble wrapping my mind around: how to hand off books to students in order to make delivery as contactless as possible. Are you considering wearing gloves when picking and delivering? And/or any plans to encourage students to put books aside for 4 days after they receive them? Just wondering what your thoughts are for that stage of this process.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing!

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