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South Dakota State Library Services

A list of services provided by the South Dakota State Library.

School Library Resources

The School Library Services page of the SD State Library website has a variety of guides specifically for school librarians!

And, check out this digital document to learn everything you need to know about SDSL's School Library Services.

Screenshot of School Library Services Digital Document

Greetings, new librarian!    

For your convenience, you have access to an SDSL School Library Services Folder that is your complete guide to the school library services provided by the SD State Library.  This guide is digital and dynamic, which means that it will be updated as necessary.  

 This guide has information about:

  • The SD School Library Listserv 

  • SDSL’s rich collection of FREE databases

  • Who to contact at SDSL for all your library needs

  • Links to school library resources provided by SDSL

  • Professional development information

  • Information about the SD School Library Standards

  • Interlibrary Loan information

  • And more!

 Please bookmark the link and check back whenever you need easy access to information and services provided by the SD State Library’s School Library department.

Another great starting point for school library information and resources is the SDSL School Libraries page on the SDSL website.

 And finally, please complete this short survey to tell me a little more about yourself and your needs in your library.


ALL 50+ databases and digital resources offered by the SD State Library are FREE and accessible 24/7 to all South Dakotans.

Three Ways to Access
  • Instant, click-and-go access through GeoIP if physically within the state’s geographical borders. No login needed.
  • Instant, click-and-go access through IP authentication if within the school. No login needed.
  • Through your school’s SDSL ecard. This barcode and password SHOULD NOT be posted anywhere online but can be given out to students and families. Great for traveling out of state.
Student Research Lists

Use our age-appropriate Student Research Lists when linking on your library or school websites, blogs, digital newsletters, etc. These lists are curated just for these age groups and they provide quicker and more customized access for students. You can also add the direct URL links for these 3 lists by copying and pasting them from below.


Copy and paste these direct URL links into your school library's website/blog/newsletter/etc.
Elementary School:
Middle School:
High School:
All Databases:




Matching a reader with the perfect book (reader advisory) helps foster a love for reading and helps build great readers.  There are many ways - both passive and active - to guide your young readers to the books they will love!

  • Be visible, approachable, and ready to answer questions.
  • Ask questions about your readers' interests.
  • Create themed book displays with pictures on the display signs.
  • Display books with the covers facing the readers.
  • Create bookmarks with ideas for what they could read next and have plenty to give out.
  • Write notes on books about why readers should check them out.
  • Create bulletin boards with book reviews and let the readers get involved with contributing reviews.
  • Post engaging signage for all of your genre locations.
  • Book talk with your readers.
  • Use social media to promote the books in your library. TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. are all possible platforms to engage your readers.
  • Create book lists. Some possible examples would include: "If you like that, try this...", "Books that will make you laugh," "These will keep you guessing until the end," etc.
  • Try a program such as Your Next 5 Books.
  • Allow readers to get involved by placing a star sticker on the spines of books that they would recommend to their peers.

This is just a short list of ideas, but the key is to remember that a successful readers' advisory service "is one in which knowledgeable, nonjudgmental staff help readers with their reading needs." (Saricks and Brown 1997)

Here are some other resources that may be helpful as you consider your reader advisory service:

  • Readers' Advisory in the Public Library (third edition 2005) by Joyce Saricks
  • Genreflecting (sixth edition 2004) by Diana Tixier Herald
  • SDSL's database Books and Authors for book descriptions and read-alikes.

And remember to read, read, read, and read some more! Read in your interest area, but more importantly, read in all the areas of interest to your students. Your personal knowledge of books and authors cannot be matched!


Book talking is an important part of reader advisory.  Check out this presentation that was created for ExCITE! 2021 by T.F. Riggs High School Librarian, Pamela Kringel.

You can also access the slides HERE.


Increase your offerings to your students, staff, and parents by creating virtual displays that can be accessed anywhere! 

TIE 2021 Poster Session Presentation:

Virtual Display Examples:


If you create rotating monthly displays in your school library, consider some of these ideas:

Stay tuned for display ideas for September-December!



Working guides for educators, librarians, school counselors, and other support staff as they seek to develop their literary collections. 
(More coming soon!)






Collaboration Checklist for SCHOOL Librarians


School librarians, do you…

  • know the contact info of the library director & children’s services staff in your public library?

  • make efforts to inform the public library about the school curriculum & assignments?

  • make efforts to inform students & teachers about programs & activities of the public library?

  • request information from the public library about programs & activities?

  • request information from classroom teachers to be shared with the public librarians?

  • devise surveys to keep yourself & public library staff abreast of school topics?

  • ask to be included on the distribution list of newsletters & other public library publications?

  • request reference copies of textbooks be placed in the public library for homework support?

  • share professional development opportunities?

  • include public library issues & developments in your professional reading?

  • subscribe to the SDSL public libraries listserv & Cornerstone newsletter?

  • make teachers & students aware of public library resources available to them?

  • link to the public library website/virtual library from your website?

  • share the SDSL School Libraries page with the public librarian?

  • share the SDSL databases for K-12/school page with the public librarian?



School librarians, do you…

  • make efforts to work with public library staff to assist students?

  • offer to help set up curriculum-related collections in the public library?

  • inform teachers about student needs that can or can’t be met by the public library?

  • explore the possibility of resource sharing to meet student needs?

  • invite public library personnel to tour the school library & meet school staff?

  • work with the public library to establish a homework help program?

  • publicize your public library’s free Wi-Fi for students who don’t have it at home?

  • publicize digital books to students & staff?

  • establish an efficient materials delivery system between schools & the public library?

  • invite public library youth services staff to participate in school planning sessions?

  • offer to advertise public library programs & services to parents, teachers, & students?

  • ask public librarians about your students’ abilities to use the library?

  • cooperatively plan with public librarians to meet student needs?

  • work with the public library on programs & events like Prairie & YARP awards, Read for the Record, summer reading?

  • establish shared access to school & public library catalogs?

  • use social media to share public library events (like, share, tag)?


Collaboration Checklist for PUBLIC Librarians


Public librarians, do you…

  • know the names, phone numbers & email addresses of school library staff & principals?

  • request information from school librarians & teachers about special assignments/projects?

  • devise a teacher questionnaire/survey to keep abreast of topics, units & assignments?

  • ask to be included on the distribution lists for curriculum bulletins & newsletters?

  • request reference copies of textbooks for the library?

  • send lists of new library materials to school librarians?

  • make efforts to inform school staff about how the public library can assist them & students?

  • inform school staff on what student information needs could be met in the public library?

  • contact specialist teachers (art, music, PE, etc.) to inform them of public library resources?

  • share professional development opportunities?

  • include school library issues & developments in your professional reading?

  • subscribe to the SDSL school library listserv & Collect+Connect blog?

  • link to the school library website/virtual library from your website?

  • bookmark the SDSL School Libraries webpage?

  • highlight the SDSL databases for K-12/school page in your library & on your website?



Public librarians, do you…

  • offer to set up curriculum related collections in the public library?

  • offer loans of materials to the school library or to classrooms?

  • invite school staff to tour the public library & visit public library staff?

  • work with the schools to establish a homework help program?

  • establish an efficient materials delivery system between schools & the public library?

  • invite teachers to participate in planning for youth services in the public library?

  • request speaking invitations or prepared materials to be distributed at meetings?

  • work with schools to register students for public library cards?

  • work with schools to promote the library’s summer reading program to students?

  • work with school librarians on programs & events like Prairie & YARP awards, Read for the Record, orientation,

            end-of-year celebrations, Banned Books week, DEAR, School Library Month

  • purchase computer hardware that is compatible with that in schools?

  • establish shared access to school & public library catalogs?

  • have open hours that allow students to use the public library after school & on weekends?

  • make available in print the school eCard credentials for students & parents?

  • use social media to share school library events (like, share, tag)?

Watch this presentation originally recorded for ExCITE! 2022 for information on genrefication. 

Genrefying Your Library:  A Case for Ditching Dewey...Or Not

Presentation Slides


Collection maintenance and weeding are important components of a school library’s collection management system. The collection should be reviewed on a consistent basis for accuracy, currency, usage, range, and subject area gaps. Collection maintenance involves care of materials, accurate and efficient shelving, cleaning, checking digital materials for broken links and sufficient coverage and usage, and evaluating all resources for accuracy, currency, and relevancy.

Weeding (or the deselection of material) is an important part of the collection maintenance process. In addition to evaluating materials for accuracy, currency, and relevancy, the following should also be considered: space limitations, edition, format, physical condition, and the number of copies available.


School libraries should have policies to guide material selection, collection maintenance, and weeding. This ensures an efficient and procedural way to manage the collection and also ensures that students and staff have the most accurate, current, and relevant resources available to them. The policies should include guidance on the repair, replacement, and removal of materials, including who is responsible for maintenance, inventory, and weeding and the correct procedure for removal.

Example from the American Library Association:
Annually, the school librarian will conduct an inventory of the school library collection and equipment. The inventory can be used to determine losses and remove damaged or worn materials which can then be considered for replacement. The inventory can also be used to deselect and remove materials that are no longer relevant to the curriculum or of interest to students. Additionally, school librarians should develop a collection maintenance plan that includes systematic inspection of materials that would result in weeding outdated, damaged, or irrelevant materials from the collection.



An ongoing process that often occurs as materials are checked-in or checked-out.


A planned process that is not superseded by informal weeding. A rotation schedule can be established allowing for systematic weeding over time.



  • Classics, award winners ƒ

  • Local History ƒ

  • Annuals & School Publications ƒ

  • Titles on current reading lists ƒ

  • Out of print titles that are still useful ƒ

  • Biographical Sources



  1. Identify Stakeholders: Remember you serve two patrons - teachers and students.

  2. Shelf Read: Walk through and double check that shelves are in order and that there are no missing or lost books.

  3. Pull Damaged Items: 1st books to go are books that are visibly damaged or have been repaired numerous times.

  4. Create Weeding Schedule: Schedule time for weeding around projects and programs. Don’t weed the animal section when students are working on an Endangered Species project.



  1. Design a plan that includes a schedule and a goal for the weeding process. ƒ

  2. Schedule weeding during an uninterrupted time. ƒ

  3. Have post-its, carts and boxes available. ƒ

  4. Look at each book and apply your criteria. ƒ

  5. If pulling the book, note the reason and place on a cart for mending or in a box for disposal.

  6. Remove records from circulation system.



C = Continuous

R = Review

E = Evaluation

W = Weeding



M = Misleading (factually inaccurate)

U = Ugly (beyond fixing)

S = Superseded (newer edition)

T = Trivial (no merit)

I = Irrelevant (not needed by the school library)

E = Elsewhere (material is easily obtainable online or from other libraries)


WEEDING CHECKLIST(if the book fits more than one criteria, consider weeding it)

  • Outdated Information
  • Multiple Copies
  • Older Copies
  • Visibly Damaged
  • Lack of Circulation
  • Oversaturation of the Topic
  • Biased or Portray Stereotypes
  • Inappropriate Reading Level
  • Does Not Support Current Curriculum
  • Outdated or Unattractive Format/Design/Graphics


WEEDING OTHER COLLECTIONS (track teacher/student usage)

  • Magazine and Newspapers: General interest magazines are rarely used three years after publication date. Is it worth storing them? Do you have the space?

  • CDs/DVDs: The condition of the CD or DVD will help weed the collection quickly. If the disc skips, then weed it.

  • Ebooks: Use the basic principles of the print collection weeding criteria when weeding the Ebooks. If they are not being checked out, then do not renew for the following year.

  • Databases (purchased by the school/library): Even though databases are not taking up physical space, they still need to be evaluated. If they are not being used, then do not renew for the following year.



Professional time for school librarians and staff looks different than for the classroom teacher.  In addition to day-to-day library tasks such as circulation, teaching classes, etc., here are some other ways the professional school librarian spends his/her time:

Supporting Staff

  • Offer “office hours” for teachers and offer HELP hours, teach the teacher mini-lessons, or highlight resources.
  • Support curriculum by curating resource lists especially for teachers.
  • Support teachers by creating print or video instructions for accessing SDSL or district-owned databases.
  • Visit teachers to offer your support or help them troubleshoot.
  • Visit with students and/or parents who are struggling with technology and resource access from home.
  • Create quick go-to video tutorials for teachers to share with students and parents.
  • Help teachers create choice boards for their students.  These tools allow for flexibility and ownership.
  • Assist with teacher and student technology needs.
  • Create read alouds for library use and classroom use.
  • Create book talks to be shared via the library or via the classroom.
  • Create a SHORT one or two question survey about how you can support teachers. Let them tell you what they need.

Library Technology & Administration

  • Update and enrich your virtual library (webpage, blog, social media, etc.).
  • Set up and promote a Live Chat service on your library website.
  • Create and share video tutorials on your virtual library. 
  • Develop a template for your school library newsletter that you can reuse each month.
  • Make a plan for your library's social media use.
  • Learn a new technology to use in the library next year. 


  • Study the SD School Library Standards.
  • Update library lessons to reflect new standards.
  • Update your Scope and Sequence.
  • Take a hard look at your yearly calendar. What can be revised? What's necessary? What's fluff? What's fluff but too awesome to not do.
  • Needle your way into classroom teachers' lessons to incorporate library standards.
  • Offer online book clubs or just reading meetups.


  • Work on district-level library planning.
  • Catch up with fellow librarians virtually or in person.
  • Advocate for budgets with an increased demand for books, ebooks, and audio books.
  • Study or refresh on library policies.

Collection Development

  • Expand your book collection.
  • Start or expand your digital book collection.
  • Clean up records in your library catalog.
  • Create reading lists.
  • Develop book orders.
  • Run circulation reports. Study trends. Make future plans.
  • Run collection reports. Audit collections.
  • Weed the collection if available to you.
  • Take requests from teachers and order those materials to support their curriculum.


  • Plan for summer reading programming on your own or in conjunction with your public library.
  • Stock little free libraries in local neighborhoods.


Questions & Resources  

The South Dakota State Library, a division of the SD Department of Education, supports local librarians and libraries by encouraging excellence in services, providing collections to expand local reach, serving special populations, and offering quality research and interlibrary loan services to libraries and state agencies.  This guide is intended to be a helpful resource as school districts hire quality library staff - a vital component of any strong school library program.  In addition to containing useful information and resources, this document contains a variety of questions and scenarios that may be helpful during the interview process

General Questions

  • Describe an ideal day in the school library.

  • What is it about you that makes you stand out?  What will we remember about you?

  • What experiences qualify you for the school librarian position?

  • What strategies do you use to organize the multi-faceted role of teacher-librarian?


THE PROGRAM: Learning & Teaching


  • Explain how the school library can have a positive impact on student achievement.

  • What resources do you recommend to support libraries and student achievement?

  • How can the library best support digital learning and at-home learning?


  • What might we see in the library program should you get this position?

  • Scenario: It’s almost School Library Month. What would you do to promote this celebration?

  • Scenario: It’s almost the end of the school year. How do you promote summer reading to help prevent ‘the summer slide”?


  • Makerspaces are popular. Some see Makerspaces as a natural fit for school libraries while others see them as a threat to the school library program. What is your opinion?

  • We have a Makerspace currently, how would you go about continuing it and balancing it with other aspects of the library?


  • How would you promote recreational reading?

  • How would you promote inclusivity through reading?

  • What are your thoughts on systematic reading programs such as Accelerated Reader or Reading Counts?

Collection Development

  • How will you determine and support the collection needs of students and staff?

  • What are your thoughts on print vs. digital books?

  • What types of resources might you focus on to support special populations or subgroups?

  • Scenario: The library collection is outdated and does not adequately support its patrons. Outline your strategy to begin the process of weeding (deselection of current collection).


THE PLACE: Learning Environment

Physical Library Spaces

  •  What changes might we see in the library space should this position be yours?

  • Describe a day in the school library for students. What does it look like, feel like, sound like?

  • What are your ideas to support inclusive practices in the library?

Digital Library Spaces

  • Describe your technology skills as they relate to digital content management.

  • Explain your experience using technology to support a 24/7 library environment.

  • How can you extend the physical library space into a digital space?


THE PROFESSIONAL: Leadership for Learning


  • How do you create and maintain parental involvement in the library?

  •  What are some ways you can communicate with students, students, and parents/guardians?

  • How would you handle a resource challenge (a request to remove an item from the library)?


  • Discuss the roles of the librarian (as Librarian, Information Specialist, Teacher, Instructional Coach, Technology Coach) that are integral to the vision of a modern library program.

  • What standards and guidelines inform your practice for your role as a school librarian?

  • How do you envision being a leader in this school and district?

  • Describe a typical day in the library for you as the librarian.

  • Scenario: The library has been closed for a few years and patrons are not familiar with using the library. Outline your strategy for reintroducing the library to both students and staff.


  • Explain your student/behavior management style.

  • Scenario: The library is open during lunch periods and a table full of students in the library is being disruptive. Detail the steps you would take in dealing with this situation.

Teaching and Learning

  • Describe the role of the librarian in teaching digital citizenship.

  • How will you make an impact on teaching and learning in our school?

  • Who is responsible for learning? Why?

  • Research skills are important, how do you create a strong research program?

  • Co-teaching is essential for this position. What ways do you envision collaborating with staff?

    • Explain a time when a lesson didn't go well. What did you learn?

    • How do you stay current with best practices in pedagogy?


  • Describe your technology skills as they relate to teaching and programming.

  • How do you stay current with new educational technologies?

  • Describe how you have used technology to tap into outside expertise.





The term librarian applies to all types of librarians (public, school, academic, research, cataloging, etc.) who hold a degree in the library media or library science.

The term teacher-librarian applies to a certified educator who is also endorsed in library media. Other terms might include library media specialist and school librarian.

Para-professionals who work in a library and do not hold a degree or certification in the library field may be referred to as para-librarians, library aides, library clerks, library associates, or library technicians. Often, the term librarian is mistakenly applied to anyone who works in a library; instead, the term should be applied to those with applicable education.



South Dakota does not have a requirement for staffing school libraries. Consequently, there is quite a bit of staffing diversity in school libraries across the state. Large and mid-size districts routinely staff their libraries with teacher-librarians or teachers who are seeking library media endorsement. Some large districts only staff with certified personnel while smaller districts staff with part-time teacher-librarians, classroom teachers who also work part-time in the library, or full- or part-time para-professionals. Visit the SD State Library LibGuides for specifics about library media endorsement



The SD State Library offers a variety of professional development opportunities for librarians and other types of educators. Visit the SD State Library LibGuides for specifics about library media endorsement.


For questions, contact the School Library Coordinator. (605)773-3131 | 


In today's rapidly evolving educational landscape, navigating the intricate world of copyright has become an essential skill for librarians and all other educators alike. As school librarians, you possess a unique opportunity to champion copyright awareness and compliance within your school community. By becoming copyright leaders, you not only ensure the ethical use of intellectual property but also foster an environment of respect for creativity and innovation.

Check out this School Librarian Copyright Guide that is designed to equip you with strategies that will empower you to take the lead in promoting copyright education among teachers, setting a precedent for responsible content use, and fostering a culture of integrity within your schools and districts.



The School Library Scoop with Scottie is a platform for short video tutorials (less than five minutes) on school library services, technology tips and trends, SDSL resources, and so much more!

The School Library Scoop is featured in the School Library Monthly Update newsletter.  The full playlist is also available on YouTube.

If you have suggestions or requests for future topics, please submit here.