Monday Mailbag – Creating a Lending Library for Music Books

I have a pretty decent library of music and I like to loan it out to my students.  Honestly though, I do a terrible job of keeping track of who has what.  I cannot seem to wrap my mind around how to create a working lending library.  What you do?

This seemed like a great topic to discuss as we approach a new year of teaching! Over the years, my lending library has more closely resembled a free music store for students. 🙂 I’ve known teachers who used elaborate systems akin to a card catalog, but I never took the time to set up anything like that. Like you, I just couldn’t figure out what the best approach would be. Until I met Music Teacher’s Helper (MTH)! Anyone who has been reading here any length of time knows how much I love MTH. I seriously could not imagine running my studio without it!

Anyway…they have a great built-in Lending Library feature where you can maintain a database of materials and make it available to students. You can either input items ahead of time to create the database, or you can create the database as you go – whenever a student wants to borrow an item. It’s very intuitive. Just select the Lending Library menu option and click the button to “Lend an Item.” Then you can create the item and select one of your students as the borrower. For each item, you can include the Title, Author/Composer/Artist, Type (you can add new types), Quantity in Stock, Total Quantity, Serial Number/ISBN, and Notes.

Honestly, this is not something I’ve used extensively yet, but it’s one of my goals for the upcoming year. It would be so easy to take a minute when a student wants to borrow something to add it to the library and then click to loan it out to them. You can also set a due date. When a student logs into his/her account, they will see a list of all the Lending Library items they have borrowed. And you can see at a glance who is borrowing which books. This is a much more efficient and professional way of tracking Lending Library items, so I’m really eager to get it running this year!

For those who use MTH, have you utilized the Lending Library feature? How has it worked for you? For those who don’t use MTH, do you have any other suggestions of how to operate a Lending Library?

Remember, if you have a question you’d like to contribute to next week’s Monday Mailbag, leave it in the comments below or send me an e-mail sometime this week with Monday Mailbag in the subject line!

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