School Accounts

Librarians Rule, Okay?

Your school library is one of the most diversely represented elements of the education system? What do I mean by that? The size and importance of a schools library is not necessarily related to the size of the school, nor the demographics of the population, budget or location. We see this at our end when processing stats for the library at year end. The dreaded Library Stocktake.

I guess some librarians would be flattered that Accounts people take such an interest at least once a year. But the more likely reality is they are just irritated. Apologies.

Any hoo!

I’m writing this article for two purposes:
1. I found a great resource that either the School Executive Officer or the Head Librarian may be interested in.
2. We would like to address some potential areas of conflict when it comes to annual reporting of library figures.

Here’s the mystery for us Accounting types: even when a school has a perfectly good and perhaps expensive piece of library software that just churns out the numbers for the year end stocktake, somehow the starting figure has managed to change between years. We can end up with some interesting ‘write-offs’ of books in order to account for this difference. Sometime between finalising the previous years end balance, and starting the new year, the figures have changed.

Did students start the new year by returning a whole lot of books that had been accounted for as ‘lost’?
Was the same report used in both years or perhaps different parameters get ‘ticked’ each time?

A critical issue is what date at which the previous years library stocktake is closed and what date the new year is officially rolled over into. It needs to be a golden rule that the library system cannot be used in between times.

You can Balance!
So suggestion one is to take a good look at how your system is run, how it is rolled over from one year to the next, and making sure the year is indeed complete before running the year end stocktake for the bean counters. Here’s how you can tell things are not working: if your new year opening balance is different to the prior year’s closing balance!

For a handy stocktaking guide provided by the National Library of NZ, click here.

You can be Memorable!
Suggestion two is that a library is not just about numbers of books. If you don’t already have an annual library report as part of your reporting package, take a look at this amazing suggestion from the National Library of NZ specifically for the school library: click here for writing your Annual Report.

This is a way you can promote and educate the school management and community about the value of the library in the school. They outline all the pro’s in the article so do read it before you throw up your hands in a ‘don’t I have enough to do already’ sort of way! They even have some worked examples and templates. Some of you may be streets ahead and already weaving this kind of magic – congrats!

We here at School Accounts are vitally interested in your little (or big) school library. We’re happy to help staff figure out their stocktake dramas. We can give you a little template that may help make sense of the numbers the auditors and MOE require.

Do take heart and have a go at promoting your piece of paradise this year.