Frequently asked questions about the South Mountain Elementary School library and its programs

When does my child have library?
Each class has a scheduled day for library instruction. All Annex kindergartners and first graders have library on Wednesday mornings. Your child’s classroom teacher will remind students the day before they have library, so your child will remember to bring his/her books back.
How many books can my child borrow?
This varies for each grade level. Kindergartners begin with one book at a time. Grades 1-5 may have two books at a time. Exceptions may be made in the event of a class project or report. Students participating in our TV TurnOff Challenge may borrow an additional book.
For how long do books circulate?
Items circulate for 2 weeks. Items can be renewed for another 2 weeks if brought to the library in person. The due date is recorded in the computer.
What items are available for my child to borrow?
Kindergarten students are limited to books only. Students in grades 2 and up may borrow magazines, one at a time. First graders begin the school year borrowing books only, but after a lesson on magazine care, etc, may borrow magazines in the spring. Audio books are available to students in grades 2-5, however, most of the audiobook collection consists of titles more appropriate for grades 4-5. Other items may be borrowed with librarian permission and with parent request or approval.
Can my child extend the amount of time he/she has to read the book?
In most cases, yes. Your child needs to present the book to librarian and ask to renew the book. As long as no one is waiting for the book, your child can renew it for an additional two weeks.
My child has finished his/her book and wants to return it, but library day is several days away. Now what?
At South Mountain, students can exchange books during the daily “open book exchange time”, or during their regular weekly library period. Annex students may exchange their books on their assigned library day or on Tuesday or Thursday mornings, when Mrs. Mitchell is present. Classroom teachers are aware of the times when they can send students to the library to exchange books.
My child cannot find the book he/she borrowed. What do I do?
If the book is not yet due (you haven’t received an overdue notice for it yet), keep looking for it until it is due. If you have already received a notice for it, the book is overdue. Please let the librarian know if you think you may have returned the book already. Children often forget they’ve already returned a book, and we’d be glad to check the computer. We do not charge late fines. Overdue notices are printed weekly and sent to the homeroom teachers for distribution. Overdue notices will be sent home in your child’s backpack. Students with unresolved library obligations will have their report cards withheld.

If you are a frequent visitor to one of the local public libraries, you may have accidentally returned a school library book to them ( and vice versa). Make note of the title and call number of the "missing" book, and check the library shelves, or ask a staff member. Several times a year, they send a package of school library books back to each school; books that have been returned to or found in the library collection. If a public library book is returned to the school, we generally try to track down the child first and send it home with the child, rather than returning it to SOPL/MML ourselves.
My child was not careful with his/her book and the dog chewed it ( or my child spilled juice on it, or it was left in the rain, or a younger child drew on it, etc.).
Please send the damaged material in with a brief note explaining what happened. We will let you know whether or not the book is repairable. If the damage can be fixed (pencil marks, etc), you may be charged a modest fee. If the item is not repairable to the point of being worthy of circulating, you will be charged the full replacement cost of the book. Please do not attempt repairs at home.
My child knows he/she has lost a book. What is the next step?
Once a book is 30 calendar days late , the computer assumes the book is lost and generate a bill for replacement charges. At any point up until you receive this bill you may pay for the lost item if you would like your child to continue borrowing books. Once a bill is printed (the bills are mailed home), payment should be sent in immediately, so your child may continue borrowing. Payment may be made by cash or money order only. Money Orders should be made payable to the South Orange/Maplewood Board of Education. Report cards may be withheld if overdue items are not returned or paid for. If the item is found before the end of the school year, a refund will be issued.
Can I see my child's library record?**
Both students and their families can have remote access to the student's library record. This access can be used to see what your child has checked out, overdue, or to reserve or request books. Once at the main OPAC screen (for the individual school), click on "LogIn" in the upper right corner. The user ID ( aka login name, username) is the 5 digit student number. The child's student number is also their lunch ID number as well as their library card number. The password is " Student1".