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Alaska School Library Handbook: Home

Welcome to the New Alaska School Library Handbook!

Alaska has 53 public school districts with more than 500 schools. Around half of Alaskan schools have some kind of staffed library (sometimes staffed only a few hours a day). Regardless of the size of the school, running a school library is a big job. It is important to make every minute productive.


This online guide is meant to help library staff maximize their work by providing information and references to many "frequently asked questions." Most pages carry links to other relevant topics or to related websites. The topics are arranged both alphabetically and by general category. Topics are frequently in revision and updates be posted as they are completed. The Alaska State Library, with help from leading school librarians in Alaska, will work to keep these current.

You Can Help

You can help keep the handbook current by contacting the school library coordinator. Although you won't be able to edit sections directly, you can point out errors, outdated information, and offer suggestions for improvement as you read through the handbook. We would also like high resolution digital photographs of Alaska school libraries in action to pep up the look of the online handbook. Please send these to the School Library Coordinator at the Alaska State Library and include a photo credit and permissions.


This is an updated online version of three previous publications Handbook for Alaska K-12 School Libraries by Clara Sitter (1995), Handbook for Alaska K-12 School Libraries - 2000 revised by Lois Peterson, and the Alaska School Library Handbook Wiki, edited by Sue Sheriff. These are publications of the Alaska State Library, a division of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development.


Feel free to explore the whole online handbook and to print out pages that are of particular use to your or your school district. The contents of the manual may be reprinted in whole or in part, provided credit is given to the Alaska State Library. Reproduction of the online handbook in whole or in part for resale is not authorized.


Dr. Clara Sitter, who in 1995 was a library faculty member at the University of Alaska Consortium Library, created the first paper edition for the Alaska State Library. Della Matthis, the new School Library Coordinator for the State Library in 1995, was instrumental in completing the first edition. Lois Petersen, the next State Library School Library Coordinator, was responsible for the 2000 revised edition. Sue Sherif, who followed Lois Peterson in the coordinator position, launched the revisions and organized the transition to an online format. Jacque Peterson, revised and updated the Wiki version following it's creation. Jared Shucha migrated and updated the Wiki version to this current Lib Guides version. While all of these people have taken a major role in creating this work, they have all been assisted by a large number of members of the Alaska library community.

Here are the people whose contributions to the print or online version of the Alaska School Library Handbook made this gathering of information and collective wisdom possible:

Clara Sitter, Della Matthis, Lois Petersen, and Sue Sherif have been the main editors. Audrey Kolb created the Alaska State Library's Manual for Small Libraries for public libraries, which inspired the original print version of this work.

Those who wrote chapters, revised significant sections, or helped with the production are:

  • Freya Anderson
  • Mendi Antisdel
  • Jane Baird
  • JoAnn Berna
  • Chris Bristah
  • Daniel Cornwall
  • Staci Cox
  • Susan Elliott
  • Patience Frederiksen
  • Sue Hutchison
  • Roz Goodman
  • Beverly Griffin
  • Mary Jennings
  • Julia Lugo
  • Priscilla McAdara
  • Alan McCurry
  • Laurie Madsen
  • Linda Masterson
  • Pat Meek
  • Frank Pratt
  • Jacque Peterson
  • Lois Petersen
  • Judy Redmond
  • Wanda Seamster
  • Ruth Jean Shaw
  • Jared Shucha
  • George Smith
  • Tracy Swaim
  • Jenny Zimmerman

Brand Name Disclaimer

Occasionally, a brand name will be given after referring to a generic product. The brand names given are those commonly used and accepted by professionals in the field of librarianship and information technology. They are given to assist the novice information provider in obtaining materials which which they may not be familiar. Naming a particular product in this manual does not constitute an endorsement of a particular product.

Created 8/2008 by Sue Sherif.

Revised 5/2017 by Jared Shucha.