In a Library serving over 300 students with a Teacher Librarian and no additional support staff for administrative services such as shelving, accessioning, book covering, and so on, streamlining the acquisition process is vital. The process that I currently follow is:
This process does rely on the Principal and Librarian being mutually respectful of the early decision-making about the approved Library Budget. It also places the onus on the Librarian in making certain that a running budget is maintained each month to track costs and mark off identified purchases, as recommended by ALIA Schools and Victoria Catholic Teacher Librarian’s “A Manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resources centres (2007).
Rather than seeking approval for expenditure with each and every purchase, this process makes reference to the approved budget which simply requires the Principal’s initial for a Purchase Order to be initialised or a payment to be made. It is not perfect, but it works at the moment.
ALIA Schools and Victoria Catholic Teacher Librarian. (2007). A Manual for developing policies and procedures in Australian school library resources centres. Accessed at http://www.alia.org.au/sites/default/files/documents/events/policies.procedures.pdf
Addendum: Of course, this process is relevant for physical resources that follow the same path to our shelves. Digital resources require a different procedure for acquisition, sometimes even specific to the exact format or type. For example, ebooks or audio books purchase as part of the Volume Purchasing agreement for Educational Institutions is quite different to that used for purchasing ebooks via another online supplier or for Teacher Resources.