When I started advising a billion and a half years ago, I had one camera: a Sony Mavica. It wasn’t hard to manage–it resided in my bottom desk drawer, and I had one floppy disk that stayed in it unless I was transferring the files to my computer.
Times have changed, and EVERY year, equipment management has become harder. I need to keep track of who has each piece of equipment, and I need to make sure the equipment secure yet accessible to my editors because–face it–none of us can be available all day, every day. And the day that I’m out at a conference is most likely the day with the biggest news opportunity of the year, right?
I’ve tried a variety of equipment management options, from a piece of paper to keep track of dates and names to a barcode scanning system that integrated with our school library’s database.
The thing is that technology fails. Ultimately, if all the equipment is behind a locked door that only I have the key for, that equipment is useless because no one can get to it.
We have evolved. This year, we’re working with an old set of lockers we’ve been storing odds and ends in over the last several years. Here’s what I used:
- combination luggage locks
- vinyl numbers
- library book pockets and cards
Each locker is numbered. That number corresponds with the number on the camera and camera bag. Inside the door to each locker is a library card pocket with a library card.
When a student needs a camera, our editors know the combination to the locks. Each combination is the same, so they don’t need to memorize a lot of combinations.
The editors access the cameras, check them over and have the staffer sign and date the library card. When the camera returns, the editors cross off the name on the library card and return the camera to the correct locker and lock it back up.
We use library cards for tripods and SD cards, as well.
Easy peasy. I love that it puts the onus and freedom on the editors, and I can keep teaching instead of playing equipment guard. Plus, it’s uncomplicated and doesn’t rely on technology that doesn’t always work.
Do you have any equipment management tips? Leave a comment below–we’d love to hear what you do!