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Book-Borrowing Cards, Paint Stirrers, Binders… NOTHING WORKS!




Cleaned-Up Classroom Library

Originally uploaded by teachergal

Yesterday morning V came to me and asked, “Can I stay up at lunch with you to fix the classroom library?”
I paused. Was I really ready to give up my lunch time?
“Yes,” I responded. “That would be great.”
And it was…

Four other students came up at recess and lunchtime to help me re-organize the classroom library. However, as I was going through the books with the kids, I realized that a lot of books were missing. GRRRR!

I told my husband about this tonight and he asked, “What happened to the card system I worked on this summer?”
“Well, it works when the kids use the cards,” I replied. “However, they often forget to take the card from the back of the book and put it in the pocket on the wall.”
I saw from the look on his face (since he invested hours into this system) that he was about as pleased with the situation as I am.

I’ve tried many systems through the years, but the card-pocket system seems to be the worst. (This is the first year I’m using it.) So, I’m looking for a system that works better than the one I have now for next year since many of my books have gone missing and I’m not sure which kids have what. ANY IDEAS would be welcome and appreciated. If you have a great library system, then PLEASE post a comment. (Thanks!)

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Stacey Shubitz View All

Literacy Consultant. Author. Former 4th and 5th Grade Classroom Teacher.

11 thoughts on “Book-Borrowing Cards, Paint Stirrers, Binders… NOTHING WORKS! Leave a comment

  1. How about Automating the Library System…..have a fun raiser to raise the money and set up the new system :)….this will definatley improve your system and reduce stress

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  2. I second the giving up part!

    I have a clipboard at the back of the room with sign out sheet. The students are supposed to cross out when they return the book. I have student librarians that check the sheet about 2 times a month. But that is it. It got way too complicated when I went beyond that. I do also send out a friendly e-mail to parents with a list of titles to look for. I always got a better response when I listed specific titles. They had something specific to look for! Good luck!

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  3. I teach in a Title I school and many of my kids don’t have access to books at home. So, I put my organizational(controlling) nature aside and dumped my check out system. I’ve been much happier every since!

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  4. I have my books on index cards filed into an index filing system. They are filed alphabetically by author’s’ last name. Students must come to me to check out a book. I then have them sign and date the card and put that card into a separate filing system. I periodically check the box to see if there are books not returned. This year I only had 3 books not returned. The office holds our students’ report cards if they don’t return library books and stuff.

    I used to have my students check their own books out, but that’s when a lot of my books went missing. I have found that having the students come to me and check out a book is the best for me. Yes, It does get annoying having students come to you wanting to check out a book, but I look at it this way—they are reading!!! 🙂

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  5. Yeah…give up. If it went home, at least they have a book at home now. I have tried so many things!

    I buy lots of books at the used book store for under $2.00. I don’t care so much if I lose those. Teaching books are the only ones I tightly control. If one is missing for more than a day, I offer a lollipop to the kid who finds it. They always show up!

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  6. So, my system was a little less than precise. I had a class “librarian” who carried a clipboard with every student’s name on it, and a grid. During “shopping” time, that student merely recorded (with tallies) how many books each student took out. Then, on the next shopping day, she counted to see they returned the same #of books. (I couldn’t deal with pockets, etc.)

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  7. First and foremost: Lovely photo of your classroom! Wow!

    As far as a library check out system, I GAVE IT UP! Seriously. I tried everything and anything and then more to keep track of my 800+ YA novels, while encouraging my 73 students to “read like a wolf eats” by having constant access to books.

    Like the above advice, I wrote my name all over the books. Knowing you, I’m sure yours are well-labeled too. And then I constantly asked for books back.

    Mid-year, I would “close” the library for a couple days to inventory the books. I would do the same at the end of the year. Funny thing, I really didn’t lose too many books, just a handful, maybe 10 or 15. To me, it’s worth not having the headache of a formal library system & spending energy tracking down kids. Not only that, but the number of books I received via donations (pretty much from pushing book orders on kids — they would buy, read, & donate) always WAY OUTNUMBERED the books lost.

    One thing that drew the books back into the classroom was a basket of GOTTA READ THIS NOW books, where students could put the book (& a written, formal recommendation).

    I set my mind at ease by deciding that if I lost a book, it was because a student was wanting to read. This is a small price to pay for a paperback . . . even if I bought the book myself! 🙂

    Of course, I also had a bookshelf of the UNTOUCHABLES. These were primarly children’s books that were NOT ALLOWED to leave the classroom because I used them in my teaching. Typically, though, they were duplicates & the others were out & about in the classroom.

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  8. this is what works for me…i post library pockets with kids pictures and names on them on a poster board (prominent place)…the title above says WHO is reading WHAT and inside the pockets ALL students have a card that shows what they are reading from the classroom library…we trade out at the end of the day or beginning (if needed) …only 1 book from classroom library at a time…during the trade time students can make recommendations to others and i think it encourages some reluctant readers (enthusiasm is contagious)….if there is any spare time during the day i ask what a student is reading or glance at the poster and make some comments…for awards at the end of the year…i have students pick a book or parents can purchase a child’s favorite book (missing or not) and we put a dedication sticker inside the new book from(student’s name and year)

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  9. One thing I did was write in my newsletters to my parents, nag letters. I also put large stickers on all my books, “THIS BOOK STOLEN FROM DEB SMITH” on the front. I also nagged my older kids for my books. I went to fifth and sixth grade when I taught second grade and nagged them to return my Clifford books. They gave me Clifford books that weren’t even mine. LOL. I tried really hard to keep track and then I just kept asking for books to get donated to the class. No solutions really. I posted notices in Church bulletins asking for book requests/donations. I asked everywhere/anywhere. I don’t know that this helps at all.

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  10. Got the sticker thing under control (and the Sharpie thing too). They say “Property of Ms. Shubitz” and have my email address on them. The labels are from Design-her-Gals and even have my picture on them!!!! Argh!

    I will try the clean-out. We haven’t done that in about a month… it’s worth another shot, but I think most of them are at home.

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  11. I have a difficult time with keeping track of books, too. This is what works for me:

    1) I write my name ALL OVER the book. My last name is written in Sharpie on the top, bottom, and side of the book. This way if mom or dad sees it lying around they can send it back in.

    2) Cleaning out desks a lot. I make my kids “Search for missing books!” about once each month. We make it fun, and everyone searches their desk, locker, and other classrooms. This usually finds a good number of books.

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