Now that we are cruising into the new year I can finally post about my new library cards! I’m very excited about these this year, all thanks to a friend of mine who inspired me.
Most of my time as a librarian has been spent on a completely fixed schedule. For many years all of our students used their four-digit lunch number in the library. Then we switched to longer ID numbers and students used the Destiny homeroom picture page. I’m a firm believer in self checkout and students can do it all themselves. Even the Kinders. Even the first day of school. (Another soapbox…)
Last year I came to a school that used cards from the photography company. These work great! However, we left them in the students’ hands and this caused some issues. My library is open all day for checkout. Students bring their card as their pass and it works great. But, when a class comes together it was hit and miss if the students had their cards. The mixture of students with cards and those without made checkout a challenge. Follett’s interface is not very self-checkout friendly for switching between the two modes. Too many ways to click and go astray.
I wanted to keep library cards in the library, but I don’t have the wall space to organize so many identical cards in an efficient way for fast to access and easy filing.
My wonderful friend uses bookmarks for her students. Each class has a different design. I decided to go for it. I purchased bookmarks for each grade level. Since I have five classes in a grade I looked for sets where I could find 5 designs in the same theme. I could do it with any design per class, but I like themes.
Over the summer, I printed a page of labels for each class with the grade level and teacher name printed. I stickered each set of bookmarks.
As school started, I did not print all the student barcode labels at once. As I had classes schedule the library for their first visit I printed student barcode labels the day before and did a class at a time. It made the task of stickering 1500 labels manageable and meant that my labels were as accurate as possible since our system synchs students regularly. I put a label protector over the barcodes. My friend says she throws a class set into the laminator now and again as she has space around other jobs. Bookmarks in her pocket chart are really worn on the top row and much less so on the bottom. By the time students reach the end of 3rd grade they have their number memorized and use their cards less. Cards and memorized numbers function can both be used in the same mode on Destiny.
I found pocket charts that are perfect for organizing these bookmarks! I searched and searched for all types of pocket charts to find one where I could put each grade on a row. I seriously looked at pocket charts for over two weeks. I finally settled on one and even had my mom sew a sentence strip row into individual pockets. It would have worked, but then I happened to see this kind in a teacher store. I immediately ordered two. I have no idea why my original search never resulted in this style!
It’s perfect! I put one up on a lower wall space close to where my Kinders, 1st, and 2nd graders spend a lot of time. Another one is in a space where the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders can reach.
At our checkout computers we keep a small bucket (found the perfect ones at Michael’s). Students drop their cards into the bucket after they scan it. We return their cards to the pocket chart a few times a day. If I wanted to, I could count all of them and track how many students check out books each day. I’m planning to do this one day about every two weeks.
How do you organize your library cards or student numbers for checkout? What works best for you?