I’ve been getting my checkout strategies finished before I head back to work at the end of next week. Like the rest of you, I’m trying to keep my to do list from getting out of control!
My strategy for organizing student library cards from last year worked really well. To recap, each student has a bookmark with one label that says their grade and teacher and another label with their student barcode and a label protector. The cards are organized in a flash card pocket chart. Students can find their card from the pocket or if there are a lot of students from one class coming in then we lay them out on a table. Students use their card to checkout and then drop it in a basket at the circulation desk. We count the cards each day to track the number of patrons coming to check out books and then refile them into the pocket chart. Counting and refiling takes less than a minute and we do it about three times a day.
At the end of the year I emailed our Kindergarten teachers to say that I wanted to significantly increase Kinder visits to the library. I want them to visit the library 3-5 times a week for checkout. I identified two things that are factors: opportunity and book organization. I’ve asked teachers to think of ways they can increase the opportunities in their classroom to visit the library. Ideas: visit the library right after lunch, walking the entire class through the library. Those that need books can quickly check them out while the others stay in line. Or, add a library center to their Reading Center time.
We also need to better organize student book returns. Kinders are less likely to know if they have returned their book and need a new one. Ideas: print a daily list of checkouts after book return time is over in the morning. Use drawstring bags with student names. Empty bag=needs a book.
I am open to additional ideas, but from feedback we decided to definitely try the bags with student names. I am crossing my finger that not too many go missing. Students will keep their library book in the bag. Teachers will collect library books from the bag. They will turn in the books, but keep the bags. These will be the students who need to visit the library that day. They will come to the library with their empty bag and choose a new book. I’ve done this before with PreKindergarten students, but with two very self-contained classes. Not with four Kindergarten classes in an open checkout schedule. I can’t wait!
In the picture you can see that I picked out Eric Carle drawstring bags. I made sure to buy enough to have extras, just in case. I also bought a roll of duct tape for each class to color code. We’ll write student names on the stripe we’re adding to each bag.
I have really strong opinions about book checkout, and about Kindergarten checkout in particular. We do it on their first library visit. I really want to grow our readers from the first days they are in the school. I think these strategies to increase their circulation will be a positive step forward. I’ll certainly keep you posted about how it works!
Here are the new library cards for all of our students! And that cheering you hear? It’s me–checking off one more task from my to do list!