Tales of an Elementary Library Tech

Read on to find out how I run the library at my K-8 school site….

In the Library … Week of 8/25

on August 31, 2014

this week library


First week of checkout!!!! Here’s how a typical visit will look from now on.

For all students (kinder included) I am using a shelf marker seating assignment. Remember those bears from last week? Well, I took a picture of each one and taped them to a table. I also put a smaller version onto library shelf markers….(Shelf makers are just card stock laminated to help them last a little longer.) When students come to the library, they line up outside the door and will choose a color (or the teacher or I will hand them one). Once they have a stick, they can come into the library and find their table. Whatever bear is on their marker will determine their table for that day.









Kinder students are not checking out books so we just read instead… After reading, the students are called by name/color/table to turn in their stick to a basket and line up.

51304XGSXVL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ images Teacher-from-the-Black-Lagoon-by-Mike-Thaler






For 1st – 6th grade, we went over a brief “how to look for a book using a shelf marker” discussion. Very basically, students put their shelf marker and pull out their book, leaving their marker on the shelf. After looking at the book and deciding no, they put the book back on the shelf where their marker is ‘marking its place’ with the spine showing and then they take their marker and look elsewhere. If they decide they liked the book, the marker comes off and they are done 🙂 But Ms Stefun, what if I decide I don’t like the book and my marker is off the shelf? Well, for most students, I am giving them a two-strike policy. The first time I will put their book on a cart and they can try again. The second time they come to me, they will have to keep the book or I will get to choose their book.

At our school, 1st grade checks out one book, 2nd-8th get the option to check out two. Most of the 2nd-5th grade classes are into AR so the teachers ask that one book be in the students range. My answer for the 2nd book is a “free” book. As long as both books are returned or renewed the following week, they can check out two more books. If one book is not returned or renewed, the student will get zero the next week. 7th and 8th graders visit on their own time with a pass. As long as no books are “overdue” and there are no fines on the account, they are free to checkout when a book is returned, even if another book is on the account. Once a book is “overdue”, they must return it to get a new book (their books have a one-week timeline).

Once a 1st-6th grader find their books, they sit back down at their table and quietly read their books. When we get to about the last 5 min of the visit, Ms Stefun will count down from 10 and ring her bell once. This signals that students are done looking at the shelves. If a student has one book, they are sent to the tables. If they have zero books, Ms Stefun or the teacher will then get to pick their book.

Once all students have at least one book and are at the tables, Ms Stefun will ring the bell 3 times. At this point, books are closed (quietly), sticks are on top, and students are quiet waiting for direction. The first table/color that does this is usually called first to checkout, the rest of the tables/colors being called out by the teacher/Ms Stefun. When students checkout, they line up by Ms Stefun’s desk, sticks in a basket, books turned to the back so the barcode is showing, and students tell Ms Stefun their name (first and last or just first). Ms Stefun will then scan their name on a barcode list she has (sorted by class) and then scan their books. Once books are scanned the student then lines up on a purple line (duct tape on the floor) and hugs their book waiting for the rest of the class to finish. Once the last table has been called up, the teacher is free to take the class at his/her discretion.

For 1st-6th grade students who did not return all their books, I have a box of books that are not part of inventory. Instead of looking for books on the shelves, they are given the option to read the books in this box or sit quietly at the table. After 3-4 weeks of not turning in a book, I may have the student call their parent/guardian and explain why they cannot checkout a book or use the school’s automated system (2 notices have already been sent home at this point – 1 per week). If a parent has a problem paying for a book, I will give them the option to replace the book with the same title (this way they can try a used bookstore/amazon which may have the book at a cheaper price) or I will talk to the principal to create a “work” program to have the student work off the book (whether in the library or elsewhere in the school).

Well, there’s my 1st week of checkout for you. Hope you enjoyed your visit and found a good book!

ms stefun


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