Adopt a Shelf

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Adopt a Shelf is a brilliant idea one of my colleagues shared with me.  She does it in her library and I thought it was such a fantastic idea, I had to try it.  Basically, it puts the kids in charge of keeping the shelves neat and organized.  This fit in really well with what we just learned in 4th grade – fiction call numbers and fiction collection is organized.

I decided to introduce the idea of adopting a fiction shelf to take care of during my 4th grade classes two weeks ago.  I have a really great group of 4th graders this year and told them that they are the oldest and most responsible students at school and could be each be in charge of a shelf.  They went nuts over it!   I had one 4th grade girl say “Mrs. Lodge, when you told us we could organize our own shelf, I was SO excited!”  Who knew?  

The kids take a few minutes in between our lesson and book check out to check their shelves.  They make sure the books are in order with the spines facing out, that the shelf is nice and neat, and if their shelf has room, they can pick the books on display.  I ordered new book ends because I don’t have enough and baskets for books and the kids will be in charge of putting these on their shelves when they come in.  I put framed class lists near the door where the kids check off their name after they check their shelf so I can see who did their job.

The orange label is the student’s name and the green label says the shelf number.


Some of the kids took their job to the next level and made little signs with recommendations for books on their shelf.  It’s very cute!  I’m just so impressed with how seriously they are taking their jobs and how easily they took on the responsibility of taking care of their library.

Sorry for the terrible photography on my part!


My custodian suggested I pick a Shelf of the Week, which I thought was a great idea.  I made a little badge and chose a Shelf of the Week.  I’ll move the badge to a new shelf next week and leave a little Shelf of the Week Winner ribbon in its place.

Get an Adopt-a-Shelf Starter Kit, PowerPoint, or bundle of both from my TPT Store!

8 Responses to “Adopt a Shelf”

  1. partis

    I absolutely love this idea. My 5th graders will be great for this. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Mikki

    Thank your friend for coming up with this clever idea, adn thank you for sharing it on your blog! I’m doing this this week!

  3. Librarian Mommy

    I love the book bin that you have pictured. Where did you order those from. Love this idea for the upper grades!!!

    • Mrs. Lodge

      I didn’t order either of these baskets, they were in my library when I got there. I just ordered the far less cute white ones from School Specialty because that’s who we have a contract with. But, I believe Sonya at the Library Patch got some similar to the orange one from reallygoodstuff.com. They have all shapes and colors! I would love to have all of bright pink and orange baskets!

  4. Ms. Broderick

    What a great idea! I love it!

  5. Mrs. Null

    I love the idea of “adopting a shelf” and being in charge of keeping that area in top order. Super cute! The award is the perfect touch. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Anonymous

    I am thinking about using this idea with the 5th graders in my big building. Did you assign the shelf or let the kids pick?

    ALWAYS look forward to reading your posts!! Thank you for sharing!

    Anne-Marie Ross
    Library Media Specialist
    Manomet & Indian Brook Elementary Schools
    Plymouth, MA

    • Mrs. Lodge

      They picked themselves. A lot of them looked for a shelf with a favorite author/series/book. They tagged shelves with stickies and then wrote their number on a clipboard with a class list. Then they knew if a shelf had a sticky, it was taken. I typed up names and taped them to the shelves to be official :)

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