Library Centers Freebie

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As you know, Carolyn, Cari, and I are presenting at AASL13 today! We are all so excited to talk with other library teachers about library centers, share ideas, and hear what other library teachers are doing in their libraries.

If you are just getting started with centers, or even if you are using them already, you will want to check out our Library Centers Startup Kit freebie on TPT. We put together center signs and materials for 15 relatively low-prep centers to help you get started. You can also get our AASL13 library centers handout here.


Remember to keep the conversation going on Twitter with #LibraryCenters!

4 Responses to “Library Centers Freebie”

  1. Ms Jess

    I’ve wanted to make a switch to centers but my concern is that it doesn’t create enough rigor, especially for older students. In my school district the 5th graders have to do a big research project before they graduate so I’m focusing a lot on research skills 3-5th grade. I’m trying to think about how I could adapt such skills into centers.

    The other thing that concerns me about centers is that let’s face it librarians are often at risk of losing their positions. I think that creating a library space where students are only doing things like making bookmarks or playing games doesn’t really demonstrate the academic value of school libraries.

    • mrslodge

      You have to decide how to establish library centers in a way that works supports student learning for your library program. My district has a very vigorous library curriculum and it is expected that in each class I will teach a lesson that addresses the library curriculum and AASL standards and supports the CCSS, assess student learning, and check out books. My library centers take place during book check out as a way to keep kids engaged in learning after they are done checking out books. I always have kids who are just renewing books, know exactly what they want and are done checking out in 2 minutes, or aren’t getting books for one reason or another so they choose a library center. I have other kids who need all 10 minutes to find books and may not get to a center every library class. Centers do not replace my teaching, they support and supplement it during check out.

      Again, which centers you choose to use should work for your library program and your students. I only choose things I believe have value, whether they support the library curriculum (Question of the Week, Did You Know?, BrainPop, PebbleGo, Library Trivia, Shelver), skills I think are important not only in the library but in life, like ABC order, spelling, or letter recognition (Letters, ABC LEGOs, ABC puzzles, library crossword), or social-emotional development, critical thinking, and problem solving (puzzles, blogging, Blurbs, Adopt a Shelf). I don’t have a bookmark coloring center but I may have different table art centers where K-1 students draw their favorite character, something they learned during our lesson, or words/pictures that start with our letter of the week because I find those all support student learning. Every once in a while I try something that may not be as academic like my Dot Center based on The Dot by Peter Reynolds but it certainly has benefits in terms of students developing pride and ownership of the library and being part of a community when they see their dot along with others from all grade levels decorating the library throughout the school year.

      If you’re interested in starting centers in your library, I’m sure you can make it work for you! I have personally found it has only improved what is going on in my libraries and that administration and classroom teachers notice a positive difference going from a non-centered program to a centered one. Good luck!

      • Ms Jess

        Good points all of them. My library periods are 55 minutes and I usually devote 15-20 minutes to checkout and my students often use up every last second! This is in part because I have a very high limit for check out (between 5-10 books depending on your grade) because my students only get library every other week and the library is often the only place they can access books for pleasure reading.

        I could see using a centers though for students who don’t want to check out or have reached their limit.

        Out of curiosity -how much time do you have between classes and how do you store your materials for centers?

        • mrslodge

          The amount of time between classes depends on the day. Some days I have time in between, sometimes I have several back to back. A lot of centers have become part of the library, for example crates of pop up books or other book centers have permanent homes in the library, magnetic boards for crossword puzzles, Boggle, and magnet poetry are attached to the wall. Other centers that rotate out are kept in my office, usually in plastic bins.

          Your kids are lucky to have that much time to check out!

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