I have always used library cards to help with book check out. I’ve seen many other ways of doing check out – a binder with class barcodes printed out, using Destiny’s homeroom option and selecting students’ names, and library name tags with barcodes. I’ve tried a few different ways but library cards have always worked best for me. In the beginning of the year, passing out cards to each class also helps me learn names. I tend to pass out cards until I know names and kids know routines and then I start putting them in a basket for the kids to retrieve when they’re ready to check out.
I color code my library cards so they’re easy to organize. It’s also helpful because I immediately know which grade a card belongs in if I find it somewhere in the library. This isn’t as much an issue as I learn everyone’s name, grade, and class, but in the beginning of the year in a new school, it’s really helpful. In the past I’ve used index cards and wrote names in the grade level colors. This year, I got fancy and used index cards mounted on colored construction paper and then had the kids write their own names. The white index cards gave the kids a place to decorate and personalize their cards and the cards are a little thicker and more durable.
I’ll admit, library cards can definitely be a pain to make – printing barcodes, cutting them out, and taping them on cards, writing names, laminating, and cutting out cards for 450 kids takes a while. This year, I tried to make it as easy as possible and enlisted my older students to help assemble library cards for the younger kids at my Library Assistant Center. They did all the taping of index cards to construction paper and barcodes to assembled cards:
Was each card perfectly centered and taped just the way I’d do it myself? Nope. But did the kids love helping out and feel like they were contributing to our library community? Absolutely.
Do you use library cards? If you’re interested in trying them out, I know Cari has adapted her cards to be an incentive to bring back books this year. Any other interesting adaptations to library cards out there?