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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Tried It Tuesday (library checkout!)

Happy Tuesday!  I am super excited to share with you a new checkout system for my classroom library for today's Tried It Tuesday!

If you are new to Tried It Tuesday, read more about it here.

My Tried It:
Classroom Booksource! 
I don't know about you, but I am a little protective of my classroom library.  I love buying books from garage sales, ebay, getting donations from students, and ordering books from Scholastic with bonus points.  However, once I get the books, I can get really (I mean, REALLY) annoyed when a "popular book" goes missing!  It happened with the Hunger Games series this year.  I introduced the books to our library and wouldn't you know they were gone and one wasn't returned for over a month.  That was when I used the "honor system".  Yeah right.  We all have those students that the honor system doesn't work for.  They want the most coveted books from the library and then don't read them.  They end up lost at home or in some messy locker or desk.  Ugh!
Then, I started my library system inspired by this post at All Things Upper Elementary by The Peanut Gallery.
I now have two librarians and students must have one of the librarians mark their card when checking out books.  See the post here for more about my classroom jobs.  When students return books, they place it in the return basket with their index card and the librarians check off on the card that it is returned when they have time.

It really has been working great but I was on the lookout for a digital system where students didn't have to take their cards out of the index card box every time they return a book.  I also can't easily tell who has a particular book out without looking through the cards (this can be time consuming with having 40 students with access to my library!

My solution was to test out Classroom Booksource!  The students and I have been working like crazy to get about 600 books from my classroom library scanned into Classroom Booksource!
What is Classroom Booksource? It is a FREE web-based program that allows users to maintain and inventory books and ebooks in their classroom library!  
You can use it to scan titles from your library using the ISBN number (I use the iPad app but a smart phone would work too)!  
Student rosters can be imported easily or you can type in the name of your students by hand and it enables each student to be able to check out, read, and return books using a scanning system.  Here is a picture of a student scanning a book using the class iPad.
You can even run assessment reports on student and title activity (I haven't tried that yet).
When students want to check out a book, they select their name from the class list that the teacher set up and then scan the ISBN with the iPad or smart phone.  If there is no barcode, the name can be entered by typing in the title to search it.  Here is a snapshot of the student page on the computer to check in or return books.
On the computer, students can be prompted to type in their password to check out books or this option can be disabled. (I set the passwords myself to match their AR passwords).  

When using the iPad app, I noticed that students didn't get prompted for a password even if I had that option checked in my classroom settings.  Here is a picture of one of my students selecting his name to check out a book.
Teachers can select from a number of options on the "Classroom Settings" page.  
You can customize:
1.  The number of books allowed to be checked out at a time by each student.
2.  The length of the checkout period.
3.  Option of prompting student for rating, condition, or review of book when returning.
4.  Students can be emailed an overdue notice.
5.  The book's location, genre, and condition can be tracked.
6.  The user can be prompted when adding a duplicate ISBN.

I am looking forward to having the books already scanned for next year so we can get started with this system right away.  I know many of you are already out for the year and may be reorganizing your library over the summer.  Students LOVE to scan books into the library, so I would suggest trying to find some volunteers that can help you out over the summer or save the majority of the job for the new school year when you have eager helpers and early finishers:)  Having a job like this is a great motivator for students!  Students can also quickly scan books to "add them to the library" before checking them out if they are not in the library yet.

We haven't had the system in place that long yet and I am excited and anxious to see if it runs smoothly.  I am still going to have classroom librarians that will check in and out books and manage the iPad.  I am afraid that if I don't have the librarians keep order during check out and return time, the students will be arguing and throwing around not sharing the iPad in an appropriate way or stealing taking books without signing them out:)  Time will tell if this method is successful for my classroom.  I would love to hear your thoughts about the method you use or your experience with Classroom Booksource.

Many readers and bloggers wanted to continue the linky WEEKLY over the summer!  Yay!!  It wasn't unanimous though (about a 75/25 split).
 I have worked out a little compromise:

Continue hosting WEEKLY FOR JUNE.
Host JULY ONLY ONCE on the 2nd Tuesday of the Month (July 9th)...
"TWOSDAY"...get it? :)
Go back to hosting WEEKLY IN AUGUST.

So, update your blogging calendar!  I don't have one of those yet but I think I need to start one soon:)  Of course, as always, you can link up ANYTHING you have tried (NEW or OLD) and it can be classroom or home related!  I love reading about them all and have learned so much.  I will need the summer to sort through all the new pins:)  Thank you again for your bloggy love, whether it is by reading, commenting, or linking up!!

I am also sharing some bloggy love and linking up this post with Chelsea from Flip-Floppin' Through 3rd Grade's new linky, Take-Away Tuesday.
If your Tried-It Tuesday fits Chelsea's theme, link up to both parties!  I know I try to link up as much as I can with blogging friends.  No one wants to join a party alone:)
Her is a summary of Chelsea's linky:

Every week of June and July I will be hosting Take-away Tuesday.  The purpose for this link up is to share your great tips, activities, organization, or summer planning ideas for Back to School 2013.  If you are like me, summer break is GLORIOUS, but you are already planning, purchasing, and creating for the next school year.  What better way to get new inspiration from others, while sharing your tried and true methods for a successful start to a new school year.


  1. OH! The student who takes the most coveted book in the library just to HAVE (I don't know.. be seen with?) and leaves it at home (or in my case, their locker) for weeks or months if I don't chase them down. I know EXACTLY the student you're talking about! I call them "book hogs" openly and when I discover a student has been harboring a book and not reading it, I tell them they're book hogging and need to return it ASAP! I totally hold them accountable for that kind of thing. Ugh!
    I'm Lovin Lit

  2. What an awesome resource. I'm totally going to open an account and start scanning in my book this summer. Thanks!!

    Crofts' Classroom

  3. I am going to check out this website today!! I love your library checkout system! Very cool. :-)

  4. Love your new library check out system. I know it was very time consuming to scan in all of the books in your library, but I am sure it will be well worth in the end. I use the "honor system" with my 4th graders. They each have a clothespin with their name on it. They place the clothespin on the book bin from where they book came. They take it off when they return it.

    Shepherd's Shining Stars

  5. I love using BookSource checkout- my classroom has used it for the past few years. I also like that I can look up a book to remember which genre category I put it in if another teacher wants to borrow it (or just to remember if I actually have that book!). Scanning the books in is a BIG job- I had some helpers this year also go through and add Lexile and GR level to all the books so that I can see what my kiddos are choosing.

    We have loved it! The kids enjoy checking out their own books, too- and scanning things is always fun. I hope it works out well for you this next year! :-)

    Real Teachers Learn

  6. How neat that kids can do this basically all on their own. I can even picture a couple of my little first graders by the end of the year being able to do this mostly on their own. I love this idea! Thanks for sharing definitely going to look more into this for my classroom over the summer!

    Learning to the Core

  7. I took the time a few years ago to scan in all of my books but never have gotten back to using the system. Now I'm inspired! I've got to do something new for next year, my oh so organized library was such a mess that i just packed it all up regardless this year. Can't wait to see how it works for you. I somehow missed that you were going to once a month over the summer so I'm glad that's just for July. I love seeing what other people have tried!

  8. You have done it again... inspired me and solve a problem for me!:) I have been looking for a good electronic check out system.. This is perfect!! Thank you so much for sharing. I CAN'T WAIT to get started on it this summer:)


  9. I use this app too. It's the only way I can effectively manage my multiple classrooms in the middle school setting.

  10. I am so glad you mentioned this. I have thought about trying this app, but didn't know anyone that used it so I was a bit leery about trying it out. Sounds like I have something to work on this summer!

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  11. I've had the app on my iPad since last summer and when I tried to add some books it didn't have a few of them. It was kind of frustrating. The site said they would be updating the database but I never went back to try again. I'm so glad to are having success. I will definitely give it another try. Thanks for sharing.

    room 4 imagination

    1. I realized I had actually tried a different app last summer. I just went and started adding some books into this one (which I had but had never tried) and I love it. Thanks for reminding me about it.

      room 4 imagination

  12. Thanks a million for being so detailed in your post. I loveeeee this! Totally gonna use next year cause I'm a MAJOR book collector!

    24/7 Teacher Amy Harrod

  13. I really like this system - it seems so organized and that it will be easy to maintain. I like that you have students in charge of signing out books from your library. I am pinning this whole post to come back to in August. I have no Tried it Tuesday post today :(
    I am trying to make it through dance week, write report cards and finish up our yearbook - not a fascinating post!
    See you next Tuesday (reports are due Monday so I will be ready to go!)

  14. I just heard about Book Source this week! I only have two large shelves in my class that students can't read from (used for lessons), the rest of my class library is open to all. I have so many books, I've never imagined using a book system. I know that some may get stolen or lost, but they usually return at some point. ***Just had a book returned 3 weeks ago from a student I had 12 years ago! She was packing to move out of state and found it! :O) I may look into this since it's the second recommendation this week! Thanks as always Holly!
    Head Over Heels For Teaching

  15. Great resource. I was already on the hunt for something to use. I'm definitely going to check this one out.

    I'm also hosting a linky party "Take-away Tuesday" about great ways to start a new school year. This would be a great addition.



  16. Hi! I am your newest follower! I love the library checkout website! Definitely going to try it out!

    Sixth Grade Scribbles

  17. Wow! I LOVE this idea for book checkout! I will be trying it out :) Thanks for sharing.
    I'm glad I found you through Joanne at Head over Heels- TONS of great ideas on your blog- I'm now a follower!
    Creating a Thoughtful Classroom

  18. Hi Holly~Yet again, I'll be anxiously awaiting your updates on how this goes. I have wanted to do this for years and simply haven't been able to pull myself away from my visual library checkout system. Maybe your post will inspire me. :) Thanks for hosting!
    Brandee @ Creating Lifelong Learners

  19. Holly,
    Great post--but I'll take it in a different direction. I really like that you've given students meaningful jobs that are beneficial to the classroom. Personally, I think that makes quite a bit of difference plus students are rewarded (not with prizes) but with overall satisfaction of having a real/structured job. I'm guessing some like it and other don't, but they've got to learn somewhere.

    Digital: Divide & Conquer