The school year is over, and at our school of about 850 students, after checking out well over 40,000 books this year, only 40 library books have not yet made it home to their shelves. I’ve been working to get this number lower each year, and here’s what works for me!
Build relationships with teachers all year long!
I work to build positive relationships with all the teachers on our campus. I teach lessons with them, help them find the resources they need, troubleshoot tech troubles, or watch their class for 5 minutes if they need a bathroom break! Teacher friends make our job more fun!
Because we’ve worked together as a team for the past 9 months, our teachers are happy to contact parents to help get our library books back. Teachers know when and how best to connect with each family and are much more effective at this than me calling parents from out of the blue. Win-win!
Recognize students for being responsible all year long!
I use punches on our library cards to recognize students each week when they return their library books. My library card design is available on Teachers Pay Teachers. After students return (or renew) their books 6 times, they earn a trip to the treasure box.
This positive reinforcement each week encourages students to keep up with their library books ( and earn “treasure” like fun pencils and erasers) throughout the school year.
Recognize teachers throughout the year!
I create a sign at the beginning of each school year, coordinated with my library theme for the year. The sign is an award for each class with 100% book returns for the week. On their library visit, I give them the sign to post outside their classroom, and it’s a point of pride to show off the library accomplishments of the class.
This is the sign I used when I had an ocean theme in our library. Super simple, printed on colored cardstock, and easy to hand out to jawsome classes!
What works for you?
I know you have some great ideas for helping your students return their books. I do NOT want our families to have to pay for lost library books–what a waste of their money! Please share your ideas in a comment, and I’ll add them to this post.
Your Great Ideas
Thanks to those of you who shared your super ideas for helping students return their library books! I’m gonna add these to my bag of tricks!
- Martha recommends sending overdue notices home in student folders
- Debbie mails overdue notices home and prints them on bright orange paper near the end of the school year. She posts on a bulletin board the number of library books still out and the cost to replace them.
- Wendy rewards teachers who have all the class books turned in with a gift of time where students can come to the library and have fun center time.
- Jennifer gives students spending money at the AR store for books turned in on time.
And I found this fun video, a librarian’s parody of “Sorry,” and we can definitely share this with our students. I may include it in my orientation at the beginning of the year!
Thanks for your collaboration!