Library Card Shelf Markers, Part 2

Hi friends!

As you may remember, last August I made new shelf markers for my students, from card stock, with their bar codes on them, and punches for rewards around the edges. You can read the original post here.

IMG_1508 Library Learners Shelf Marker

The shelf markers are copied onto card stock, a different color for each grade. On one side, the student prints her first name (or whatever she is called) in really big letters on the first day of check-out. (When students walk up to me at check-out, I can call them by name because I can see those big letters.) I also put their bar code sticker on this side, so that we (or they) can scan it for book check out.

On the other side is the phrase about thinking win-win, and a repeated pattern of 5 circles and a star. Last year, when students came to the library for once a week check-out with their class, we punched a circle if they had no overdue books. On the sixth visit, we punched the star, and the student could go to the “treasure box” and choose a prize–pencil, eraser, or bookmark. It’s designed to be like a frequent customer card!

The students used these as both library cards and shelf markers, for first through fifth grade. I’ve had a few questions about these library card shelf markers, and after a year of experience, I’m ready to wholeheartedly recommend them to you! Here are the answers to your questions.

Did it work?

YES!!! It was like library magic! We had far fewer overdue books last year, and more students checking out books on a regular basis! Even cool fifth graders were excited to pick out a “prize” from the treasure box.

Did the cards last?

Yes! I laminated the cards, after the student had printed his name on there and we’d attached the bar code sticker. Out of 800 or so  shelf markers, only 5 or so were completely torn up and worn out at the end of the year.

How did I organize and store them?

Library shelf markers

For second through fifth grade, we kept the cards in color-coded file folders in clear file boxes. When students came on their own for a library visit, they could pull their card from their teacher’s file folder, and then put their card back in the file folder after check-out.

library shelf markers

For first grade, we kept the cards behind the counter. I just wasn’t sure, especially at the beginning of the year, that they could handle the file folder system.

And I don’t use the punch cards for kindergarten. I use the sturdy paint stirrer shelf markers, and I don’t use the punch cards. We talk about the book baby all year to help them care for their books.

If you’d like to try these in your library, you can download them for free here, from my Google Drive.

Do you have any library magic? I’d love to hear what you’re preparing for YOUR students!

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      1. Thanks for sharing that, Angie! I will try that this year. I know it took a lot of laminating film to cover hundreds of shelf markers!

    1. When did you do the hole punching? Did this slow down the process? When could they choose a prize? I really like this idea, but am worried about the time issues…I have 30 min per class – 10 min lesson time and then 20 min. to get everything checked out. (They do love the centers!! They especially had fun with the baby chicks! Thank you!)

      1. Kathryn, I punch the holes at checkout. If they can check out, they get a punch. The “treasure box” is out on the counter, and they know if I punch the star, they go to the treasure box. Usually they are counting down to the star punch. I spend much less time chasing down overdues, so the few seconds it takes to punch a hole are well worth it to me! Sometimes I’ll have a student helper punching holes.

    2. I use a similar idea, but I use sentence strips cut into 12″ish lengths. They write their names nice and big (I write K and 1), decorate them and then I put their barcodes on before I laminate them. I also use their shelf markers for when they have to go to the bathroom/office/nurse–they put the shelf markers in the pocket that holds the passes (hopefully with their names showing) and I can see at a glance which kidlet is out of the room if we have a fire drill or something. I also do an incentive thing with my kindies and first graders, when they bring their books back, but it’s a separate piece of paper. The Kindies get a book-shaped piece of paper and they choose stickers, the first graders had a simple piece of paper with their names and paper punches (they love that I have different shaped ones like snowflakes and stars). Prizes for each set of 6 stickers/punches. Works pretty well to get them in the habit of bringing books back. I have them bring their books with them to the reading rug and I call them one at a time as I go through the pile of paper. They point to the sticker they want/I stick or punch the paper and they go put their book on the counter for me to check in during their browsing time. Takes a few weeks to get it smooth, but it works for me. They choose their prizes after they’ve checked out. It’s a sort of honor system…they rifle through the prize basket that is close to me at the circ desk and show me what they’ve chosen.

      All that said…I may just go for punches on their sentence strip shelf markers this year. Simplify!

    3. Another question…:) …. Am I the only one who date stamps? I would like to stop date stamping but am worried teachers will not be happy with this decision.

      1. Date due stamp question above…saw a great idea on Pinterest. Use date due book marks. List all the dates for a certain day of the week on a bookmark. Circle the date the book is due.

        1. Joanna that is a great idea! Julie do your students take books for 1 week at a time or 2? We have 2 week check out and then they can come during lunch or before/after school so I am worried about confusion without the stamp (or dated bookmark) but maybe I am making mountains out of molehills…?? I really like this system. I am just worried about the details and timing. I may just have to give it a try and iron the the kinks as needed. Thank you!

      2. Kathryn, I don’t date stamp. I just tell students to either return or renew their books on their next class visit. But I like Joanna’s bookmark idea!
        Thanks for your question!

    4. I use a barcode book with class sheets for speed and for private notes. I also have a tiny space, so not much storage. Since I work with high poverty kids, many of them with substantial issues. Cards would be lost, damaged, etc. We do 1 week checkouts, with lots of free flow for higher readers. I do print out some cute bookmarks that say “my book is due…” for each class at the start of the year. I use them for a few months to remind them when to return their books. The teachers do an excellent job with having a sign in their classes when books are due, and really reinforce that. I’ve never used a date stamp since we went to computers years ago.

    5. I love the idea of the bookmark! Actually what I am doing for this year is using the date due slips stuck on index card (like the bookmark) and tucked into a pocket or like a bookmark if they don’t have a pocket. The Girl Scouts came in and made 2000 cards for me. (I calculated the number of books each student is allowed to take out each week – 1676 and then made extras) I have a different group of lunch time helpers who come in everyday (so each student can only come 1x per week) and they will date stamp the cards I will need for the next day. In the mean time the TIS – the computer specialists in the district – informed me that the students will eventually have access to their account information from any computer. This is using Destiny. I had the library card shelf markers printed last week and am very excited to get started!! Thank you to all for the help!! And thank you Cari for this great idea!

    6. I love this idea I would like to use the shelf markers this year. I have one problem we use 9 weeks in our school district. Could you make them for 9-weeks?

    7. I love this. Exactly what I have been looking for. I’m about to start my first whole year as an elementary school librarian and I’m very excited to give this a try.

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