Using a Shelf Marker

Routine Name



Using A Shelf Marker

  • Students learn about shelf markers, how to remove books from the shelves, and how to replace books on the shelves. After the lesson, students decorate their shelf markers.
  • Students will recognize that there is a system for organizing the library. Explain that all books belong in a special place so that we can find them. A misshelved book is a lost book. It is our job to help keep the books in the right place. Demonstrate use of shelf marker to accomplish this.
  1. Shelf markers are silent
  2. Keep the shelf marker close to your body
  3. You may only walk around the library with a shelf marker.
  4. Shelf markers are only used for bookshelves.
  • Decorating the shelf marker Students decorate their shelf markers at the beginning of the year using markers. One side has their first and last name, the other side has their art work. Use a large rubber band to separate the shelf markers by class.
  • Shelf Markers act as instant name tags and as a way to choose a random student (choose a random shelf marker from a basket).
  • This year I taped patron barcodes to the shelf markers. They now serve as library cards. Great for my shelf checkout routine.
(Keisa Williams)
Where the shelf markers live @monarchlibrary.
Another image here.
Visit your local Home Depot and ask for Paint Stirs. My local store donated a box of 1000.
(If the 1st Home Depot turns you down, keep driving to the next one. Someone will give in.)
Shelf Marker Song

Shelf Marker Hokey Pokey

Here's a link to the words to the Shelf Marker Hokey Pokey from LM_NET.
Judy Freeman also has a good shelf marker tune on her CD Hi Ho Librario
(Nancy Alibrandi )
external image hihocover.gif

Shelf Marker safety!

It's inevitable that kids will want to swordplay with the shelf markers. To head this off, I show them 2 OK ways for them to hold their shelf marker. They can hold it in 2 hands (with 1 hand at either end of the stick) or they can hold it in 1 hand (with that hand at their side and the stick against their leg). Once they know the OK ways to hold the markers, it's easy to give periodic reminders and recognize those students who are handling them properly. (Kelly Brannock)

Houses Cars and Book Hunts

We use the shelf marker song described above, also. Every year I have 250 or so kindergarten students to teach how to use shelf markers and replace books on the shelf. We take it a step at a time. The first couple of weeks they choose books from their tables and learn about how to check out a book at the circulation desk. Before we go to the shelf we learn how to go on a book hunt courtesy of the charming book We're Going on a Book Hunt by Pat Miller We, also, learn that the shelves are houses for the books and talk about how sad it would be if we or the books didn't make it to our houses and were lost. Many of my little one do not have shelves at home and have to learn to use two hands when sliding the book on the shelf. We use the analogy of driving a car into the garage. If the door is shut (there is no hole for the book) the car (or book) will crash. We practice using our shelf markers in the area of the library I can watch best the first week. We add a row of library shelves each week if classes are trying to be careful. On the week we are allowed to add the last shelf to our area of hunting we get our book hunter licenses. This may sound strange if you have a library that serves many different grades. Ours is a Pre-K - 1st grade library of about 14,000 books. By adding a row each week, we, also, gradually introduce the children to their choices in each area of the library. There are always books from all areas in our book browser and students may choose from there, also. (Donna Bills)

Lesson Suggestions for Shelf Markers

1. Pass out the shelf markers (1/2 the alphabet at a time, or 2-3 letters per student).
- have the students line up in alphabetical order holding the markers
- have them put the markers in alphabetical order on the table or floor
- have them put the markers in between books on the shelf where they belong or to mark
the beginning of that letter in the fiction section
- have them find an author’s last name that begins with that letter and bring it to you

Blinds as Shelf Markers

When shortening my window blinds at home I took the extra slats and cut them into 12 " lengths. These are placed around the media center in paint cans. One can is also placed on the circulation desk for returned markers. I throw these in my dishwasher during cold season to disinfect. Buying a thrift store blind (get the wider slats) will yield tons of indestructible shelf markers. Now if I could only get them to use them!! Beth (NC)

helf Marker PowerPoints

Make your own PowerPoint, or adapt one with pictures from your own library. I loved Karen King's PPT, and used it as the basis for my own. The first section of my PPT appears below Karen's at right.
I decorated one of our shelf markers, dubbed her "Shelly," and borrowed a few third graders to use as models. With a printout of Karen King's slides (6 to a page), I showed the kids how we were going to pose, and added a few things here and there. I loved Karen's script so adjusted it just a little for my situation. I can use this PPT again and again, and the kids love it! They want to be the first table called to check out so they can use Shelly. Poor girl will get worn out this year! Here is a link to my complete PPT. It's 66 MB so download only at your leisure! (Regina Hartley)
Got another Shelf Marker PPT or presentation? Please share here.
Shelby the Shelf Marker

adapted from Karen King's PPT by Regina Hartley. Featuring Shelby's cousin,
Shelly the Shelf Marker.
I've uploaded only the first 7-8 slides to keep the file size under 20 MB.
Shelf Marker
I used to give students bookworms made out of oaktag to color the first day they came to the library, and they used them for their shelf markers for the rest of the year. I told them they could color everything but the very tip - the tip is where I wrote their name, library number, grade and teacher's initial. The bookworms take some time to make, so plan ahead and have a volunteer help - but the kids really love them, and they make a colorful addition to the library once they are all colored in. (Nancy Alibrandi)
Library stick video
For the beginning of the year I made this 3 minute video to help K-2 students understand and review how to use their library sticks (paint stirrers). For the Ks, we will be practicing for several weeks before they get their own sticks generously donated by Home Depot. We store the sticks in Pringle containers arranged by library day. Sticks are confiscated if they are misused as a toy - surprising how rare that happens. I made the video using a flip HD camera with tripod on a book cart. (Amy Bansak)
library stick video
Bookshelf Marker
For librarians who make their own bookshelf markers – here is one template that reminds students why we use them.

Shelf Marker
I make shelf markers with student bar code numbers on them with my kindergartners every year. I use tagboard in assorted colors - a different color every year for the new kindergartners because they keep them throughout their enrollment at my school. They decorate the top with "pirate bears" because my school mascot is a Pirate and I like teddy bears. (I have patterns for them to color, cut and paste.) They are about 2" wide and 14" long. I keep them sorted by class in a potato chip blue plastic container. I laminate them so they hold up year after year.!!! I keep the shelf markers of withdrawn students in separate containers because I have found that many of my students return after a time.