Check Out

Routine Name



Autonomy is the New Black

Blog post describing some of the changes happening in the library. 1 major change is that kids check in and check out their own books. (Keisa Williams)

Autonomy is the New Black
Also see Check In section.

Standing in line to check out a book

This idea is ridiculously simple and it has made my life sooooo much easier! I happen to have an (ugly) brown area rug in the library, and students are supposed to stand on it as they're waiting in line to check out. It didn't work that well, UNTIL.....I put two pieces of carpet tape on one corner. Two little pieces of tape is all it took! Now, with the little ones, we remind them "Stand on the X when you are NEXT." Hokey, I know. But it
works!(Jamie Camp)
Our school goes by the motto: Be Respectful. Be Responsible. Be Ready. Our mascot is a dolphin so I made a posted that says, "Be Respectful- Stand on your dot while you are waiting to check out. Be Responsible- Hold your book like a college student. Be Ready- Have your shelf marker and books ready." For each motto I have a picture of the dolphin doing that particular thing. (Steph Mills)
We have two "runner rugs" in front of each of our two checkout computers. We did an outline of "shoes" (each rug has 5 sets of shoe outlines) on these rugs so the students know where to stand while they are waiting to check out. (BJ Gilzean)
2 little pieces of tape. Believe it or not!
A posterboard with drawings of your mascot following instructions!

Checking out a book

Stand in a single file line at the circulation desk.
Quiet Voices (whisper)
Hold your book close to your body while in line.
One student speaks at a time. (Ex. The first person in line ONLY speaks to the library assistant at the desk)
Return to your seat and continue working and/or READ.
(Keisa Williams)
A huge poster behind the library assistant with a picture of students in line while holding the books as described.

Quiet in Line

Being quiet in line was an issue until I started my "Susie, please move to the back of the line for talking" in an oh-so pleasant voice. I want to reward the kids who are doing the right thing and being quiet in line by letting them get their books checked out early. The kids catch on and help each other stay quiet. (Regina Hartley)
Know the students' names so you can sweetly ask them to move back.

Complete Sentences

We ask our students to show respect by speaking clearly and using complete sentences in the library when checking out. We make eye contact, address each other with Good morning or good afternoon, My name is and my number is __, thank you, and you're welcome. Yes, it makes checkout longer but gives them practice speaking in public with adults. We don't expect the kindergartners to have their number memorized until later in the school year. (Regina Hartley)
A script sign at the checkout desk reminds the students (and shows the new ones) what to say when checking out a book.

How to Check Out a Book PowerPoint

Okay, I still make and show PowerPoints. They are quick & easy and kids do enjoy them and you can stop at any point to chat. I show this funcheckout PowerPoint to kids to get us all on the same page. We also model, model, model and practice...Yes, practice how to stand in line, how to use a shelf marker, etc. I model inappropriate behavior and the kids crack up!! Then they role play appropriate behavior and we're off to a great start. (Catherine Trinkle)

Standing in line

Use brightly colored duct tape to mark the floor where you want children to stand while waiting in line. I create big "X"s on the floor, as well as a colorful tape line to mark the stopping point. When the students get sloppy in line, I just remind them to "check for your X" and they know to find the correct place to stand. This keeps the line moving smoothly and protects each child's personal space. (Kelly Brannock)

How To Find a Book

Teaching kids how to find a book on their own is so important. It gives them independence and freedom in the library. It helps them to have an understanding...a broad overview...of what that Dewey Decimal System is all about. I encourage them to "find your favorite section" and browse. (Catherine Trinkle)

How To Find a Book, part 2

This PowerPoint, Let's Find a Book About Tornadoes, is such a favorite for my kids. Has been for like 11 years now. It kind of freaks them out, too, so they really pay attention. I always use a Smartboard with my PowerPoints, and that really keeps their attention. (Catherine Trinkle)

Library Orientation PowerPoint

I use this PowerPoint with grades 1-5 at the first visit to the library. I update it each year, change the background, etc. Before I start, I ask for a show of hands by kids who are new to my school (and library!). For the upper grades, I go through it a little faster. At the end I ask questions about my cats. They are named after state capitals, so I ask the kids to identify their states.
For kindergarten, we work up to checkout, which starts for them during the second month of school. (Regina Hartley)

Flashlight Tour

Do a flashlight tour of your library. Get a strong flashlight and turn off the library lights. Point the flashlight at the area of the library you are talking about: checkout desk, computers, fiction, nonfiction, reference, etc. Kids can focus on that one area of the library better. (Regina Hartley)

The Pigeon Visits the Library Orientation Video

Last year was my fourth year at a K-4 library. In late August, I invited some of my star students to help me make a video for orientation of 2nd-4th grades in the library. Their parents were more than happy to drop them off for 2 hours of movie making. Adapt this concept for your school library or show mine! Mo Willems' "pigeon" is a favorite in our school - we study his books in first grade.
(Susan Eley, Mt. Laurel, NJ)
The Pigeon Finds a Library! video

Checkout in Spanish

Last year, I tried checkout in Spanish with the 4th and 5th graders who were learning Spanish that quarter. Our traveling Spanish teacher and I worked it out so that we began after the students had learned to count to 10. If the kids greeted us with Buenos Dias or Buenas Tardes, we knew they wanted to try Spanish checkout. They'd say their library number in Spanish and we would check out their book to them, following with gracias and de nada. I made a cheat sheet of the numbers in Spanish (including zero) for our library helpers and taped it near the checkout computer. Sometimes I gave out 2-3 Hot Tamales candies if the kids did a great job. We all learned that kids think they know their numbers because they can count in the language. But having to say numbers out of order (and without using their fingers) was a real learning experience for them! (Regina Hartley)
I also made number cards in Spanish and kept them nearby so that the kids could practice saying their number before coming up to the checkout desk. (No counting on their fingers to remember a number allowed!)
Make sure to include zero. The kids had learned 1-10, but they actually needed to know 0-9 for this activity.
cero, uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ocho, nueve

Self Check-Out

We teach students if the librarians are busy helping others, and there is no one available at the circulation desk, they may sign out materials themselves. We had a custom stamp made from DEMCO and we stamp pads of post-it notes (see photo on right) and leave them on the circ desk. We teach students how to fill out the forms during orientation (make sure they understand the difference between the publisher's barcode and the library's barcode number). Works well, and also for staff signing out materials after hours. (Nancy Alibrandi)

Date Due Cards

I use Excel to create date due cards for the entire year. These are formatted on 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock (use a different color for each day). To prepare the cards for each day, my fifth grade volunteers circle the correct date on the card and mark out all the past dates. This saves a great deal of time in checkout. You may adjust the beginning date by changing the earliest date on the card. When children return their books, they should remove the old date due cards and place it in a basket before putting their books in the book drop. Using different color cards for each day of the week makes for easier sorting of old cards.

Question Spot and Checkout Spot

We have two spots marked on the floor with bright colored construction paper signs covered with Kapco cover laminating film. One is a yellow rectangle with a smiling waving book. This is the checkout spot. The other is a blue question mark in a circle. This is where you stand to ask Mrs. Bills a question if she is at the circulation desk. This has helped to cut down on confusion during book selection time in a one-person K-1 library. We, also, stand in single file and hug our books. Our school-wide signal to be quiet in line is to "put a bubble in your mouth." We put date due stickers on our books with a label gun. A student helper does this in some of our classes. (Donna Bills)

Avoiding Lines Altogether
I have found that a lot of disruptions are eliminated by not ever having students 'line up' at all. I print sheets with each classes barcodes on it which is in the class' folder behind my desk. When it is time for the students to look for books I am available to walk around, answer questions and help them locate books. They have learned that once they have selected their books they need to take a seat and read quietly. Then during the last 5 minutes of class while the students are reading I get out the sheet with their barcodes and call the students up a couple at a time to check out their books. Then those students go sit and continue reading until the whole class is finished checking out and I call for them to get ready for dismissal. I love how this allows me to be out and about with the students giving recommendations and talking with them, before I felt like I was alway trapped behind my desk because lines are problematic. (Tabitha Cox)
Barcode sheets for each class.