Adopt-A-Shelf is something I’ve been considering for my library for some time now. A few weeks ago, several librarians were discussing it on my state’s listserv, so I thought I would start it in my library for the upcoming school year. I’ve been working hard on all the materials so you don’t have to! I’ve created a Powerpoint presentation for students and special awards to keep them motivated!
The best part? It’s totally FREE! I ask for something very simple in return: if you find these materials useful, share this post with someone else. It’s very easy to do – just click the buttons at the bottom of this post to share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
What is Adopt-A-Shelf?
The basic idea of Adopt-A-Shelf is to encourage students to take responsibility and ownership in their school library. On a more practical level, I’m hoping it will help keep some semblance of shelf order for those of us with no library assistant. When you’re a one man (or woman) show with dozens of other responsibilities, you’ll take whatever help you can get. As I’ve mentioned before, I rarely have time to get my books shelved, let alone straighten the shelves.
I’ve tried various other ideas to keep the library tidy in the past. Parent volunteers are great, but inconsistent. Student helpers do a good job for a few weeks, but then they get lazy and bored with the task. I’ve tried different incentive methods to motivate them, but none of them have been very effective. I’m hoping Adopt-A-Shelf will be the miracle my poor library shelves so desperately need.
How It Works
At the beginning of the school year, I will introduce Adopt-A-Shelf with the Powerpoint presentation and a live demonstration. Every 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade student will have the chance to adopt their very own library shelf. 3rd grade will be assigned shelves in the easy section, 4th grade will be assigned shelves in the chapter book section, and 5th grade will be assigned shelves in the nonfiction section. I’m not going to require students to participate this year, but I think the majority of them will want to.
Once students have selected a shelf, I will label it with their name. The students will be responsible for checking the books on their shelf to ensure they belong there, straightening their shelf by pulling all books up evenly to the front, making sure all spines are facing out and all call numbers are on the bottom, and checking the reshelf cart for books that belong on their shelf. Students may also recommend a book on their shelf by displaying it for their fellow students to see during checkout times.
At some point each week, I will choose one shelf from each section to be the Shelf of the Week. That shelf will be decorated with a gold star, and the student will also receive a Book Fair Buck. The Book Fair Buck will be good for $1 off a purchase at an upcoming book fair. I’m going to use some of my Scholastic Dollars credit for this incentive. I am planning to keep track of who wins each week, and I might even give some extra Book Fair Bucks to the student who has won Shelf of the Week the most times.
The one thing I haven’t decided yet is when to judge the shelves. Our library schedule is a little crazy, so I see students on various days. It’s not really fair to judge the shelves on Friday if the last day the students came to the library was Tuesday and seven other classes have checked out since then. I may do the shelf checks on random days: Monday one week, Thursday the next, etc. Just something to think about.
How can I do this in my library?
First, download my FREE Powerpoint presentation, gold Shelf of the Week stars, and Book Fair Bucks by clicking the links below. Next, introduce Adopt-A-Shelf to your students and demonstrate proper procedures. Finally, come back to Elementary Librarian and let me know how it goes! I can’t wait to hear your stories.
Free Powerpoint presentation - feel free to edit it! The file is large, so give it time to download.
Shelf of the Week star - Easy section
Shelf of the Week star - Chapter Books section
Shelf of the Week star - Nonfiction section
Shelf of the Week star - Everybody
Have you tried Adopt-A-Shelf? How does it work in your library? If you haven’t, do you think this could work for you? Share with us in the comments! Don't forget to SHARE this post if it's been useful to you!