Due to a 70 minute Reading block and six 50 minute scheduled Library Special classes a day at my school, there's only 20 minutes left at the beginning of the day for ‘Open Check-out’. I had to get creative in order to get 700 students into the library to check out books when they needed them.
I implemented ‘Flex Check-Out’ during Library Special classes. This allows one student from each class to visit the library to return their book and check out another while a class is having their scheduled Library Special. The student visiting for ‘Flex Check-Out’ must bring their Library Pass. Each class is given one Library Pass. When the student goes back to class with their new library book, they also take their Library Pass with them. When another student is ready to check out, they can then use the Library Pass to come, as permission is given by their teacher.
I purchased the heavy duty, angled shelf markers in two colors, yellow for First Grade and blue for Second Grade. With a sharpie, ‘Library Pass’ was written in large block letters, the teacher’s name, and the times for ‘Flex Check-Out.’ These shelf markers are different from the library shelf markers, making it easy to identify who is in the Library Special class and who is visiting for ‘Flex Check-Out’ and their grade level.
During library orientation lessons at the beginning of the school year, I explained, demonstrated and discussed the uses and rules of using the Library Pass. Students were told that as they visited during ‘Flex Check-Out’ they were to enter quietly, not disturb the class during large group instruction, and ‘take care of business’ - find a book, check out and get back to class. If a student visits the library without their Library Pass, they are sent back to the classroom to get it. This Library Pass ensures that the student was given permission to leave the classroom and come to the library.
While I am instructing the Library Special class in large group, my assistant is available to the visiting students. When the Library Special class is up checking out library books, I am up and available to all students who are checking out books.
The students and teachers have embraced the Flex Check-Out time and it has allowed students to have a new book any day they need one.
Today's post is written by Connie Robinson, a National Board Certified Librarian. Connie has been a librarian for 11 years at Bramlett Elementary in Oxford, MS.