Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Lowdown on Summer Checkout

My favorite, favorite line from a student came yesterday as she peeked into the bag with her name on it. It deserves a bigger, hot pink font...

"It's like opening a present from the library!"

And like The Grinch, my heart grew three sizes!

already "missing" a copy
For the past two years, I have opened my middle school library to students in the summer. While I wasn't ever really busy in the summers, we always had a handful of students who took advantage of it. We would even have some regulars who would stay from open to close, just for a cool place to beat the Texas heat.

This summer, due to energy conservation efforts in my district, I am not going to be able to open. So instead, I came up with what I think is a better plan anyway.

Generally, students who plan to return to our school next year are able to checkout up to ten library books for the summer. The books are due back by the first week of school in August. If it goes well this year (i.e., we get all of our books back in August), we may raise the limit to 15 next year.

(all 7 copies--OUT!!)
Because I've never done anything like this before, I required parent permission for students to be able to participate. Students interested in checking out for the summer must also have had a "responsible" library record this year, which basically means I did not have to contact their parents about a long-outstanding overdue book.

One of my favorite options is the option for my aide and I to pick some or all of the checkout books for our students. This was completely optional, but many of our students rely on our recommendations for much of what they read. Of the 50+ students participating (so far, we're still getting forms in), nearly all of them requested we pick at least some of their books for them. Several asked us to pick all ten. I love that--it shows how many really trust our recommendations. Smiles!!!

(never even got shelved)
Which brings us to this last week of school. We've been gathering the books into grocery sacks labeled with student names. We organized them onto tables alphabetically (the books were already checked out inside the bag). At the end of the day, the students came by, picked up their bags, and were all set!


Looking forward to next year, I am going to see if I can find vendor(s) to donate some of those vinyl and canvas bags we see all over the library conventions. I bet some of them would be willing to donate, which would make it even more special for the kids. Considering the huge response we got this year (being only our first year doing it), I'll probably need at least 100 bags!

 Happy summer, everyone!

Google Doc of permission form I used (feel free to use, modify, blah, blah, blah)

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