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Elementary Checkout Ideas

Updated: Jun 28, 2019

Dear Dr. Laura,

I’m going to be working in an elementary library and am trying to figure out how to manage my checkout time when I have the students. Do you have any ideas? I’m drawing a blank.


Solution-less Librarian

Hello, Solution-less Librarian!

Hang in there! There are lots of solutions out there for your situation! I posed this question to the Future Ready Librarians group on Facebook. You can see many of their ideas here.

Similar to last week, I recommend that you decide what kind of routine you want to establish for your students’ checkout. There are a lot of pieces involved in the checkout process.

WHO - Will you be the one scanning the student books in and out? Or will you teach students to self-checkout. A very popular Facebook answer was related to teaching your students to do self-checkout. To be honest this will take a lot of training, but will be well worth the effort. I personally have seen Kinders do self-checkout in the spring. You may want to consider starting this with your older students and getting all the details worked out before you move down to the lower grades.

WHAT - What will your students use to help with checkout? WIll you print individual library barcode labels? Where will you put them? On library cards? On reading folders they bring in weekly? On shelfmarkers they carry around when they are browsing? On a single page per teacher? Or will you allow the students to key in their number on a 10 keypad that may mimic what they currently use in your cafeteria?

Brooke Davis: I ordered small post cards on Vista Print. I put student barcodes on the big purple space. I’m 3rd-5th grade elementary school.

WHEN - Can students only checkout books during their regularly scheduled library time? Or will you be creative and figure out a way to have “open” times when students can checkout with your aide or self-chcekout. It can be difficult to teach a class and have other students come in and out doing self-checkout. So, be very methodical in teaching self-checkout if you go that route.

Kathryn Johnson Tharrington: “Barcode on a folder. This can be used for reading logs and AR levels too.”

WHERE - Where do you want them to checkout? At the circulation desk? At a separate table where you set up a self-checkout station? Will you call them up by table group or some other grouping scheme. I do recommend a small group at a time coming to your circulation desk or self-checkout station.

You’ll also need to think about the best place to store your library cards or sheets if you choose that option. It will need to be centrally located to your circulation desk or self-checkout station. If you are using a 10 key pad, you might consider 2 keypads. One for your circulation desk and one for your self-checkout station.

Amy Christianson Mitchell: “Self checkout station for students in grades 3-5 (maybe 2nd next year) with student barcodes in a binder arranged by homeroom.”

WHY - With a little forethought you’ll have plenty of solutions ready to help make checkout a snap! Don’t feel solution-less. There are a lot of librarian groups on social media who are ready, willing, and able to help you get off to a great start!

Dr. Laura

Librarian Influencer of the Week: the Facebook Group “Future Ready Librarians”

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