Over the years I've struggled with perfecting the checkout system for my classroom library. I have about a thousand books available to my students, so management can be a bit hairy. I've attempted the "just trust them" system, the old-school card checkout system, and the write it down on a sheet of paper system. None of these worked for me. A lot of my books would disappear. It was frustrating to lose books, because I LOVE my books. My kids promised that they tried to keep track of my books, but sometimes they just *disappeared*. I wanted to continue to offer this service to my kiddos, but I needed to find some kind of solution.
Last summer, I decided to go the high-tech route. I knew I could do it because of the sheer amount of technology I had available in my classroom. I just had to decide what I wanted to use-- computer, iPad, iPods. I read all summer about great websites and apps that could be used to monitor your library, but none of them seemed to be something I thought I would stick to. Finally, I decided why not just use something I already access everyday-- Google! I've been in love with Google and all of its products for years (I'm still a little bitter about having to say goodbye to Reader though). I've been using Google Drive's Forms in my classroom for 4 years now. If you don't use forms-- you should! This year I decided that I should use Forms for my classroom checkout system. I didn't have to decide what platform to use this on, because my form would be available on all devices that could access the web.
So, I used Google Forms to create this:
I then set this as one of the links on our homepage (I use Tizmos as the homepage on my computer because it allows for students to quickly access the websites we use most often). Every time a student wanted to check out a book, they would go to the nearest device and check out their book. Once the students enter their information on the form, it is all transferred by Google to a spreadsheet that looks like this:
When the students returned book, the placed them in a big purple bucket. I then trained my classroom librarian to access the form and check books back in from the bucket before placing them back in their genre bucket in the library. The job got to be quite big, so my librarian chose an assistant and trained her on how to use the form as well. Every week or two they would take a few minutes to ask students who had books out if they knew the whereabouts of the book. It made book check out and return so much easier this year! I didn't really have to do anything, and I lost VERY few books. If I were remaining in the classroom, this is definitely what I would continue using.
I hope that you can use something like this in your classroom. Comment if you have any questions!