Book Check Out Form: My classroom library solution

I love teaching with technology, but as an English teacher I also love books. Seeing my students read, get hooked on reading, and grow as readers are among my greatest joys as an educator. Maintaining a large and diverse classroom library is a huge part of making my students into life long readers. Loosing books is an inevitable part of working with kids and books. Recently I heard Penny Kittle say, "If you aren't loosing 15% of your classroom library every year than you probably don't have the right books in it." (She attributed it to someone else but I can't recall who.)

I teach 9th graders. I want them to read daily, try on a book before they borrow it, and have as many books out at a time as they need. I used to use a clipboard with a log. Students wrote down the title, author and date they borrowed the book. When they returned it they added the date returned. But often there was a line of 5-6 students waiting to write on the log, and many more just gave up waiting, took the book home and never brought it back.

Then I started using a Google form as my library check out system. Students can "check out" their book from the form using their Chromebooks in class and even their phones. No one has to wait in line because they can do their check out from their desk. I added a button to our class blog for the book check out form.

Of course all entries end up in a spreadsheet, which I can sort by name and period. That makes it easy for me to group all the books checked out by my third period students and ask them about them once in awhile. Really, being able to sort this data is such a huge advantage over a paper clipboard.

When students return items I ask them to use a small sticky note to put their name on the front of the book. Then they add them to the book return box. When the box gets full I sit down with the stack, open my spreadsheet of checked out books, and use Ctrl+F. The Ctrl+F (or Command+F on Mac) opens a search box for my sheet. I type in a bit of the title of the book or the student's name and find the entry. I add the date the book was returned in the returned column. Then I copy that date and use it as I "check in" all the other books. When my return box is really full this takes me 10 minutes. Then I reshelve the books.

Typically, I also sort my sheet by the returned date at this point and copy/paste all the returned books to another tab in my spreadsheet called "returned." Then I delete the rows of returned books from the page with the form submissions. Having done this all year, I know my students have returned roughly 900 books. That doesn't mean they read them all, and there are still about 5-10% of books that don't get checked out. Often they do get returned though. I calculate that 5-10% rate because that's roughly the number of books I find in the return box that aren't actually checked out.

You can see my book check out form HERE.
You can have a copy of my book check out form. You'll need to make edits to adapt it for your classroom. MAKE A COPY.

I'd love to hear how others manage classroom libraries.