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I can't resist responding to this hit.  Why would you limit the number of books a
child may check out, unless your collection is very small?  Don't we as adults
get unlimited check out at public libraries?  Where will children learn how to
handle unlimited check out unless they get the practice?  I have unlimited check
out in my K - 6 library, I lose very few books and I feel kids love to read
here.  When I first became a librarian, I did have a limit on the books a child
could take.  Then I noticed that the non readers, the children who did not like
to read, etc. figured out that if they took 2 books home and left them there all
year, they would never need to check out another book.......that convinced me
that a limited check out was detrimental to my goal of all kids reading all the
time....so I changed my policy, I have unlimited check out and it works for me.
I feel it trains kids to be responsible for books and trains them for adult use
of libraries.
ML Potter

Debra Ventling wrote:

> Thanks to everyone who responded so quickly to my request for check out
> policies.    Someone requested a hit and it is worth reading because of the
> variety of responses.
> Thanks again,
> Deb Ventling
> Berry Middle School
> debravent@aol.com
>  ***I was the only librarian at an K-8 school library for 12 years.  We
> limited student checkout to two books.  If a student had a project or report
> as well as a good return record, we allowed them to get any materials they
> needed.  With a K student I encouraged the parents to check out additional
> reading materials from us.  This got them into the library and involved in
> our program.  I realized that often parents are working so I also tried to
> accommodate special requests.  We had one K student on the Accelerated Reader
> program.  She was gifted and reading by the age of three   My philosophy with
> the little ones was the more they are read to the better.  The books don't do
> anyone any good sitting on the shelves.  I would use the caveat that the
> books should also be returned in a timely manner.  I had a few parents abuse
> the privilege.
> ***I am totally amazed that your district has a check out policy.  In my
> experience that is a decision left to the building librarian.  As a librarian
> I would have a problem with the district making that decision for me.  What
> rationale do they have?  While 2 books may be standard, I let my consistent
> readers check out up to 5.  When we are doing a reading incentive they can
> check out as many as they want.  Some kids with consistent overdues are
> limited to one at a time (or none).  I don't think there is one right answer.
>  Can schools issue parent cards?  That may be a way around...  Still, I vote
> with the father.
> ***I permit first graders to check out one book, all others two, for two
> weeks.  They come weekly.  I will permit another book if it is for a report.
> I find many students return their books weekly, but many do not finish a
> longer book in that time and must renew.  I hate to turn down those who beg
> for more but it is a practical matter.  First, what kind of help do you have
> with circulation and shelving?  This is all that we can handle without more
> paid help.  Is your collection large enough to support increased circulation?
>  If you allow one student to have more books, the others want it just as a
> matter of principle.  If you had flexible scheduling, it would be a moot
> point.  In my old school, I had open library before school for half an hour
> every day.  Some kids were there almost every day.  Some first grade teachers
> sent kids during the day every
> day so that they got a new book to read every day, even though it was just
> one.  But you need to be available and have staff to do the backup work.
> ***I usually have K take out one book, and then it goes up from there to a
> maximum of six. The rule, however, is very flexible. If a child is a
> voracious reader and the parent wants them to check out more books, I let
> them. I also  let the overdue policy slide a little with younger readers who
> are reading 2 or 3 years above their reading level. I don't expect a second
> grader to finish a 400 page book in a week. If they need a month, they get it.
> *** Our school system has not district policy on the number of books students
> may check out...that is left up to the school.  I can't speak for our middle
> schools & high schools...though I remember when I was in high school back in
> the early 1980's we could check out about as many as we wanted (could
> carry...ha..).  I'm in a primary school (pre-3) and I allow only 1 check out
> for pre-2 and two for third grade.  May want to keep in mind, are the middle
> school students dependable enough to check out more books.  How many books
> does this parent want their child to be able to check out?  Some of our elem.
> schools allow pre-3 to check out two books and 4-5
> to check out three I think.  If you're willing you could do a "trial" month
> to see.  That's what I did when we lost our 4-5 grades.  I told 3rd graders
> they were on a "trial" basis with 2 book-checkout and if they demonstrated
> they could deal with checking out two books...then that would benefit 3rd
> graders from now on.  They seem to do better than the 4-5 grades!
> ***I tell K-2 three books but never stop them if they go over.  Third and
> fourth are not limited unless they have outstanding overdues.
> ***Violating their rights?  It sounds like a parent with a personal agenda to
> me.  I always thought being able to check out books in a school library was a
> privilege, not a "right".  Anyway, climbing down off the soapbox, we also
> limit our kids to 2 books in grades 2-8, and 1 book in Pre-k, K, and grade 1
> ***We don't have "district" policy but I used to only allow two books (plus
> other materials) because that's what I knew from my children's school
> district.  Last year I increased to three for personal reading plus
> whatever's needed (within reason and availability) for research.   I haven't
> seen a problem with it at all.
> .
> ***I have different levels for grades. K and 1 may have 3 out at a time--2nd
> up to five-- and 3rd- 5th may have up to ten.  We limit all children to a
> maximum of three Accelerated Readers at a time due to number of books.  If a
> child can't keep up with his books, he knows we will decrease what he can
> have.  If a child proves responsible, then we override the limits.
> Fortunately, my collection has enough other books than Accelerated Readers to
> support the numbers.  Since we are on a total open schedule for circulation,
> the kids find they don't need to take as many books at
> a time. Sometimes, a child will be in the library 2-3 times in a day.  The
> longer readers come whenever they need.
> ***We actually state that the 2 is the MINIMUM that we would like them to
> check out -- one to read during directed self-reading time (usually at grade
> level; something they can read for themselves if grades 1 and up); and one at
> whatever topic etc. that the child wishes.  They are allowed to take whatever
> they can carry.  We do "suggest" at least 2 -- most are satisfied with that
> and are assured they can return ANY DAY -- any time teacher will allow,
> before and after school ALWAYS.   We don't even flinch at up to 5 but do
> verify with the child regarding responsibility of taking care of more than
> that etc. etc.  Most don't even get that many but LOVE the idea that they can
> if they wish. We only limit when child has difficulty keeping track of the
> books or if parents request.  Then whatever the parent requests goes.  Those
> who are  hronically
> overdue/late/lost etc. are limited depending on situation -- and that varies
> individually but is usually limited to 1 or 2 because of the black hole
> syndrome. And on a personal parent note -- I would be one of those
> complaining if my child were restricted to only 2 books.  Especially if the
> library was not on a flexible schedule.  Even the lest reading child of my
> six handled more than 2 books a week.  Sometimes he had to have one or two
> for an assignment and then IF I could get him to read a  informational book
> or fiction I sure did want him to be able to have that too.  My
> other children sometimes read 2-5 books a night and I am talking about
> 200-250 pages or more, each book. So a 2 book limited would really have been
> restrictive. Just my 2 cents worth.  I'm sure my experience as a parent has
> colored the way I see the "rules' of the library.
> Our policy is 3 books per student in grades 5-12 unless  (1) the student is
> working on a major research project in which case the limit goes up to 6
> books (teacher must have notified me of
> major research project in writing for this to kick in), or  (2) the student
> has a book  more than one semester overdue in which case the student is
> limited to 1 book in addition to the overdue item, or (3) the student has a
> book more than one year overdue in which case the student is not allowed to
> check out any additional books. I discussed possibility of unlimited
> checkouts at PTSA meeting last year, but teachers, parents, and students were
> definitely opposed.  The most common comments were that three books are
> enough to be responsible for, that we extend
> privileges for class projects as needed, and that students may change books
> during lunch if they can't get pass from teacher.
> I'd love to know what "right" a student has to unlimited checkouts -- I can't
> think of any "rights" that might apply unless Ohio has legal provisions we
> don't have in S.C.  Like my friendly judge says, "If you can't say "my right
> according to this provision of the Constitution or this law", then you ain't
> got no "right"!
> I think each library has to set what works best for them.  The size of the
> collection, the maturity of the students, the circulation system (is it
> electronic , or is it difficult to catch overdues, too many books out, etc.)
> I'd say it is a violation of someones rights only if one child is allowed
> more than another, and the limit on an individual is not based on legitimate
> reasons (I would consider losing books, etc. just cause to limit different
> from the rest of the building.)  I hope this makes sense. I am in a middle
> school, 6 years ago when I came the limit was 3.  I do not have electronic
> circulation, and when I did overdues I would find several students with 4-5
> overdues.  I then changed it to 2 and stuck to my guns.  I am now installing
> Follett and will be changing it to 4or 5, because the system will catch the
> problems.  Also, how often are the children allowed to come to the library?
> The more often, the smaller the number should be.
>     Good grief!  Violating her rights, eh?  This is a parent who needs
> something bigger to think about - world hunger, maybe.     Anyway...we also
> restrict children to two books at that grade level, but if a parent (or
> child) complains, this is what I do:  I explain that we have the restriction
> because we know how hard it is to keep track of books at home and we don't
> want a child to become overwhelmed with lost or overdue books and come to be
> afraid or angry about the library, a place we want her to love.  That said,
> if a parent would like a child to be allowed to borrow a greater number of
> books, a signed noted to that effect can be sent to us, and we will up
> that child's limit.  You might think that this would have a ripple effect,
> but, surprisingly, it doesn't.  Most kids are quite happy with two books at a
> time and say that they can keep track of two and return them when they want
> new ones.
> This works for our K-4 school, K - 1 book per week, keep in classroom for
> first semester, can take home second semester.  Grade 1 - 1 book, Grade 2 - 2
> books, 3 if child is a trusted patron (habitually returns books on time)  2nd
> graders are also encouraged to return and check out before their scheduled
> library time if they finish with their books. Grade 3 - 3 books, 4 if child
> is a trusted patron, Grade 4 - "unlimited within reason" for a two-week check
> out is needed, and most do.  I don't want them to avoid checking out longer
> chapter books because they think they may not be able to finish.  Another
> reason for "unlimited" is because they read to their K and 1st
> grade buddies.  I also encourage them to take out easy books to read to
> younger siblings.  They also may have classroom research and may just want to
> check out informational books to meet their own interests.  I tell our fourth
> graders this year is their last chance to read all the books in our library.
> Frankly, the liberal policy for 4th grade does not result in more lost books,
> I've found.  They love the additional responsibility and I just want them to
> as much reading as they can possibly do.
> I let my 5th grade check out 1, my 6th grade check out 2.  With 30 classes a
> week, that's as many as I can handle for shelving.
> Our district has no policy. I limit 1st and 2nd graders..After that, when
> asked, "How many may I  check out?" My reply is,"How many can you be
> responsible for?"  -Of course above 4 I take note if child is responsible...
> We are on flex so they can return often to get more/exchange what they
> have
> **We generally follow the limits listed below.  But, on a case-by-case basis
> we do allow students to exceed the limit if they are avid readers, show
> responsibility, etc., etc. K-1        1-3=2      4-5=3     6-8=5      9-12=no
> limit, but after 10 the computer alerts us
> **We allow 1 book only to K - 1- and 2 grades, after Christmas the 2nd grade
> will be allowed 2.  3rd and up are only allowed 3 at a time.  I have never
> had a complaint.  I do have parents who would like their children to have
> more books and I tell them that is fine if they want to come in and check out
> books in their own name for their child.  some do and some don't want to
> bother but that is our policy.  They seem to change their mind a little when
> I remind them that they as a parent are responsible for lost or damaged books
> their child may check out.  They really think about the responsibility end
> and if their child is ready for more books.  If they are they check them out
> in their own name.
> Oh for crying out loud.......my policy is one book for K-1, 2 books for  2-5,
> and 3 books for 6-8. I'm open from 7:30 AM till 5:30 PM Monday  through
> Friday. A student can exchange books daily, hourly if need be.  We have a
> limited collection. I see no need for them to check out an  armful of books
> that they can't read all at once anyway.........  I understand the public
> libraries letting people check out armfuls of  books since most people don't
> walk by the library on a daily basis and  it's more convenient for the patron
> to check out lots of books at once.  Our public library has a three week
> check out time. I only have one  week.....because the student can get in
> and out daily....  sigh....good luck....what is the parents point???
>  I work in a Middle High School Library (grades 7-12) and I DO NOT limit the
> number of titles a student can check out UNLESS they have more than 5
> overdues.  Then they must return everything before they can check out more
> books.  So far, I haven't had any problems.    I started the overdue limit
> when I began having problems with prolific readers never returning anything.
>   I ended up calling a student's home when she had 20+ overdues, and I don't
> ever want to have to do that again.
>   Just my 2c!
> I couldn't imagine the adminsitration setting a limit to the amount of books
> that could be check out.  My district does it on a case by case basis.   Some
> students should only have one book at a time, others can handle the
> responsibility of five or six.  What do you do if the student has a research
> assignment?  If they have two books for that, then they wouldn't have any
> room left over for recreational reading books.
> At our middle school, it's a four-book limit.  I have no idea how having such
> a policy violates anyone's rights, but if you find out that it does, please
> share with the group.
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