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Thank you for your thoughtful responses on assigning students to help maintain 
shelves.  I think I will give it a go.  Responses are posted below.
I have student assistants in grades 3-5 "adopt" a
shelf. They come in at least once a week (usually
more!) to make sure it is tidy, there are books on
display, it's dusted, etc. Once we've had some time to
practice the kids also put away books and shelf read.
We have a label on the shelf that says "This shelf has
been adopted by . . ." and they like that. In fact,
new kids are always asking if they can adopt shelves.
So far I have only been able to manage about 20
helpers. This year I am also encouraging them to do
book recommendations--something like a bookstore and
staff recommendations.

Harmony Hills Elem.
I tried "adopt a shelf" with the fifth graders last year.  They are my oldest kids.
Didn't work. They're too young. Not really interested.
Good Luck. 
I assign each 5th grade student 1 shelf in the fiction area.  Their job is to make 
sure the books are in an upright position and that only the correct books are in 
that area.  
I am a GSLIS student at
Simmons College in Boston. I saw your posting on
LM_NET and thought I would share with you my
experiences. When I was in middle school I was a
library aid. We were "graded" on how well we could
shelve books. Often, the librarian would give us about
6-8 shelves and within that section we were supposed
to make sure that all the books were put in the
correct place. This had it's pros and cons to it.
First of all it did give me some ownership over the
books and it made me feel like I was contributing.
However it did become a bit pressing at times since we
were "graded" on how well we did (we lost one grade
per 5 wrong books). Overall though I think it is a
good idea to have students be in charge of specific
sections of the library. I'm not sure exactly of your
situation, but I think if you assigned each student
helper a couple of shelves or a couple of areas and
they were responsible for them, that would be great. I
think it would help instill a sense of ownership in
the library for them. I hope this helps some.

The former media specialist at our school did that with student aides and I never 
liked that method. For one thing, the number of students varies and sometimes you 
don't have enough so you have some sections that no one does. Also, it's hard to 
divide them fairly. And once you assign shelves to students, no one wants to do 
anything but their own section.
I've started a new system recently that seems to be working out better. I have a 
stack of 4X6 index cards. Each one has the range of a section at the top -- e.g., 
600 - 659.999. There is a place on the card for a student to put his/her name and 
the date that he/she worked on the shelves. 
I hand these cards to students when they are available to help me -- both my 
assigned student aides and volunteers. This way I can determine which shelves 
haven't been read for awhile and I can also check up on how well a student is 
Our school has decided to have "clubs" one Friday each month.  I am 
going to be sponsoring a Library Club.  For students in grades k-2, I 
will be reading a story and having them create an art product.  For 
grades 3-4, I will assign them to a specific area.  However, if one's 
area is completed and another section needs help, I  will ask them to 
lend a helping hand.

I made a floor plan using 3D Architect (cost was $10 from Wal-Mart).  It is very 
easy to do- actually, some of my helpers is using it to make floor plans for our 
middle school library.
I color code each run of shelves and list other duties (i.e. wiping down tables and 
chairs, dusting around computers and microfiche readers). I always make sure the 
number of "areas" available corresponds to the number of aides I have.  As my 
workers come in, they are allowed to pick the area they want to be in charge of 
(first come, first serve).  I post this floor plan and list of things to do on door 
where they hang their ids.
I ask that they check their "area" weekly to dust with a Swiffer and face the books 
up.  They are also to check for books that are out of place. 
I have to remind them the first couple of weeks.  Of course, I always tell them 
homework come first.

You might ask for volunteers. Assign a column of shelves to each student.
Put his/her name at the top of the column. Grade their books for accuracy on
the day they clean and prepare the stacks. Confer with their English
teachers to see if they can get bonus points.
Good luck.
We have a Shelf Adoption program I started four years ago at my library.
Students in grades 2-8 are eligible.  2nd and 3rd grades do Easy section
shelves or Fiction shelves.  4th and up may do non-fiction shelves.

Students pick one shelf.  I make labels on the p-touch labeler that say:
"This shelf adopted by ______ "  Several times a month I inspect the
shelves.  Depending on the age, they must have the books all standing
upright, none backwards, none upside down, etc.  As they get older, I
require them to remove any books that obviously do not belong on that shelf.

You can also print out shelf lists for each student, but my students were so
ocd with it I stopped doing so.  If we have the "F" books on the "F" shelf,
I'm happy.

If students pass inspection, they receive a smiley face by their name in my
grade book.  Smiley faces may be used to check out additional books, or
traded in for prizes at the end of the year.  Up until this year I've always
traded one for one, little stuff from Oriental Trading Co.  Last year I also
had some stuffed animals of my own that I donated, and picked up some little
inexpensive video games and radios at Wal-Mart ($1.00 apiece).  These I
raffled off, one per class.

This year I plan to purchase some larger items, such as those little $20.
b/w tv's, radios, etc.  I also have some porcelain dolls I'm donating, and
some more stuffed animals.

We only have 180 students in the school, and only 60 or 70 actually adopt
shelves.  So it's not that expensive, and all the prizes I purchase come out
of my supplies budget.
You might could also get local merchants and parents to donate items.

The students usually do a great job.  They're also a big help when we have a
"happening" in the library, and need to make the place look good.
(Straightening shelves, etc.)

They really do take ownership of the library now.  They get VERY upset if
anyone "messes up" their shelf.  They also inspect the shelves in our public
library branch to see how well they shelve!

Hope this helps!  If you need any more information, please email me.

I am in a K-8 school with @ 500 students and  have a program I call
Adopt A Shelf.  I reserve the option to participate for 4th and 5th
graders.  They can sign up to adopt the shelf that might have their
favorite book/books.  This helps to get volunteers in the non fiction
section.  The girls love the horse section and the boys are great about
both sports and cars.  There is always a group that favor an author and
will take that fiction shelf.  We write down the student name and the
section they want.  I then display the list in the library with some
fancy art work or cut outs (just to catch attention of other grades). 
I use about the last 5 minutes of library class for shelf time.
It works pretty well and most of all takes all the burden off me since
I have a fixed schedule with no help.

Good Luck!

I remember clipping an article from a professional periodical about
having students "adopt a shelf " to take care of.  For record keeping
you could have adoption papers drawn up.  Don't know what to do if the
kids drop the ball.  There is no "Shelf Protective Services"
When I was an assistant in an elementary school library, we had a student
library helper program for 3rd and 4th graders.  Initially, the
shelf-reading part of it was set up so that one student would be responsible
for the same shelf of picture books for the entire semester.  For some kids,
this worked very well.  But some kids (no matter how hard we tried) never
really grasped the concept of alphabetizing by three letters.  The shelves
assigned to those kids were never quite right.  And some kids got really
bored by having the same shelf each week and just gave them a very quick
once-over instead of looking at each spine label.  So, we changed the
system.  We assigned a number to each shelf, indicated by a small sticker in
the upper right inside, so as not to confuse anyone looking for a book.
Then we created a checklist (in Excel) with the shelf numbers down the left
side, then a space for the date, and a space for the students' initials
beside each number.  Library helpers would look at the list and read the
next shelf on the list, then enter the date and their initials when they
were done.  This solved the boredom problem; kids usually got a different
shelf to read each week.  And if a particular student wasn't the best shelf
reader, the mistakes could be corrected by the next student.

I hope this helps.  If you have any other questions, I'd be happy to share
what worked for us.

Best wishes,
Funny you should bring this topic up.  I have 5 elem. schools to see to
and the days get pretty hectic.  Now I am not such a fuss budget that the
shelves have to be perfectly lined up at all times.  I do like the room to
appear 'used' after all.  But it was to the point of sloppy.  So this year
I assigned a section ( up and down ) to each student in 3 -4 -5 and they
are responsible for checking it over before the class leaves the media
center.  What an improvement it has been.  I haven't gotten into checking
call numbers yet, but they have picked up on that by themselves.

I am lucky to have a student aide each class period.  I have assigned
each a set of shelves to maintain.  They are responsible for dusting,
arranging, and reshelving those books.  It has made my life easier.  I
make spot checks to keep them in line.  If there are a lot of mishelved
books, it affects their grade. 

I worked this in with my 4th graders.  I had them practice a lot of shelving first. 
 We did a lesson where they came to the library to find books on the tables, and 
they worked in groups to organize the piles the way they would be on the shelves.  
Then the next week we had relay races.  I made fake spine labels out of 
construction paper, making sure I had the same number of each color, and they went 
one at a time per team to shelf the fake spine label.  Then I awarded prizes not to 
the fastest team, but the most accurate team.  The next week, I passed out a 
worksheet with spine labels on it, and had them organize them.  They had to 
demonstrate to me that they could do that worksheet without any help or any 
problems, and then I assigned them a shelf.  They loved it!
Thanks again!
Danna DeMars, LMS
Garrett Elem
Hazelwood, MO

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