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when I did my internship in a  K-5 school, the
librarian there had a large 3-ring binder with plastic
pages.  I believe the pages were designed to hold
business cards.  She labeled each page by teacher and
put the cards into the slots.  Whichever class came
into the library, she would open the binder to that
page and was able to scan in barcodes easily - through
the clear plastic.  It seemed efficient. Granted it
can be a hassle at the beginning of a new year when
all of the classes are rearranged, but this is just
one of many beginning of the year hassles...

What I have done in past positions was to have an
index card for each 
child.  They were laminated with the barcode already
on them.  Every 
fall the secretary printed me out the students i.d.
labels and they were 
put on the cards.  I used colored index cards so that
each grade had a 
different color.  The students kept the same card all
the way through 
school, and  I updated their cards with new i.d.
labels every year so I 
could sort by teacher.   When the rising 6th graders
moved onto middle 
school, their cards became the cards for kindergarten.
 Does this made 

When classes came in I had their cards laid out on a
table (a student 
would do this for me) so when it was checkout time
they found their own card.  Great for name recognition
in kindergarten.  You can also write notes on the
cards with a vis-a-vis pen, like if you had to ask
them a question about something.  It was a great
reminder for me sometimes.

I use "Avery Tabbed Business Card Pages" that I got at
Staples. I sort the kids by teacher and use a page or
two for each class. Each page holds 10 on a side. I
put my K's first alphabetically by teacher. Then I put
in a divider and do 1st, etc. I have 500+ kids in K-2.
Their cards and a set of class list printouts for
substitutes all fit in a three inch binder.

Our K students check out books but do not bring them
home (the books stay in their classroom), so I check
all the books out to the teacher. But, if your
students check out, the procedure described below
should work for them.
For our First to Fourth grade students, I print out
barcodes and attach the barcodes to color coded index
cards. For the younger ones I also write their name on
the card, since they may have problems reading the
small font on the barcode.  I keep the cards in a
rubber-banded stack and just before the class comes
in, I put the cards alphabetically into one of those
plastic pocket keepers (I think that is what they are
called) which I have hanging in a corner. When the
students have selected their book and are ready to
check out, they remove their card from the pocket
keeper and bring it up to the circ desk with their
book. When they hand me their library card, I scan it,
check out the book, and keep the library card, which I
will put out for their next visit.
For the Fifth through Eighth grade students: I figure
these are big guys and they need to be responsible for
their own library card, just like in real life. I
print the barcodes and attach them to index cards but
I don't keep the cards. I give them the cards and tell
them that they can't check out a book without it (like
American Express...don't leave the classroom without
it!). I also tell them they don't have to physically
have the card as long as they know their library card
number, which stays the same every year, and that I
will not tell them their library card number if they
forget it. (I am so mean.) They are to put their cards
in a safe place, usually their binder. I punched holes
in the cards ahead of time, although if you have too
many students you could have them do that.
 As a backup, I have the students write down their
library card number on the front page of their
homework assignment book, right underneath their
locker combination. Then I check to make sure they did
it. I have had very, very few students who have not
been able to remember their library card number. One
graduating 8th grader told me she would never forget
it! If they do come to the desk and don't remember
their number, I ask them to consult their homework
assignment book, which they have to carry with them
everywhere. Of course, if a student really needs a
book and doesn't remember their number or for some
reason doesn't have their assignment book or card with
them, I will check the book out for them (but I don't
tell them this when I go through the procedure
described above) "just this once."
This method puts the responsibility on them and makes
less work for me. I've found lost library cards, but
it doesn't matter because the kids know their number.
I've used this procedure for 8 years and have not
found any reason to change or modify it.

We use 3x5 index cards.  The secretary orders labels
for us.  The cards are placed on the table when
classes come in and students pick up their cards. 
Students coming in for free checkout just give their

I print barcodes and place them on laminated cards or
bookmarks for 
each child.  If the child forgets his library card, he
can use his lunch 
card because the numbers and protocols are the same. 
I'm sorry to say I have found no perfect plan.  This
year I am considering forsaking cards in favor of
printing out barcodes on regular paper using a
mailing label template (30 to a page) and arranging
them by homerooms on my desk. I doubt this will be a
great idea either.  I've also in the past printed the
labels on regular paper by homeroom and placed them in
a  folder on my desk.  Life was so much easier when
the kids student numbers were  only five digits and I
could remember each of them!

I make a library/computer lab card for the kids using
PowerPoint. I can 
get 4 cards on a page. We laminate them and keep them
in the library.

Our students only have three-digit numbers! The first
number indicates their graduation year. 345 equals
someone graduating in 2013. (I had to use 1000 for the
2010 ones - four-digits.)
This is easy for our students. I only make library
cards once when a student enters our school. That way
they know they have one from the beginning. If they
request one, I'll make another any time.
Since we have only 346 boys, they usually just
memorize their easy 
patron number. I use to have a Rolodex. It worked ok
but seemed unnecessary.  Now I just make a spreadsheet
in Excel and laminate it or use a plastic cover. One
side will hold our middle school names and numbers and
the back holds our HS names. One "flip over" sheet is
very handy. Also the list can be quickly updated.

We are 
automated; running Sagebrush InfoCentre.      I print
a patron barcode for each of my students on an Avery
mailing label.  I stick these in alpha order by last
name on a letter-size manilla filing folder that has
been cut down the fold (cutting makes it easier to
turn the "pages" later on).  Each homeroom has a
section, it usually takes 2 halves of the folder.  I
also include barcodes for common commands (check out,
check in, clear all, etc.  Whatever you tend to use
most) on each page. I also make  seperate pages for
faculty, staff, and parents (any patrons other than
students).  Next, I laminate the folder pieces, punch
on a three-hole punch, and put them in order (PreK-5,
staff last) in a three-ring notebook.  When a class
comes in, I simply open to their page and go. Oh, it
also helps to use colored folders and write the
teachers' names on the tabs for easy locating.  Put
your stickers on both sides of the folders, so when
you assemble the finished notebook, you have used
every surface.  Laminating keeps the barcodes clean
and readable for the entire year.

I have a binder with pages of barcodes by class and
then by name

I printed out the patron barcodes buy grade level
(alpha by last name). Then I put each sheet in a
plastic sleeve and put all of them in a 3 ring binder.
The binder tucks away when not in use and I can easily
skim the list of patrons on one sheet to find the name
and corresponding barcode. I also have a separate
faculty sheet.

I print the barcode labels out by homeroom and put
them in clear 
sleeves in a 3 ring notebook.

Our system (alexandria) allows us print patron
barcodes by class.  You 
could print them on card stock but we use regular
paper, because we 
have a large turnover and have to reprint each nine
weeks.  We use to 
slide the sheets into the clear document protectors
and put them in a three ring binder, but a few years
ago we purchased a "Durable Reference Systems" through
Demco. It's like a binder on a stand and the
protective sheets are very ridged.  You can check it
out at and type "Durable Reference
Systems" in the search box.  They are not cheap but
may be worth the extra money to you.

What works great for us, and has worked great for us
for 8 years, is a system of little plastic containers.
I went to Dollar General and bought small,
rectangular, plastic boxes with snap-on lids. One for
each class. The kids' barcodes are on card stock cards
in the boxes by classroom. When the class comes in,
the correct plastic box is opened and the cards are
spread on the counter. Each year the cards are
reshuffled to the correct boxes. 

At another of our schools, the librarian puts each
kid's barcode on a shelf marker. The shelf markers are
stored in the teacher's classroom, and the kid brings
her shelf marker when she comes to the library. When
the whole class comes, all the shelf markers come to
the library too. Through the years, the shelf markers
move through the classes with the students. 

A friend of mine started using manila folders. The
student bar code label fits in the label area, the
students can decorate them - and they use them as
shelf markers. They can also be used by the classroom
teacher as a pass to the library.

I was at a school of 400 students and made them their
very own library 
cards.  That way, when they came in, they knew to have
their card with 
them. I printed out their id's through our Follett
system- it worked really well.  The children loved the
idea of having their own card, and it was so much
easier and faster for us to check the books out to
We used card stock, made a template to fit 8 cards on
with a name and 
their id, printed out the barcodes and taped them on. 
Teachers laminated the cards and we provided a basket
for each teacher to hold the cards in.  WHen kids
needed them, they just went over, searched for their
card, and came right on in.

For my first and second graders, I make library cards
from colored index cards (each class has a different
color).  I stick the patron barcode on the "short" end
of the card, and when a child checks out a book the
child presents his/her card, I scan it and the
material barcode, and the child removes the white book
card from the pocket and inserts the library card with
the barcode label showing.  The book card goes into an
index file box divided into classroom teachers in the
order in which they visit the library (fixed

we have used colored index cards, a specific
color for each grade level that moves up with the
students.  That way you are only having to replace K
cards each year and add the new students.  I would put
their teacher's name on the back.  These were also
laminated so that they would last for a while.  At my
last school, we actually printed out a barcode sheet
for each class and then highlighted the girls' names
in pink and the boys' names in blue.  We put the
teacher's name & grade level at the top and kept these
in a notebook at the circulation desk.  It did take
some getting used to with so many names so close
together.  You have to be careful to make sure that
you have actually scanned the correct name before
proceeding with the checkout.  The kids actually got
pretty good at finding their names upside down if we
were having trouble locating them on the sheet.

Mari Ferguson, K-8 Librarian
Theodore Jamerson Elementary 
Bismarck, ND

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