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    1.  1.       I  don't label my books but I do have a different sections 
based on reading  level.  For instance, all picture books are in the E 
(Everybody)  section.  Easy Chapter books are books that are great for 2nd and 3rd  
graders.  I have them marked with a call number EC, last name, first  name.  
These have an orange sticker on the very top and are located in  their own 
section next to the easy books.  These books are then followed  by Juvenile books 
and Juvenile nonfiction.  With my second and third  graders, the teachers and I 
really steer them towards the easy chapter  books.  I tell them that they can 
check out any books from this section  but if they want to check out a book 
from the juvenile section, they need to  visit with me or their teacher first.  
The reason we started this was  because we had a bunch of second graders start 
to check out "thick" books or  Goosebumps books simply because they saw 
someone else do it.  They had no  real intention of reading the book.  By having 
them check with us first,  we can do a spot check to make sure the book is 
appropriate and would be a  good reading match for the student. 
    1.  This  year for the first time I have begun to label such books. This 
is due to a  parent who caused quite a stir over a cat encyclopedia (another 
whole  story!). We now put a sticker on any book that we are limiting (we are 
also  a K-5 school) to just the older kids. I even have put some books behind 
the  desk where the kids have to ask for them. This is because they are very  
poplar books for gr. 3 - 5, and the kids were hiding them around the library  
so they would be there when they wanted them!!  I  also had a first grader take 
out one of the high-interest, low voc. books we  have in a series on monsters 
and his mom was quite upset because the  pictures in the books (awesomely 
gruesome - the older boys love them!) gave  him horrible nightmares. These books 
we labeled for the older grades (which  is who we bought them for originally 
anyway) and put a note in the child's  record so he doesn't take them again. I 
really don't like doing this - but  since we have limited them to the older 
grades we haven't had any parental  problems.
    1.  I  put colored spine labels protectors on my books.  I used green for 
 primary and clear for upper.  Our rule was a primary student could  choose 
any green tag with no questions.  A clear tag had to be checked  by an adult, 
usually me.  I would have them read out loud to me for  comprehension.  At that 
point many students made their own decision  that it was an inappropriate 
choice.  For inappropriate topic, the  explanation that it is not age appropriate 
was usually accepted.  On  occasion, I had some students who insisted on 
checking out a book that I  felt was inappropriate.  Then I encouraged them to 
return the book and  get a new one if they didn't like it, or mom didn't approve. 
 I had few  problems.  I also had a "helping" category.  A primary student  
could check out 1 book that mom, dad, nanny, or other adult reader could  read 
to them or with them. I had many above grade level read at my school,  close 
to 75%.  Many of my primary students could and would read the  clear tags.  Use 
them as a guide to appropriate books. In reverse the  upper grade teachers 
would question a student that was reading to many green  tags, especially for 
book reports. 
    2.  We  use the AR system of LG, MG, and UG for interest levels. We 
include the  interest level with the AR levels and points on small label inside 
each  book. I teach the students what the interest levels mean and how it changes 
 the content of the book. It helps the students evaluate for themselves  
whether the book is right for them and to look at the content more closely  if 
    1.  I  serve a K-4 school.  We use AR.  My solution may not be considered 
 'correct' policy but does help with the situation you mention. First, I  
present a short lesson to each class about AR points.  I show them that  it is 
easier to earn AR points by reading lots of books. 
Reading and  testing on the short books will earn points faster.  I ask a 
child how  long it  might take them to read this novel.  2 weeks is often the  
answer.   I tell them they might answer 7 out of the 10 questions  correctly 
because they will forget some of the answers.  They may  answer them all 
correctly and earn the 10 points for that book.  I ask  another
child how many short books can be read in one day.  2-4  books.   We do the 
math.  4 books a day for 5 days a week for  2 weeks.  They could earn 20 points 
in the same 2 week  period.   I tell them that reading books for fun is more 
important  than reading the books with the most AR points.  Of course, it is 
often  teachers or parents who need this lesson more than the  students.

The second  solution is the way I arrange the library.  I place more books in 
the  Easy section.  I limit K-2 to these books.  About the second  semester I 
introduce second grade to nonfiction books.  I start third  graders with 
chapter books. I am alone with no help maintaining this  collection as well as a 
separate collection to support reading.  I  train my students to use 
self-check-out and to replace the books on the  shelf.  It is not perfect .I do 
to your problem.  Some of  the biggest complaints I receive come from the art 
books and Italy books  with pictures of classic art.
    1.  A  possible response to this is to label the books by the AR level. 
Students  know their particular level and would know to steer away from that  

Also, there is the basic five-finger test. A child randomly  chooses a 
page from the book. They have to read the entire page. For  each word 
they are unable to read/understand, they put up a finger. At  the end 
of the page, the child should have no more than three fingers  up. 

The rating system:
0 fingers= too easy
1 finger= just  right
2 fingers= a little challenging
3 fingers= challenging (but  still acceptable)
4 fingers= too challenging
5 fingers=  inappropriate

Most students won't lie about having conducted the five  finger test. 
However, you may wish to set up a buddy system. Given the  limited time available 
you, you may wish to ask the teacher to select the  "buddies." If the teacher 
remains in the library (which would be an extra  set of hands), the students 
could be asked to double-check with the  teacher.
    1.  I  think I would probably post the interest levels somewhere in the  
library.  I think they are:
Lower  Grades:  Kinder-3rd    Middle Grades:   4th-8th     Upper  Grades:  
The  interest levels are put out by the publisher, not AR, and you can have 
them  printed on your AR lablels.  I would hold the kids to those levels except 
 under special circumstances.   
    1.  I  solved the problem by having EC (Early Chapter books) and FIC. THE 
EC  shelves are for grades 1-3, and reading K. The Fic are for grades 3-6.
It  really slows down the 1-2s who are trying to get to the BIG books. It 
takes  time to relabel the books, but once you do, it is a wonderful  collection.
    1.  After  reading your post on LM_Net, I don't know if my experiences 
are  helpful or relevant, but your experience certainly struck a chord. I am in  
my first year as a school librarian in a 7-9 junior high, but I've been at  
the same school as an English teacher for over a decade. The previous  
librarian was always fairly liberal in her selection choices, and became  even more 
in her last few years. I have continued this trend. Her  rationale was always 
that we have high schoolers in our school -- ninth  graders -- so we need to 
have at least some things that support the reading  habits of the most 
advanced and/or mature freshmen. Then again, some of  those books might not be the 
best choices for seventh graders -- especially  in the first couple months of 
the school year when they are still  essentially tender little sixth graders who 
haven't been exposed much to the  big scary world of junior high school yet. 
The previous librarian  tended to steer these younger kids away from certain 
books, or at least make  a disclaimer, something like, "This book has some 
rough language/mature  situations/high school-y content, and if that's going to 
turn you off or  upset your parents, I can help you find another book."
I've  continued this policy, but what I think I've noticed this year is that 
the 7th  graders, especially the girls, are the ones MOST likely to check out 
all the  "edgy" books. For a while this fall, for example, a whole group of 
7th grade  girls were tenaciously tracking down all the books about gay kids and 
passing  them around and recommending them to each other and putting holds on 
them. Now  they're over it. I think they heard that there were a couple ninth 
graders who  were gay, and this was their "safe" way to find out  more. 
Other  than our casual (and probably pretty hit-and-miss) readers' advisory 
attempts,  we do not label our books in any way or restrict check-outs by grade 
level. I  realize this may seem like a more touchy subject in an elementary  
school than in a junior high, but I think in this way it is the  same: 
sometimes this is just how kids learn things and find out about the  "shocking" 
of life that no one will tell them about and they would be  mortified to 
bring up with anyone. Maybe it's better they read books about  this stuff than 
just listen to playground gossip??? 
    1.  I  struggled with this for years too. I'm in a K-8 school, so our  
age/appropriateness span is even wider than yours. I strongly believe in  
self-selection too, but after a point I felt like I wasn't helping them  become 
better readers, especially when the middle school  students
couldn't read Lord of the Rings for weeks on end because we had  a crew of 
first grade boys who insisted on dragging them around for weeks  simply so they 
could gaze at the cool covers! They kept insisting their  parents would read 
them these and similar titles, but I had my  doubts
I finally went through the entire fiction section and asked  myself "Would I 
have purchased this book for this school if we went only  through 5th grade?" 
The books for whom the answer was "no" got YA stickers  on their spines, and I 
put them in a separate section of the library.   Only our 6-8 school students 
are allowed to check these books ut, or even  browse those shelves.  
Honestly, most of the younger kids aven't even  noticed that the ection is there.  
Once in a while they ill stumble on  one via OPAC (Harry Potter V, for example) 
and wonder hy they can't find it  on the shelf.  Then I just smile and say "Oh 
that's in the  middle school section.  You may check that book out when ou're 
in  middle school, OR you may have your mom write me a note saying t's OK for 
 you to check out that book even though it's in the middle School section, OR 
 you may go to the public library with your mom and find it there."  So  far 
it's worked just fine.  The middle school kids like having their  own section 
- after browsing the same fiction shelves since the primary  grades, it's like 
a whole new world.  And the younger kids actually  have an easier time 
finding appropriate books with the too-hard titles out  of the way. 
    2.  We  are a brand new K-8 school and we have labeled books that we feel 
are  inappropriate for younger students because of mature content.  We have  
put a red "UG" both on the spine, and beside the  barcode.

Ruie Chehak, Library  Media Specialist
Sallie Jones Elementary School
1230 Narranja  Street
Punta Gorda, FL  33950
"Be who you are  and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter 
and those who matter  don't mind." ~ Dr. Seuss
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