I am asked by students everyday, “How many books can I check out?” My answer is simple, “How many would you like?” Of course, they are shocked and amazed! “You mean I could take all four of these?”
I don’t put limits on how many books a student checks out, nor do I charge fines. These are things that just keep students out of the library and books wasting on the shelves. What good is that?
I ask the students to bring the books back in three weeks, but I don’t charge fines or hound them about it. I send out reminders about every 6-9 weeks.
I believe that a book in a student’s hand is better than a book getting moldy on the shelf. Other librarians tell me, “Well, I sure don’t get enough money to just throw books out the door!” I explain that I am not throwing books out the door. And yes, a few books get lost in the school year, but they were going to anyway! We never get back all the books that go out the door. So what?! Replace it or buy a new title. Books in hands are still better than books on shelves. If the student loses a book, he has to pay for it; Well, that is in a perfect world.
My students rise to the expectation that I set. They come back in three weeks and either return or recheck a book. I ask them a little about the book. I hate when a student returns a book and I how they liked it and they say, “I never got to read it.” My reply? “Here recheck it! Or let’s get you something you will love!”
Books on a shelf is just a waste of district money, but books in students’ hands can change their lives!