Whenever adults ask me about why kids like to check books out of my classroom library, I always give the same response. Sure, I could say it’s because I love graphic novels and have bookshelves full of them. I could say that my rules are lax, and I’m not a huge stickler for timelines and due dates (I don’t actually have due dates). I could say it’s because kids like to kill time in my room during lunch. I could say it’s because I’m friendly and will spend time talking about book suggestions. But I personally believe the main reason kids are drawn to my classroom library is because they get to control … (insert drumroll) … the scanner gun.
I bought a barcode scanner gun when I decided to organize my classroom library using Booksource. I chose a wireless scanner so that kids weren’t tied to the desktop when checking in or out books. This also allows us to add books to the library and shelve them at the same time. While Booksource has a great app that uses a phone or tablet camera to scan books, the scanner gun has been a game-changer.
(Sidenote: when time is short, I still rely on the Booksource app to scan books using my phone, so that I can get kids back to class quickly.)
When students are ready to check out a book, Booksource makes it super easy. Students simply click their name, select Checkout, then after clicking in the search bar use the scanner gun to scan the barcode on the book. That’s it! The book is registered and students simply click Check Out to finish checking out the book. The operation works in reverse if they want to check in a book. Often, my students just drop the books in a return bin and my son uses the scanner gun to check all of the returned books in at the end of the day. It really is incredibly efficient. Plus, you know, kids get to play with a scanner gun. On the teacher end, it also makes adding books to my library extremely quick and easy. I’m not ashamed to admit this is one of the best (and most inexpensive) tools I’ve purchased for my classroom.