We call it the library cart. It was a birthday gift for me many years ago-a square rolling cart from the office supply store. We take it with us to the library and fill it up with books. Once we get home, we park our cart in the same spot in our foyer. The books are then ready to be “checked in and checked out”.
We have one simple rule:
If you take a book out of the library cart, return it to the cart when you are done.
It is our in-home library and it keeps our books from getting lost. The kids have been very faithful about returning the books. Why? Because they know that keeping this rule in place allows for future checkouts, avoids paying late fees (from the kids’ money), and makes it easy for us all to keep track of the library books. The younger kids think its fun to “check in and check out” their books to the library cart. I presented the process for using the cart in an exciting way. Afterall it’s their own library! They can help others and play the librarian as well.
My older kids are allowed to bring their chapter library books into the van for reading or keep in their room until they are finished. They have proven to be responsible with returning the books back to the cart. The younger kids usually have someone read to them and can be reminded to return the book to the cart after the storytime. Sometimes the younger kids get books out to look at and forget to return them to the cart. If someone notices some library books left out, we remind the young readers to come get their books and return them to the cart. We don’t put the books back for them, but rather help them to develop the habit.
When the time comes to return the books back to the actual library, we count them up to confirm they are all there and then we wheel our cart back for a new batch of books. Since the habit of returning books to our cart has been formed, if we are short a book it is usually found within a few minutes due to an older child still reading it in their room.
We use the library a lot in our family. This simle rule and cart have enabled us to continue to use the library a lot without losing books. The kids are motivated to use the cart because they are excited to get a fresh batch of books and I don’t have to be concerned about hunting down library books in the house!