Everyone knows that homeschoolers love the library.
And sometimes they share their record-breaking library overdue fines. Whenever this happens, there are some who mention that they have stopped using the library because they have spent more money on fines than would have to buy books.
While I am a huge advocate of having a large home library, I also utilize the public library. A lot. And I have very rarely had a book overdue.
Here are the keys to my system for organizing library books.
1. Store library books in a central location in your home.
I do NOT recommend a shelf. You need 2 containers. One for books that people are still using and one for books ready to be turned in. I use a tote bag for the ready to turn in books because then the bag is already loaded and I can pick it up when I’m ready to drop off books. I used to require that all library books be read in the living room where I keep the basket. I have relaxed that rule, but if you have a child who habitually loses library books, you might try implementing that rule at least until better habits are developed.
2. Pick a library day.
This doesn’t have to be the only day that you ever go to the library, but pick 1 day of the week that you typically have time to stop into the library as part of your routine. If you’re close to a library, you can be more flexible with your choice then if you have to drive a distance to the library.
3. Set up an on-line library account if you don’t already have one.
Set up accounts for every member of your household. I prefer to use 1 library card for all our books. However, we have a very high limit of books we are allowed to check-out. If your limit is lower, you’ll probably need to use children’s cards as well. Make a computer document with your library card numbers and passwords so you don’t have to search for your cards every time you need to log on.
4. On library day, log on to your library website and renew everything that is due that day or anytime in the next 7 days.
Yes, you read that right. I renew everything that is due unless the system won’t let me. If there is a hold on a title or I’m out of times to renew, it won’t let me renew. I then look at the list of books that HAVE to be turned in that day and put those in the library bag. The bag already holds books that we’re done with. I drop those books off at the library that day. If there is nothing that has to be turned in and nothing that I have waiting for me at the library, then I don’t have to go the library that week.
5. Set a weekly reminder to renew library books.
It is important to remember to check the library account and renew all the books. Maybe you’re the type who will just remember to renew the library books every Tuesday, but if you are that type, then you probably don’t need help with keeping up with library books. So you need something that will remind you to do this task weekly. You can use an on-line calendar like Google calendar to remind you. If you have a smart phone, I highly recommend the Todoist app. You can also use Todoist on your computer. I am using it to organize all my repetitive tasks that are not quite repetitive enough to ensure that I remember them. Plus I get a thrill from marking things off a list. If you’re a paper planner kind of person you can just write it in your planner. The trick is to remember to copy it in every week. That’s why I love the Todoist app so much, I get all the great feelings of accomplishment that I get from making a list without the task of writing repetitive tasks on my list every week.
How many library books do you have checked out right now?
What’s the highest library fine you’ve ever paid?
How do you keep track of library books?