So far this school year, I’ve spent a lot of time with all the grades teaching them how to take care of the books and how to use all the features of the library. With kindergarten and 1st grade in particular, I’m evaluating and reading them several different stories to really drive home how to take care of library books.

Mr. Wiggle Goes to the Library by Paula Craig (1990). This book is now out of print, but my predecessor had a copy in her files. Mr. Wiggle has several other adventures that basically get the same message across. Mr. Wiggle rhymes his way through all the ways books can be mistreated and asks kids to promise him they’ll take care of the library books. I read this to all the pre-k classes my first week. They won’t check out books until at least next year, but it’s never too early to get them thinking about how to take care of books.

What Happened to Marion’s Book? by Brook Berg (2003). Marion loves her books so much that she takes them with her everywhere. She wants to grow up and become a librarian. But when she starts school and takes her first books out of the library, she learns that it’s not such a good idea to treat books the way she has in the past.

I used this book with kindergarten to keep prepping them. In previous years, pre-k and kindergarten never checked out books in my school, but I’m trying to work up to a Big Event with kindergarten in the spring. I’d like them to start checking out books to keep in their classroom, and then in 1st grade they can check out books to take home. The kids love this story, and they just laugh hysterically at all the things Marion does wrong with her library books. It also explains the difference between taking care of books you own and books you borrow from the library. And it encourages kids to take care of all the books they read.

The Shelf Elf and The Shelf Elf Helps Out by Jackie Mims Hopkins (2004, 2006). In The Shelf Elf, the elves from the shoemaker’s shop have escaped the pages and now live in the library. At night they help the librarian by putting the books neatly back on the shelves. Scoob the shelf elf teaches kids how to keep the shelves neat and put books back where they belong.

This week I’m using this book with 1st grade as part of an ongoing series of lessons on how to pull books from the shelves. The first time I let the first graders check out books, I let them go right to the shelves and they just had no idea what to do. The shelves were a mess, and they clearly needed some training. So up until now when they come into the library, I pre-selected the books for them to read and did not let them touch the shelves. So my November goal for this grade was to get them ready to pick their own books from the shelves like the older grades get to do. Last week I taught them The Shelf Marker Hokey Pokey and let them choose their books on the shelves. Then this week we’re reading this book and talking about keeping the shelves neat.

In The Shelf Elf Helps Out, Scoob tells us that different kinds of books live in different “neighborhoods,” and kids learn a little bit about the Dewey Decimal System. I bought the version of the book that came with a teacher’s guide, and it has lots of Dewey Decimal activities for the kids to do. I’m thinking of using this with the 3rd graders. I don’t read a lot of stories to grades 3-5, but I’m trying to work in more.