Kids stealing library books...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by 773 Miles Away, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. 773 Miles Away

    773 Miles Away Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I have a rather large collection of books in my classroom library. Every month when we order from scholastic I purchase some more. Every year I anticipate a few books to disappear for numerous reasons, and that's ok because it's never a significant amount. This year I am in a new school and my library is shrinking. My kids are not allowed to take books home because of the risk they won't come back. They have book boxes to keep extra books and are only allowed to keep 1 at a time in their desk. I was going through and cleaning up this afternoon and noticed ALL my Wimpy Kid books are gone, ALL my Percy Jackson books are gone, and ALL my Harry Potter books are gone. Literally GONE. That's an EXPENSIVE loss... I asked at the end of the day if anybody knew there whereabouts and the kids were clueless. After school I searched their desks and found NOTHING. Those 3 sets are the only ones I am aware of, so god knows how many other books are missing.

    I try to do my best to foster honesty and respect in the classroom.. but at the end of the day if a kid wants to steal they are going to steal.

    Can anything be done to amp up the security in my room??

    I'm wondering if I should develop a better system so that I can tell at quick glace which books are not there and be able to tell before the kids leave for the day... right now they are just in bins, so at a quick glance you have no clue what's there and what isn't.

    Ugh I hate the concept of theft...
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 8, 2011

    How many books do you have (ballpark)? I've seen some teachers have success with keeping books in those clear over-the-door organizers with clear pockets. It wouldn't work if you have tons of books, though.

    http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf97862690.tip.html
     
  4. 773 Miles Away

    773 Miles Away Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I probably have over 300 books. I teach 5th grade so it's mostly chapter books. I have it set up with all the books in book bins with genre labels at the front.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 8, 2011

    Start by putting your name on the cover of every book in your room.
     
  6. Olive.Owl

    Olive.Owl Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I'm a first year teacher and couldn't wait to get my library collection into my classroom and get my non-fervent-about-reading students excited about reading with all my good books, but I too suffer from a few missing library books...

    I have a library checkout system where I have a library pocket in the back of the book. Inside the pocket is an index card with the book's title. When students check out a book they are supposed to take out the index card and slip it into their numbered library pocket on a bulletin board so I and the classroom librarian know what's checked out and who has what. I also stickered the front cover of all my books with my name; however, and sadly, one of my students hasn't been returning my books. :[

    I've only had this issue with the said student, but it drives me BONKERS because she blatantly lies to my face when I ask her if she has the book and/or has taken it home, because I have found them crammed into her desk -_-. This said student has also damaged several of my books, which I don't love; therefore, I have temporarily revoked her privilege of checking books out from the classroom library and she can only do so from the school's media center.

    Besides the exception, I like my checkout system, and I too have my books in bins that are categorized by genre.
     
  7. 773 Miles Away

    773 Miles Away Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    Not only are they on the inside front cover, but I write it across the top of the pages (i.e. not the spine, but the top, so you can see the name when the book is closed, but when you spread out the pages you just see the ink).
     
  8. 773 Miles Away

    773 Miles Away Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    I've thought about the checkout system but I don't know if it would prevent theft necessarily.
     
  9. Auter12

    Auter12 Comrade

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    Feb 8, 2011

    It may sound drastic, but only allow certain students in the library. Make it a job. One or two students per week are the "librarians." They "check out" books to other students and keep track of it with a system you've devised. They also clean up and make sure the books are in place. You could set it up like a regular library and and the books separated in genre and possibly number/letter coded. It's a lot of work at first to get things in order, but I have upwards of 800 books in my classroom library, and I know probably 95% of them, and have record of all of them. They are separated and color-coded by genre (haven't # coded though). I have never implemented the librarian to this extent, but it could work. I don't allow students to keep books in their desks bc of bent bindings, AND a collection of them in there - they are the only thing I allow ON their desks, though. My books are not allowed to go home unless I specify that one can, either.
     
  10. tortega

    tortega Rookie

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    Feb 8, 2011

    Have you contacted the parents? You don't have to call the kids thieves just ask them to check their kids rooms in case they "forgot" they had them.
     
  11. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I would have a serious talk with the students, not accusing them of anything but expressing your sadness that some of your favourites seem to have gone missing. You want to have the books available for the students to use, but you need to be sure that they are there for everyone. Take a few minutes and ask everyone to check their desks, their bags, bins, etc. in the classroom to see if they have one that they "forgot about". Ask them to help you come up with solutions.
     
  12. bondo

    bondo Cohort

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    Feb 9, 2011

    Stealing is horrible, but the upside is at least it appears a healthy amount of reading is being completed.
    I agree with MrsC. Have a serious talk with the students letting them know your frustration and disappointment without being accusatory. Also, you may want to send a note home to parents. Phrase it very innocently. Something along the lines of "I have been excited about the students increased interest in reading and my library is being well used .. . " You could also say you want to make sure you know what you do and dont have so that you can order accordingly. Good luck getting your books back.
     
  13. Mark94544

    Mark94544 Companion

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    Feb 9, 2011

    I brought more than a thousand books into my (9th-10th) classroom, and kids being kids, I expected that some would be removed and never returned.

    My approach was to buy a large rubber stamp that said "MR. WELCH" in inch-tall letters. I spent hours stamping the edges of every book (at least the top and side edges). I also placed labels on the front or back covers of many books. This solved several problems at once:
    • students and parents would know whose book this was, wherever it might be discovered;
    • teachers in other classrooms would know where to return one of my books, if left there by a student;
    • if I found a book in my classroom that wasn't stamped, I immediately knew it wasn't mine; and
    • used bookstores would not buy the books.

    After taking this precaution, I made a very conscious decision not to worry about books that disappeared. I had a checkout/return system that was merely superficial; I merely pretended to pay close attention when students checked out and returned books.

    Since I didn't actually keep close tabs on the books, I don't actually know how many were lost or stolen. Whenever I looked for a particular book, I could find it.

    I would expect elementary students to be more careless with borrowed books, and to often forget about "checking them in and out," so my "fake" checkout & return process surely wouldn't work.

    Probably 50% of the books in my classroom were purchased at library book sales, and another 25% were purchased for about $1 each from an online closeout bookseller. But I also included many titles I'd purchased at list price; to me, a book's only "value" comes from being read.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I agree completely! I've lost more than a couple of books through the years, but I want them to be read, not to sit on a shelf.
     
  15. Youngteacher226

    Youngteacher226 Enthusiast

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    Feb 9, 2011

    I agree that the implementation of a "classroom librarian" job does wonders!! The librarian can "check out" books and "check in" books in the morning. Just a simple library card, one for each student, with the book they took home written on it is simple enough. The librarian can then put a tiny check mark next to the title of the book that means the student brought the book back and viola!! The student can then check out the book again for the next night, or choose a different book. The least this can do is make the kids aware that their book will be checked in the morning so they should bring it back!
     
  16. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    Feb 9, 2011

    Several years ago, I had more than one child with "sticky fingers." I just wanted my books back. I offered an amnesty day. Any child who "found" one of my books anyplace would get a Charms Blow Pop (the big ones) for returning it -- no questions asked.

    It worked for library books and missing text books. Sad to say, the kids would rather have the candy than the book.
     
  17. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Feb 12, 2011

    I did something similar one year. I had about 4 students that were stealing from me consistently (not just books). We had earned a party for behavior, but I happened to notice that TONS of my brand new books were missing. I had just made a huge scholastic order (entire Junie B. Jones series), and almost all of the new books were gone. All but 3 of my JBJ books were missing... I was really upset. So I sent a note home to the parents saying that many books were missing, please check your homes and return any school books (mine are labeled with address labels on the front cover). I told the students that they had a week to return the books... that they weren't in trouble, YET. I told them people make mistakes and sometimes take things accidently. After a few days, I switched to I was going to be upset because now they were lying to me. I told them that if they returned ALL of the missing books, we would earn back our party. I did get most back (the main culprit brought one in everyday, thinking that I was going to give them back the party for returning 1 book.... she wound up bringing in about 30). It's disappointing because then other students lose the opportunity to read them!
     

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