By Jessica Daigle, Eighth Grade Teacher

As I began to develop my classroom library, I looked for ways to maintain accountability of my books. I had books that students wanted to borrow, and I needed to find a system that would help me keep track of what student had which title. I began with a binder. This binder had checkout logs that I created where students would write their names, the name of Classroom Library 1the book and the date. Then, when they returned the book, they would have to get my initials next to the check-in date to verify that they actually returned the book. I managed to keep fairly accurate track of the books, but this was extremely time consuming and as my library grew, I began to use more and more paper with this method.

Over the summer, I learned about Classroom Organizer, an app that keeps track of the books in a classroom library using the book’s barcode. The app allows the user to scan the barcode to check out books to students and scan them back in as they are returned. Joyfully, I downloaded the free app and began the process of scanning over 500 books into my classroom library inventory.

When my sClassroom Library 2tudents entered the classroom this year, they were amazed by the size of my classroom library and amazed by my electronic checkout system. Other teachers in my building were impressed with my use of technology, and I loved how accurately I could keep up with my books without wasting paper. The only problem was that I was still spending 10-15 minutes of class time managing my library.

I decided to assign a student to be the librarian for each class. I didn’t feel comfortable allowing a student to use my smart phone or iPad to manage the library, but I really needed to free myself from managing the library. I found an old iPhone 4 in my junk drawer at home. It no longer workMrs. Daigle Classroom Libraryed as a cell phone, but it still had wireless capability. I downloaded the free Classroom Organizer app, deleted everything else, and now have students managing my library with an old phone.

The app has given my students ownership of their library and allows me to maintain accurate count of my books. I can see what type of books students check out more frequently, and it also lets me see which books are not being used and can be cycled out of the library. Using a recycled phone allows me to get students using technology in my room without spending a lot of money. That means more money can be spent on books!

Tip: At the beginning of the year, encourage parents to donate their old technology for use in YOUR classroom.


Jessica Daigle teaches eighth grade English Language Arts at Montgomery Central Middle School. She loves reading and has loved to read for as long as she can remember. For two years in a row, Jessica has read over 100 books in a calendar year.