Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Library Book Management for Large Families

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Library book management can often be a challenge for large families.  Multiple children times multiple library books equals many and numerous opportunities for losing said books.

Although we don't have a perfect system for keeping up with everyone's books all the time, we have come up with a system that allows us to always know how many books each child should have and our system encourages the child to be responsible for his own books.

Each child checks out the number of books that corresponds with his or her age. The 14 year old checks out 14 books, the 5 year old checks out 5 books, and so on. This not only allows the older children to check out more books, but allows Mommy to know how many books each child should be turning in.

If a child is missing some books on library day, the number missing is deducted from the total allowed to be checked out. For instance, let's say the 8 year old can not find 2 of her 8 books because she has looked everywhere, Mommy, everywhere, and I really mean it this time, and they have vanished into thin air, as library books are wont to do. She may only check out 6 new books, yet she is still responsible for 8 and she must recheck the other 2.

Each time we go to the library, I know how many books each child should be bringing back.  The child also knows and is aware that he or she will not be able to check out the agreed upon number until all books are turned in.

We still occasionally have fines for overdue books, but our system makes library book management a little simpler for this large family.

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Nikki said...


Ahem. I love this post. It's very helpful. And very easy to remember the rules. I'm going to incorporate it right away.

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas said...

Mine are only two right now but we do check out a lot of books. I will pass this idea along to my sister with older children, thanks!

Jessica said...

Brilliant! The age and book number limit will work perfect. Yes! One less thing to scramble around and try to remember. I will be putting this one in use today since we will be at the library.

Jacquelin said...

Great idea! Putting that into effect immediately...now if we can just find all the books we have out already

Lisa @ Simplified Saving said...

We have a "library book bag" that we keep our books in. If you check out more than one book, that's fine with me, but you can only have one book out of the bag at at time. The bag hangs on a hook by our front door and it's easy to take the bag with us if we're heading out and need books. This has helped with the "I can't find my 72 overdue books" syndrome that used to be a problem at our house!

Michelle said...

That is a great idea! We also utilize our library system's online tools, they send us notification emails reminding us of upcoming due dates.

Taylor at Household Management 101 said...

I like this idea, because it is always an ordeal making sure we find all the library books. I also second the commenter that said they use a library bag to hold all the library books in. We do this (if we can fit them all in -- I know that can be an issue), and it helps keep them in a central location.

Erin said...

Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

That is absolute genius. And I thought I was a library pro! ;) I love it!

Chick Hatchers said...

I like that idea. After reading your old post that was linked in this one (at the end, you'll want to remove the misc characters after html, or the link doesn't work) I decided to comment here rather than on an old post.

Whenever we have fines (not small change, but two digit fines), I try to make light of it rather than be embarassed. I always say something about being there to further support my local library or pay the nice lady's salary or something. They just smile and thank me. It's nicer than feeling like they are thinking "Oh, there she is again, the one with ALL the fines!" :)

I like your method, though. It's worth trying.


Christy said...

What a great idea - we are constantly misplacing books. That is so great it means I can check out 43 books! Hurray for being "old". LOL!!! I especially like the "if you have lost it plan!"

Anonymous said...

Hello. I'm a new reader to your blog, as an aspiring "large-family-mom" I love all the inspiration & encouragement I have already found here.
I have found that what works great for us, is to have a "library basket" on the floor in the living room. ALL library books are kept here, and have to be returned to the basket at all times (instead of just put on a random table, on a shelf or something). That way in theory, all our library books are always in one place...in theory, of course, lol. But it does work great most of the time. I have to just add, that we are only 5 in the family, so a normal medium-sized basket does the trick...not sure if four more people would mean a totally over-sized container needed :-)
Greetings from Denmark,

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