8 Back to School Must-Haves for the Library to Start the Year Off Right

It’s that time of year already-are you looking for back to school activities for the library to start the year off right? Don’t worry I’ve got you covered! (I say this as I sit poolside with my coffee wishing and hoping that these last few weeks of summer could please slow down…) Back to school time in the library is really important. It’s the time for setting the rules and procedures for the rest of the school year, starting to develop relationships with students and figuring out schedules. It can be a little chaotic and crazy but it’s mostly fun 🙂

Let’s make your life easier by setting things up NOW so you can stress less and relax more for the back to school madness. Here are 8 back to school must-haves for the library to start the year off right and make your life so much easier!

1. Back to School Library Orientation 

Welcome your upper elementary students back to school with this fun and interactive print breakout! Using this pack, students will review library rules and procedures while they work to solve three challenges. This is a great activity to use at the beginning of the school year and easily engages students in the library procedures and expectations without just “lecturing.”

The topics reviewed include basic library rules and procedures, book care rules and library vocabulary. The information is “generic” enough so that it can be used in any library setting. This back to school library orientation breakout typically  takes about a half hour to complete. The breakout can be completed in multiple class periods or you can do it as a whole-group activity to save time. 

What’s included:

  • Detailed instructions
  • Scenario 
  • 3 challenges in color
  • 3 challenges in black and white
  • Answer key
  • Certificate and bookmarks when breakout is complete

Available for multiple grade levels:

Back to School Library Orientation for grades 2-3

Back to School Library Orientation for grades 4-5

2. School Library Curriculum Maps

These EDITABLE school library curriculum map templates will help take the stress out of your lesson planning, especially at the beginning of the year. Often, librarians are not given a curriculum to follow like classroom teachers have. This can be positive in that it allows us the freedom to teach our students the skills they need to learn and to spend time encouraging a love of reading. However, it also takes more time and effort to plan out our lessons. Our time is limited and there are many duties assigned to us that have little to do with teaching and working with students. Mapping out your curriculum allows you to be intentional with the lessons you teach and saves you time during the school year by having a plan in place that you can refer to. 

What’s included:

  • 39 page horizontal template for grades K-5. Comes in an editable PowerPoint document, an editable Google slides file and a PDF document.
  • 10 page vertical template for grades K-5. Comes in an editable PowerPoint document, an editable Google slides file and a PDF document.
  • The vertical template comes with sample lesson ideas for each month and grade level. These are the skills I typically teach throughout the year. These sample pages are available as a free resource (the free version is not editable).

3. Choosing Just Right Books & 5 Finger Rule

Teach your elementary students how to choose a “just right book” and how to use the five finger rule with these posters and bookmarks. You can use the posters for bulletin boards or post in a center or small group station. Use this activity pack in the school library or in a classroom when launching a reader’s workshop. Great for Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades!

What’s included: 

5 color posters in color and b/w

  • Just Right Books
  • 5 Finger Rule
  • Too Easy Rule
  • Too Hard Rule
  • Just Right Rule
  • 2 sets of bookmarks in color and b/w (3 to a page)
  • 5 Finger Rule
  • Just Right Books
  • Coloring page that reviews the 5 finger rule.

You can also use this with Choosing Just Right Books Print Breakout.

4. Library Rules Mini Books | Print and Digital Google Slides

Introduce the library to your primary students with these print and digital mini books or emergent readers. These are perfect to use during the first week of school to review what a library is, the kinds of books in a library and what to expect when going to the library. These library rules mini books for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades have been updated with 2 Google Slides versions of the print books.

What is included:

  • 10 page print mini book to review library rules and how to be a good library citizen. This book comes in black and white and color. Rules include: listen to the librarian, share, be kind, take care of books, raise your hand, use inside voices and choose just right books.
  • Second print mini book is 7 pages and gives very basic information about what a library is. There are two different options. In the first option students will just cut out and staple the book together. For the second option students will also cut and paste a picture on a few of the pages. I offered both versions because you may not want to have students cut and paste right away, especially kindergarten students!
  • Cut and paste worksheet for students to sort things they would and would not see in a library.
  • 2 Google Slides mini books. These are almost identical to the print mini books.

5. Book Care Activities

Teach your elementary students how to take care of their library or classroom books with this book care activity pack. This is perfect for Kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades to show them all the ways (and use visuals!) to care for their library books! 

What’s included:

Sorting Activities

  • 20 picture cards for students to sort (things they should do with their library books and things they shouldn’t). Comes in two different sizes (2 pictures to a page and 4 pictures to a page)
  • 20 sentence cards that match the pictures (comes in 2 different sizes)
  • 8 page mini book for students to cut out and color. The mini-book reviews the different book care rules. The last page comes in 3 different options.
  • Editable book care cards 
  • Editable letters to send home to parents letting them know when their child has an overdue or damaged book

Suggestions for use:

Have students sort the picture and or sentence cards under the correct column. If the picture shows something that they should do with the books it goes under the “Yes we do” column. If it is something they should not do it goes under the “No we don’t” card.

List of book care rules:

  • keep out of the rain
  • keep away from babies
  • keep away from pets
  • do not cut or glue in your books
  • keep away from food and drink
  • do not color in the books
  • do not write in the books
  • do not take your books on the playground
  • do not leave your books on the bus
  • do not lose your books 
  • do not rip your books
  • read with clean hands
  • use a bookmark
  • read with a friend
  • stay quiet in the library
  • return books on time
  • keep your books on a bookshelf
  • keep your books in a bookbag

6. Back to School Orientation Template

Welcome students back to school with this fun and colorful PowerPoint and Google Slides template. All of the text is EDITABLE so you can use in any type of classroom or school library. Sample questions are included. The questions are ones I use during my elementary library orientation.

There are 18 questions. To edit the questions, click inside the text box, delete my text and add your own. I have embedded the font into the PPT to make for easier editing. You do not have to download any fonts onto your computer. The Google Slides template is identical to the PowerPoint.

7. BUNDLE School Library Orientation Google Slides Game

This is a bundle of my two EDITABLE self-checking School Library Orientation Google Slides games to review basic information about the library, rules and procedures with your elementary students. The questions are a mix of true or false and multiple choice. Students do not need a Google account to do this game. Play it as a whole group game. Students can also do the game independently if they have a Google account.

8. Back to School Picture Choice Boards

Use these digital activities in Google Slides or SeeSaw. A preloaded SeeSaw link to each choice board is included! This is a bundle of three picture book digital choice boards perfect for back to school. Each digital choice board provides six different engaging and interactive activities to go along with the book that your elementary students will love!

Advantages of using digital resources

  • Engages students
  • Helps build 21st-century learners
  • Can use with Chromebooks, laptops, computers, tablets, iPads or other mobile devices

What is your absolute MUST-HAVE back to school resource that you use every year?

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