Booksource Classroom: How to Manage Your Classroom Library (Part 3)

If you missed it, my last two blog posts have been all about the free classroom library management tool, Booksource Classroom: what it is, what it does, and how to set it up. If you haven’t read those posts, please do so before diving into this one.

Part 1: Booksource Classroom: All About This Free Classroom Library Checkout System
Part 2: Booksouce Classroom: How to Set it Up & Organize Your Classroom Library

Today’s post is for teachers who are setting up Booksource and ready to explore everything this teacher- and student-friendly website can do!

Without further ado, here are the answers to your final questions about Booksource Classroom:

Do you need to put new labels on your books?

No, you don’t need to mess with your label system (if you have one). I actually do not have a label system (beyond my genre shelves and a few topic-based book bins)! Like I mentioned in my previous post, you can manually add genre labels to your titles on Booksource. This would complement a genre-organized library well, but again, I haven’t taken the time to do it. I do wish Booksource pulled the genre info automatically, but that’s one small complaint for a system that does so much in other areas.

Can you sort by different categories?

From your teacher portal, you can search for different books with certain parameters, and you can also filter your collection by particular characteristics. For example, you can search for books by phrase, fiction/nonfiction, genre (only if you have that set up), page count, lexile, and more. You can filter your library by title, author’s last name, date added, number of copies, popularity, and more. The popularity feature is awesome because you can easily see the most checked out books in your classroom library! 

What happens when your book won’t scan in?

If a book won’t scan in, you can manually add it through the ISBN. This is objectively a little annoying, but it doesn’t happen often. I’ve noticed that it can happen with certain special versions of Scholastic books…not sure why. (Sometimes I’m too lazy to manually add the book so I just throw it on my shelves and hope for the best. Whatever works for you.)

What if you have multiple copies of the same book?

You can scan in each and Booksource keeps track of how many copies you have of each! You can even seen the paperbacks/hardcovers separately. This feature is very helpful to keep track of literature circle/book club text sets.

What kinds of reports can you run?

You can run a variety of reports, but here are the ones I utilize the most often:

  • Book Checkout History (a log of everything that’s ever been checked out, including dates, titles, and student names).
  • Current Books Checked Out (a list of everything that’s checked out; this is helpful to keep tabs on who has what)
  • Overdue Books (a list of overdue books; overdue periods can be adjusted in your settings)
  • Student Checkout Detail (an outline of every book a student has checked out and returned)

What is the LibraryLens?

While the reports are great, Booksource’s “LibraryLens” is even better! LibraryLens is a comprehensive tool that analyzes your classroom library’s “health” through different lenses, offering tailored recommendations for improvements (and even specific book titles). The lenses include the following: Overview, Size, Fiction/Nonfiction, Reading Level, Diversity, Freshness, and Categories. Each lens analyzes your inventory and displays easy-to-digest data and suggestions. For example, the reading level lens will show the breakdown of your books at, below, and above your grade level. The freshness lens analyzes how current and fresh your collection is, the fiction/nonfiction lens shows the ratio between fiction/nonfiction, etc. But perhaps the best lens is the diversity one, which audits your library’s level of cultural responsiveness and diversity. More on that in the next question!

What is the diversity lens?

The diversity lens is one of the most valuable, important, and impactful tools on Booksource. You can find it under the “LibraryLens” feature on the lefthand menu. It automatically analyzes how diverse and inclusive your library is, breaking down the data into 3 sections: Achievements, Suggestions, and Issues. For example, in the Achievement section, it tells me that overall, I have a good selection of diverse books. In the Suggestions category, it pinpoints specific areas where I can make my library more inclusive.

For example, I currently need more books by indigenous authors (and more). Thankfully, I don’t have any pressing concerns in my Issues category, but that’s because I’ve worked hard on my collection over the years. This diversity lens is incredibly helpful to track the extent of representation in my classroom library, and I refer to it often when I am searching for new books to add to our collection.

Do you have any tips and tricks for using Booksource?

My best advice is just to get started with Booksource and then explore/learn as you go. There’s so much that Booksource can do and so much you can do with it! (I’m still discovering cool features and thinking of ways to use them). Beyond that, here are a few great hacks for using it:

  • Every week, run a “Current Books Checked Out” report and print it. Go through your records and check in with any students with overdue/missing books. Keep all of your reports in a binder. If a book goes missing, it’s easy to look through the reports and determine where it went MIA. (You can also do this online, but I love having printed sheets to reference in the moment).
  • Every so often, see what books are currently trending! You can do this by filtering your library search to  “Popularity” in “Descending” order. It will show you the most checked-out books. This can help you recommend tried-and-true favorites to students and get you thinking about similar books your students will love.
  • Regularly refer to the “LibraryLens” audits for suggestions on how to improve your library. If you’re getting ready to go book shopping or making an online wishlist, consult the data there to make informed decisions that will better serve your readers.

Do you have an example of the posters you use to show students how to check out and return books?

Sure! Here’s a picture of the posters. (Identifying information is blocked out). If you’d like to recreate a similar poster, I recommend going through the student process yourself and then pulling screenshots. Alternatively, you can grab screenshots from Booksource’s tutorials in their help center.

How can I learn more?

Whatever I haven’t answered for you, Booksource Classroom’s website and blog can help you out! Here are some helpful links:

I hope this post helps you manage your classroom library with Booksource Classroom!

I hope this blog series has helped you get started with Booksource. Remember, if you have any unaswered questions, there’s a good chance they’ve been answered in the first two blog posts:

Please let me know if you have any lingering questions via the comments or a DM on Instagram!

Okay, now what? Wondering how to get your students to actually read and enjoy all of the wonderful books in your classroom library?

So you set up your classroom library on Booksource and you organized it to be as accessible as possible for your students. Now what? Just add students?! If only it were that easy to build a community of readers! While it isn’t that easy, it can be simple…with the right strategies and systems in place to support your students. Lucky for you, you’re in the right place if you’re looking for ways to engage your readers, hook them on books, and foster reading community in your classroom. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorite strategies and resources:

Like this post? Read more!

For more information on how to foster a love for reading in your classroom, check out the following:

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