Last Updated on November 14, 2022 by Laura
I realize that many educators don’t see the importance of library catalog practice for our elementary students. Is it really that important for our students to know how to use this online version of the old-fashioned card catalog? I believe that mastery of these important library catalog skills contributes to strong lifelong learning and independent thinking. Consider the following scenario…
How can we best help our elementary students?
A student comes in and asks you for a book. Do you go to the shelf and grab it for them? Or do you take the time to guide them in some library catalog practice? Do you encourage them to search the library catalog themselves? And then do you take the time to give a little mini lesson on locating the book? Of course it is much easier to do the first thing, to give the student the book. And we ARE helping them get what they want. But does this really serve our students in the long run?
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.Lao Tsu
Although the origin of this old adage may be disputed, the truth of the sentiment has endured through the years. And it is this idea that fuels my desire to instill independence in my students. That is why I believe it is important to help our students with library catalog practice throughout the year.
Scaffold Your Library Catalog Instruction
Like so many important library skills concepts, it is imperative to scaffold student learning so that skills from previous years are reinforced and built upon. Add a bit of new library catalog practice each year at each grade level and you have a recipe for success! We all want our students to find the information they want and need! I use this K-5 Library Catalog Unit to ensure that the skills I am teaching in kindergarten through fifth grade build upon one another each year. We learn about different types of library catalog searches (subject, keyword, title, author, series), adding on each year.
These activities have the most potential for student application beyond class if students are logged into the library catalog and if they have some choice. So I begin teaching students how to log into the Destiny catalog system and check their information in 2nd grade. After that I usually have them log into the library catalog for most of our library skills activities. Students learn to put books on hold and we talk about personal information, privacy protection, and safety.
Library Standards and Best Practices
Giving students the skills and tools to effectively use the library catalog and find resources in the library lays a very basic and necessary foundation for future inquiry and information seeking. Therefore the activities in this unit support the following American Association of School Librarian Standards from the Framework for Learners:
IV. CURATE: Make meaning for oneself and others by collecting, organizing, and sharing resources of personal relevance.
A. THINK: Learners act on an information need by:
- Determining the need to gather information.
- Identifying possible sources of information.
- Making critical choices about information sources to use.
B. CREATE: Learners gather information appropriate to the task by:
- Seeking a variety of sources.
Library Catalog Practice for K-5
This unit contains library catalog practice lesson ideas and activities to teach search and location skills to your Kindergarten – 5th grade students. Although I created this unit for use with Follett’s Destiny system, the activities can be used with any library catalog system.
Students will learn to conduct 5 types of library catalog searches:
Included in this time-saving product:
- Teacher’s Guide with Standards Alignment
- Lesson Ideas for each grade, K-5
- Student guides for logging into Destiny and for putting a book on hold
- Video tutorial and reference page for holds and lists in Destiny Discover
- 10 worksheets for grades 3 – 5 for classic Destiny
- 10 worksheets for grades 3 – 5 for Destiny Discover
- 10 worksheets for grades 3 – 5 without the Destiny label – use with any library catalog system!
- Answer keys
- Step-by-step instructions for setting up your Visual Search
- Digital version (grades 3-5) to Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams
- Editable title/author/series worksheets (PowerPoint file)
Grab it and start teaching your students to “fish” today!
The Ultimate Year Round Library Catalog Resource
And if you want to save as you continue library catalog instruction throughout the year, take a look at this money saving bundle of all of my library catalog resources!
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Be the light!
Lisa Sullivan says
Our library moved recently, so I feel like I am starting all over again with helping students find the books they are looking for! Thanks for the ideas to spice up instruction on using the library catalog.
You’re welcome! How excited to have a new location!!