Library Tips

Tips To Get Your Library Books Back On Time (And Avoid Those Fines!)


One of the biggest reasons I hear of why parents don’t want to take their children to the library is not that they don’t enjoy the library.

It is remembering to take back the library books.

Parents are busy.  We have a lot going on, and while it may seem like a hassle to take back your library books, I have some great tips for you on how you and your kids can enjoy going to the library again and not worry about late fees!

  • Have a special basket or place in your home where you store your books from the library.  This will definitely help them not to get lost or mixed up in your bookshelf.
  • Have a regular day that you always go to the library.  If you make going to the library part of your routine, you will be much more likely to remember to take back your books and not to accumulate any late fees.
  • Ask for a receipt.  When you sign out your library books, either from the librarian or from the self check-out computer, you can get a receipt that shows you exactly which books you have signed out and what day they are due back.
  • Sign up for email reminders.  If you don’t automatically have library emails set up from signing up for a library card, you can ask the librarian to sign you up for email reminders. Libraries usually send out reminder emails a few days before your library books are due back.
  • Set up an alarm on your smartphone. The day you go to the library, set up a reminder alert on your phone for the day your books will be due back or even for the day before.  Or set up two alarms if you are really forgetful. 🙂office-620822__340
  • Write it on your calendar.  Please tell me I am not the only one who still needs a paper calendar hanging on the wall!  I love my phone, but my phone calendar doesn’t compare.  Sorry iPhone.
  • Use a children’s library card.  Pssst…..let me tell you a little secret…there are usually no late fees on your children’s library cards for at least a week.  If you tend to be a little late sometimes, sign up your kids for a library card and take advantage of that!Have you discovered a great trick that has helped you return your library books on time?
picture books

25 Awesome First Nations Books For Your Library


There is something wonderful about sharing your culture with other people.  Here in Canada, the First Nations culture is a huge part of our heritage.  As such, it deserves to be shared with the next generation.  Recently here in beautiful British Columbia, the government has created new school curriculum guidelines to honour our Indigenous heritage.

Whether you are a teacher, a librarian, a homeschooling mom, or a stay-at-home mom, I thought I’d set you all up with a great list of First Nations books for kids that would be perfect in your school library or to read to your class or kids at home!

Some of these books cover more serious topics like residential schools while others will make your students laugh out loud (particularly #8 – don’t say I didn’t warn you).

1. A Salmon for Simon by Betty Waterton and Ann Blades


2. Dipnetting with Dad by Willie Sellar


3. On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott


4. Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse


5. Hide and Sneak by Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak


6. Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith


7. A Promise is a Promise by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak


8. Just a Walk by Jordan Wheeler


9. Jenneli’s Dance by Elizabeth Denny


10. When I was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton


11. When We Were Alone by David Robertson


12. Nutik and Amaroq Play Ball by Jean Craighead George


13. The Littlest Sled Dog by Michael Kusugak and Vladyana Krykorka


14. Shi-Shi-Etko by Nicola I. Campbell


15. Thunder Boy Jr by Sherman Alexie


16. Sweetest Kulu by Celina Kalluk


17. Blackflies by Robert Munsch


18. Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel


19. I Like Who I Am by Tara White


20. I am Canada: A Celebration by Heather Patterson


21. The Elders are Watching by David Bouchard and Roy Henry Vickers


22. Akilak’s Adventure by Deborah Kigjugalik Webster


23. P’esk’a and the First Salmon Ceremony by Scot Ritchie


24. Our First Caribou Hunt by Chris Giroux and Jennifer Noah


25. Sharing Our World: Animals of the Native Northwest Coast by various artists


I hope you enjoyed this list of First Nations books.  There are so many great stories out there, so I encourage you to check out your local library as well for even more resources!  Do you have a favourite Indigenous author or book? Tell me about it!

Library Activities

Beat the Heat at the Library: 25 Fun, Free Activities for Kids

It’s summer time! School is out, the sun is shining, and if you’re like me, you’re probably trying to come up with fun things to do with your kids that won’t break the bank.

Well, you’re in luck, because you can take your kids to one (air conditioned!) building with lots of free, fun things to do – your local library!

Here are 25 library activities you should try this summer!

– join a summer reading club – for adults and kids!

– see a puppet show


– go to a story time

– colour a picture

– sign out a movie

– look at magazines

– sign up for a class to learn something new

– do a puzzle

– join a club: our library has all sorts of fun clubs – Lego clubs, maker clubs, knitting, etc.

– jam with musicians

– enter a library contest

– surf the internet on the library computers

– sign out a special item: depending on your library, you may be able to sign out video games, musical instruments, or even robotics.

– enlist for tutoring – could your child use some academic help this summer before school starts up again?  Many libraries offer free tutoring programs for kids


– play a game

– look up a favorite book on the library catalogue to put a hold on – or as we call it in our house, “asking the book truck to bring us a special delivery”

– pick out a music CD to sign out

– go to a book sale

– check out a kid’s program: often in the summer, libraries have special shows for kids – musicians, magicians, animal experts

– play games on a kid’s computer


– catch up on Facebook using free library wifi while your kids are playing on the computer

– teach your kids how the library is organized – alphabetical order in the picture books and maybe even the Dewey decimal system for older kids!

– have a library play date with friends

– check out the community bulletin boards for other fun activities to do around your town

– read books!

How many of these fun library activities have you tried with your kids?  Do you have other fun things you and your kids like to do at the library?  Leave me a comment below!


Preschool Books

50 of the Best Preschool Books!

I LOVE reading books to my boys! They seem to especially love funny books and books about whatever they are into at the moment. W, who is 3, is obsessed with animals so of course every book he picked out from the library the last time we went had an animal on the cover.

Books are an amazing teaching tool we have as parents and educators.  Books can teach letters, numbers, shapes, or colours, but they can also teach bigger concepts such as feelings and social skills.

This list of 50 amazing preschool books is made up of new favorites and old classics that are perfect to read to your kids!

1. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin


2. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell


3. Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni


4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle


5. Explorers of the Wild by Cale Atkinson


6. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn


7. All By Myself by Mercer Mayer


8. Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krause Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld


9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault


10. Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems


11. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr/Eric Carle

brown bear

12. Press Here by Herve Tullet

press here

13. Llama Llama Misses Mama by Anna Dewdney

llama llama

14. It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr

todd parr

15. Bear Sees Colours by Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman

bear sees colors

16. Ten Black Dots by Donald Cruz

10 black dots

17. If You Give A Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

mouse a cookie

18. Pig Meets Pug by Sue Lowell Gallion

pig meets pug

19. Mix it Up! by Herve Tullet

mix it up

20. Waiting Is Not Easy! by Mo Willems

waiting not easy

21. Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

pig the pug

22. Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard

grumpy bird

23. Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman


24. Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert


25. The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen


26. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown


27. Little Cloud by Eric Carle


28. Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman and David Clemesha


29. You Get What You Get by Julie Gassman


30. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherry Duskey Rinker


31. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson


32. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen


33. Not a Stick by Antoinette Portis


34. Ninja Baby by David Zeltser


35. Tuck Me In! by Dean Hacowen and Sherry Scharschmidt


36. Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman


37. One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root


38. Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow


39. The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat


40. LMNO Peas by Keith Baker


41. Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt


42. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Heather Avery and Stephen Cartwright


43. Perfect Square by Michael Hall


44. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems


45. My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall


46. Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton


46. Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas


47. Mix it Up by Herve Tullet


48. Five Little Ducks by Penny Ives


49. If You’re a Robot and You Know It by David A. Carter


50. I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont


There you have it – 50 awesome books. There are so many more, I could go on and on! Hope you enjoy reading these stories with your little ones.

What have been some of your favourite books for preschoolers? I’d love to hear from you!




Getting Your Library Ready For Summer

I can hardly believe June is here!  That means things are wrapping up for the school year and for your school library.  But before you trade your circulation desk for a sunny chair on the beach (with a book of course!), there are a few important things you need to do to get your library ready for summer.

1.Pick a date for all library books to be returned by.

This is number one, but it is really something you should figure out with your school     administrator in May.  That way it has time to be announced to the students, in       newsletters, and on your school website.  There are quite a few fun signs I’ve seen promoting returning your library books.  Here’s one I made up this year:FullSizeRender

Or another one I made up:

Yoda Return Sign

2. Get all library books returned to the library.

Really, this goes along with point number 1.  But can I say, that this is quite the feat!  Print out lists to give to teachers that show all the library books their students have out. Make sure teachers know what books they have personally signed out so they can return them.

Send out multiple notes to go home with the students.  Usually I send home a note with students when it gets close to the final return date letting parents know that all library books will be due back soon.  Then about a week after the due date, I send out more notes reminding parents that books were due back and requesting that if the books are lost, that they are paid for.  Notes, notes, and more notes.  (I think my name changes in June to Mrs. Nag)  If books are still missing the last week before school, I have called home before.

3.  Shelf Reading

There’s nothing like a whole school year of hundreds of children using your library to make the library books get a little out of order.  You could easily shelf-read twice a year (or more), but, if time is at a premium, it’s most important to have your collection in order for the new school year ahead.

4. Weeding

Weeding often happens as you go throughout your school year.  June is a great time to do any last weeding as more books are being returned and you are looking over the shelves more carefully during your shelf-reading.  Here’s a wonderful graphic by Jennifer Lagarde at to help you know which books to weed and which to keep: Just Weed It!

5. Inventory

Doing a yearly inventory of your library is essential in making sure your library is up to date and your collection is in order.  Inventories help identify lost or missing books, items that are ready to be weeded, or errors in your catalogue records.  Not to mention, inventories provide important statistical information that you can be printed out in reports to show your administrator.

6. Computer clean-up

The end of the year is a good time to clean up your computer.  Delete old or unused files.  Do backups of your documents.  You can also clean up your library’s catalogue by making sure your records are up to date and deleting records of items that have been lost for more than one year.  Depending on which library system you use, you may also delete old patron records if students have returned all their books.

7. Final tidy

Lastly, a good clean-up of your library space is always important in starting the year fresh.  Recycle or shred unnecessary files, and tidy up your desk space.  Straighten the books on the shelves, and take down any old displays or bulletin boards so you can have a fresh start in the fall!

Do you have any other tips for how you get your library reading for summer?  I’d love to hear them!