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Library Centers for Students

Updated on January 18, 2016
Rosie writes profile image

Rosie was an elementary school teacher for 13 years, teaching grades 3-5. She is now a Library Media Specialist in an elementary school.

Materials for Listening Centers


Library Centers

"I have never done art in the library. The library is fun." Those are the words I heard from a student the first time I had students create something in the library. "I love coming to the library," were words I began hearing on a regular basis. By offering literature-based hands-on activities, my library has become an engaging and motivating place of learning. In this article I will share some of the activities and resources I have used to create library centers and enhance learning in my school community.

Listening Centers

Providing opportunities for students to listen to books is very beneficial to their enjoyment of reading and learning how to read with fluency. I have found while listening centers appeal to all students, below grade level readers particularly enjoy them. Setting up listening centers is easy to do. I like having several small listening centers, each designed for 3-4 students, spread throughout the library.

When I first began my search for ideas in creating a listening center, I was surprised to find that I had most of the materials needed to put them together immediately. After skimming through multiple Pinterest pictures, I decided to use simple crates, stacked to create small cubbies for baskets that hold headphones, books, tapes and CDs. I placed the audio devices on top of the crates. Students sit on the carpet and enjoy listening to books in small groups. I purchased new headphones with Scholastic dollars from our most recent book fair. I have discovered that keeping it simple is the best way to go.

Bookmarks to Color

Ocean-themed bookmark to color.
Ocean-themed bookmark to color. | Source

Bookmark Centers

Students love bookmarks! They want to color them and create them. I always have bookmarks for students to take with them and it is a thrill. They are truly disappointed if we do not have them. There are many ways to incorporate bookmarks into a center. I like to use bookmarks that go along with a theme. Whatever skill I am focusing on or series I am introducing, I will try to tie the bookmark center to that topic. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Nature-themed bookmarks: These are perfect during the Spring when everything is beginning to bloom. They tie in nicely with any books or units dealing with plants, the sun and growth.
  • Animal-themed bookmarks are great with books that are about life cycles, food chains, oceans, and habitats.
  • Language Arts: Bookmarks are great for reinforcing skills such as research, writing, grammar and mechanics.
  • Math and Science: Math skills that require memorization are perfect to incorporate into bookmarks. Some examples are order of operations, long division, multiplication facts and word problems.

Other simple ideas include using construction paper scraps. Students can put a few stickers and their names on these. The teacher assistants always keep these for me so they are in high supply. Another old idea but great one is to use recycled Christmas and Birthday cards. Students love cutting these up with fancy-edged scissors.


Reading Centers

Students love having places to read in the library. When I began to think about this, It was fun setting up spaces with bean bags, pillows and stuffed animals for students to enjoy reading with. Once teachers and parents saw this new idea coming about, they began bringing in brand new stuffed animals and pillows. When these centers first began, some students did not behave well while in them. We decided to use the "cozy reading center" as a reward for following the rules and reading quietly. Now students see these centers as a privilege and are more aware of their behavior while in them.

Technology Area


Skills Centers

Skill centers are a great way for librarians to support the curriculum on every grade level. Focusing on skills where student performance is weak, can have a noticeable impact on student achievement and progress. Ideas for these centers can be pulled from professional resources including instructional magazines and educational sites such as Teachers Pay Teachers. One example that I have found useful are scavenger hunts that focus on alphabetical order, fiction versus nonfiction, and location. Another is popsicle stick activities that allow students to interact instead of simply recording.

Technology is easy to incorporate into skill centers. Creating tasks for students to complete such as creating a Google Document or Presentation, teaching students how to utilize the online library catalog, and accessing online reading materials, reading online books and using educational sites to practice related skills, are all very beneficial.


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    • Rosie writes profile image

      Rosie writes 2 years ago from Virginia

      I agree. Most classrooms do not have them, so I think the library is a great place to offer audio books.

    • Mark Johann profile image

      Mark Johann 2 years ago from Italy

      It is really indeed useful to have listening centers. I appreciate your hub and I know many things which are not in some libraries.