I've been wanting to write a post for some time now about an incredible application to use for your classroom library circulation and organization: Delicious Library 2. There's so much to share about this application, I am sure I will never do it justice.
I wasn't asked to write this post or promote the product and I acquired the app like everyone can: I downloaded the free trial. But once I started using it, I was hooked; I purchased the $35 app shortly after (like...10 minutes after) downloading the free trial. I've been using it for a year and a half and still love it.
There's just one catch: it's only compatible with Macs. That works fine for me since our school is an Apple 1:1 school and all of our devices and computers at home are Macs.
This is what I love most about it: you would think Apple designed the app themselves. It works seamlessly with all your other applications, like your contacts in Address Book, iTunes (it catalogs your music for you...automatically!), iCal, and more.
And it uses your iSight web cam to scan in--YES, scan--your books, CDs, DVDs, or anything with a barcode on it.
If it can't read the barcode, you can just type in the title and it will search for the ISBN for you. It uses Amazon.com's enormous library of books to find the right one. And if it's not there, you can enter the information the old-fashioned way: typing it in. I've only had to do this with a few (less than 10) books that were either out-of-print or exclusive Scholastic Book Clubs books.
Checking a book out to students is a treat, too. I have all my students in my contacts already because they email me at the beginning of the year then I set up a group in my Mail app. Their names appear automatically in the side bar. All I have to do is click on the image of the book and drag it to their name. It then assigns it to the student. Click on the student's name and you will see the book and the due date (default is one week, but you can change it by clicking on a different date). A red "late" notice will appear if the book is overdue.
You can also sync the app to work with iCal. Have your students subscribe to your iCal and they will always know when their book is due! No need for paper cards or reminders.
An added bonus that I haven't tried out yet, but plan to this summer is the sharing via the web option. You can share your collection on your website (or school's website) so students can browse your book shelves from anywhere. They'll also see if the book is available or already checked-out by someone.
For a $35 one-time fee, Delicious Library 2 is a bargain. You don't need additional hardware to use it and you can even use it with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.
UPDATE: They have an iPhone app (Called "Delicious Scanner") but it is only compatible with Delicious Library 3. More on that soon...
I'm not sure if this offer is still good or not, but last year the people at Delicious Monster were looking for teachers, librarians, or anyone involved in a non-profit organization for a giveaway of their hard-copy versions (the version on the site is a digital download). And there's no catch: they just want you to have it...FREE! I had already purchased the digital version, so I am not familiar with the hard-copy, but I assume it is the same. For more information, see their blog post about it (includes contact information): An Exciting Giveaway.
What do you use for organizing your classroom library and checking out books? Comment below to share your ideas.