Back to School Series! Covering, Labelling and Contacting Children’s Schoolbooks
As a librarian I am always asked at this time of the year how to cover school books. I get texts, calls and tagged in Facebook statuses: “Attacking the mountain of school book contacting today and hoping Megan Daley might pop in…will provide cake”; “Megan Daley WHERE ARE YOU when I need you?! Sobbing into a sticky mess of wasted contact”.
Don’t librarians get asked about the most interesting things? But clearly it’s something that stresses many and given this blog is about children’s books, and school books are children’s books…it’s all good; we can talk contact. This blog post is not going to save the world, but it may save some tears, screams, sobs and dodgy Facebook statuses.
Disclaimer: I don’t actually cover ANY books, I got sweaty hands just taking this photo of contact. Our wonderful library technician Julie does the covering. The woman is a contacting genius and can have the job done (and no bubbles) in the time it takes me to give my excuses as to why I’ve never actually covered one book in all my years as a librarian. Julie would panic if I suddenly wanted to contact. Watch out Julie, when PudStar needs books covered the pile is coming to you.
Step One: Check first!
Firstly work out if your child’s school actually wants you to contact books. When I was teaching Year Two I’d collect all the exercise books, and just use them as needed for whichever child needed one. Many early childhood classrooms pool resources like pencils and lined books. You don’t want to go to all the effort of covering, if your child won’t even be using your beautifully covered books!
Step Two: Cover
I used to love, love, love collaging my books for the year. Mum would cover the books in brown paper and my sister and I would cut out pictures from magazines, lolly wrappers and Christmas wrapping paper. It took up days in the summer holidays and now I have my own children I understand the importance of engaging and time consuming summer holiday activities. So if your children are collagers…collage away, otherwise you can just cover with wrapping paper so they all match and are easily identified, or just leave them plain.
Step Three: Label
Label your children’s schoolbooks clearly. I’ve noticed lots of the parents at the school I work at have cottoned onto the Vistaprint address label for schoolbooks. I bet they too have Vistaprint ‘Drawers of Shame’ as I do. To create labels in Vistaprint, select ‘address labels’ from the product list. Delete all the text, add in your child’s first and surname, make the text as large as possible and add a picture or symbol if you wish. They come in the mail in a few days…easy. The labels below are ones mum had done recently to put in books they give to their five granddaughters. They are the perfect size for labelling schoolbooks and you can choose fast shipping in 3-5 days. To access the Vistaprint link click here.
Step Four: Contact
Julie’s tips for contacting your children’s schoolbooks:
Always use the best quality contact you can find and/or afford. We use RAECO brand in the library. Share a roll amongst family, neighbours or classmates! Thick, good quality contact is the number one tip for ease of covering and less tears all round.
Now to the actual covering:
- After cutting contact to size (allow 5cm around book), fold contact in half.
- Peel backing off contact to fold line.
- Carefully place one side of the book on the contact.
- Turn book over and smooth out any bubbles in the contact – a ruler is a good tool for this.
- Snip excess contact to book corners and fold flaps to inside of book cover.
- With the uncovered half of the book facing up, pull backing off remaining contact slowly while smoothing contact onto book.
- As step 5.
So there it is. Covering a schoolbook with contact. If that is still sending shivers down your spine, Spencil does the most gorgeous schoolbook covers around. The amazing Kate Knapp of Twigseeds has done a ragne of Spencil school book covers and the designs are awfully beautiful, you can see them here.