Flannel Friday: Storing Flannelboard Stuff

Well, I was a good worker bee and scheduled Flannel Friday posts for the last couple weeks to go up while I was on vacation, and now that I’m back, all this week I thought I had one scheduled for today as well.

Guess what? I didn’t! And it’s my day off and I can’t pull one together from home today, so this is my first Flannel Friday since January without a pattern or idea. *cue sad violin music*

However, I recently had a comment from a reader asking for storage ideas. So that’s today’s post: How do you store your flannelboards? How do you store and organize your sets and pieces? If you are a part of a larger system, do you share throughout the whole system, or does each branch have their own stash? If you share among branches, how does that work? Does anyone buy their own materials and make flannel sets on their own time, and thus consider their sets their own property, rather than the library’s? Do you store your pieces by rhyme, or do you store, say, sets of animals, and then pull out from different envelopes the ones that you need that day?

At my library, flannel sets have been stored in 10 x 13 manila envelopes, with the name of the flannel (and if it is magnetic, felt, etc) on the long edge. (I will take photos and add to this post soon.) These envelopes are set into a four-drawer file cabinet in alphabetical order, so you can riffle through the top edges in each drawer to find the one you want. There’s a typed list in a Word doc, but nothing fancy for indexing or searching.

Recently, the department has invested in some of those translucent poly envelopes, which are even better: you can see at a glance what the pieces look like and if it’s the set you’re looking for. Plus they’re more durable and less inclined to tear than the manila ones.

What do you guys do?

Share a comment with your thoughts, or write a post on your own blog (with photos!) and share the link, and I’ll write up a compilation post!

PS! The Round Up is at the amazing Andrea’s place today! Check out all the ideas atRovingfiddlehead Kidlit. It’s already up, but you can send her links throughout the day and she will add to the post. Yahoo!

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16 Responses to Flannel Friday: Storing Flannelboard Stuff

  1. Pingback: Flannel Friday Round-up July 15 | rovingfiddlehead kidlit

  2. Mary says:

    I’m a one-person department, so I have a small collection that’s all my own. I store them in large ziplock bags with the title written on the outside in sharpie. Since my collection’s small they’re not very organized, but perhaps they should be. I keep all the bags in hanging files in one of my file cabinet drawers. A colleague, who’s position was eliminated and she went to work with teens, gave me her flannels. Hers are stored in manila file folders with the sides stapeled shut. She wrote the title of the flannel on the tab.

  3. Anne says:

    Most of my most frequently used ones are in gallon-sized Ziplock bags in a banker’s box under my desk. So I wouldn’t want to emulate my organizational skills. Space is a real issue at my library, so I also store some at home. Especially ones I don’t want to go missing.
    Most of the really cool ones I made with my own felt so I don’t have to feel guilty about taking them with me if I take another job or what-have-you.

  4. Andrea says:

    I’m looking forward to hearing others storage ideas. It’s an area I always feel could use improvement. We use a lot of manilla folders too. The other thing we use are the clear hanging bags that picture book/CD combos come in (since put the CD in a pocket in the back of the book). We removed a shelf and put in a rod that the bags hang from.

  5. Nicole says:

    Ours are stored the exact same way as yours. I like the idea of putting them in the clear plastic envelopes instead because like you said, those manilla ones don’t hold up very well.

  6. Sethers says:

    That’s exactly what we do at our library too. Except for the ones I’ve made the past year. They’re all in a pile waiting to be posted as Flannel Fridays. đŸ˜›

  7. Tracey says:

    At the library where I work, flannel boards are stored in the same kind of clear, heavy plastic hanging bags that we use to display the picture book/CD/Cassette combos. The bags hang from metal rods in the children’s staff room. They are arranged alphabetically by title, and there is a list of all the flannels somewhere near the collection. If you have the space, it’s a nice way to store flannel stories.

  8. molliekay says:

    I’m in between storage systems right now, so I’m glad you posted this. The former librarian here stored them in manila file folders in a file drawer. My style is much less neat, so the one’s I’ve made are in gallon Ziploc bags inside a plastic tub. I made some of the felt boards with my own felt, so therefore they come with me when I move and I don’t loan them out. The majority of the ones I’ve made belong to the library, and I share them with the other three branches.

  9. The ones I inherited are either in envelopes or ziploc bags. The ones I’ve recently made, I’ve been putting into a plastic shoe box.

  10. joa says:

    We also store ours in ziploc bags, although we only make magnet stories now (instead of flannel.) Most of ours are stored in thematic story kits that we loan out (only to people who qualify for an “educator” card and we’ve had pretty good results with that). If we really LOVE a story, we may make two to have a back-up in our own stuff. Every thematic story kit also has a folder with page protectors in it, and some of the shorter/smaller stories are stored in those as well.

  11. Rose Loren says:

    We store all of our flannel boards in manila envelopes which are then filed alphabetically in two large file drawers. Each of the nine branches have their own collection. Most are made in house and considered library property but since our budget has been slashed, I plan to buy my own felt and supplies and will take them with me when I leave. I will loan out to the other 9 branches if I get a request. I really like the idea of using the hang up clear plastic bags but we don’t have the funds at this time to purchase them. This is a great site and resource and I am sharing this info with the other story time presenters on staff. Thanks for all the terrific ideas.

  12. Melissa says:

    Thanks for giving us a peek at your system! I’m glad Mel’s Desk is useful–let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see a post on!

  13. Tracy says:

    For my stories I have them in ziplock bags and am looking for a better way. I tried the spiral notebook with the clear zip pencil pouches for my songs as I like to use them everyday and always close to my circle time. I love this method. They are $1.00 a bag so I’m planning to slowly switch over and then organize in binders by theme: farm stories, fairy tales, color stories, etc. I will probably have to fold the large pieces to make it work.

  14. Melissa says:

    Everyone has a slightly different system! The envelopes are more expensive, but hopefully they will last much longer than Ziplocs or manila envelopes, so the cost should even out. I am never sure whether I want to fold the large pieces so they can stay right with the rest of the set, or find a flat place to store the bigger pieces separately. Let know what works out for you! Thanks Tracy!

  15. Pingback: So You Want to Make Flannelboards… | ALSC Blog

  16. Makayla says:

    A budget-friendly way to emulate the hanging media bags is to use the ziploc bags and clip a child-sized pant/skirt hanger, the ones with the clips that clothes come on in the retail stores. A sign at the circulation desk asking for them and a small picture would probably bring in more than you need! Or you could go to a department store and just ask for those to be saved for you.

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