Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tricks of the Trade Linky- Classroom Library Organization

I love books.  Love, love.  I love old books....and brand new books.... mostly hardcover books...but I won't pass up a paperback either... I adore books with dust jackets.  I love old Nancy Drew books.  I like mysteries... historical fiction... biographies... books that are mindless stories- I call them "fluff".  I can't get enough.  I even made my blog background...books.  My classroom library is something I try hard to keep updated and motivating for student reading.

The classroom library is always a work in progress.  Books get torn, old, yellow.... and need to be replaced with the (same) story that is new, with an updated cover, and not falling apart.  It just means the stories are well loved.

I'm linking up with ~Joy in the Journey~ to share how my classroom library is organized.  I have three main parts:  The Physical Space, The Book Cycle, and The Check Out System.

...The Physical Space...

Ok so this isn't actually what my classroom library looks like right this second.  It is currently covered up and ready for summer cleaning.  Next year I'm moving these red bookshelves to the front of the room, but you get the idea.  The books are on bookshelves.  

I keep them organized by genre.  When a new book comes in, we classify it and put a dot sticker on it- I put the correct colored dot on and then reinforce it with packaging tape along the entire spine just to help it last a tad bit longer.  I'm not sure if it actually helps, but I keep doing it anyway.  

If you look carefully, you can see books with pink stickers (fantasy), blue (mystery), yellow (biography), and green (those are actually science chapter books).  There is a poster hidden on the side wall explaining this, but you can't see it.  I label all books- chapter and picture books, but the bookshelves here are only for chapter books.

This picture is actually horrible for explaining this, but it's the only one I have since it's summer!  Basically, the kids put the books back according to genre and it really helps us put books back correctly.  On top of the bookshelves I have science magazines organized by title, and the black crate has science books (this is from when I was the science teacher!).  

This system is super simple to keep up with, and not too specific for organizational purposes- match by color/genre and we're good.  

This summer I'm working on labels for the back of each book with the Lexile and GR level for my own information as well as to guide student choice.  It's a work in progress right now. 

...The Book Cycle...

I add books all year long, but I only clean out books once at the end of each school year.  If a book is damaged during the year, I fix it and put it back (unless it's destroyed beyond repair).  At the end of the year I'll go through all the books *quickly* and discard anything that is not fixable or just really old (Space Jam?  These kids are like..."what is this?").  

Every time we place a book order with Scholastic, I have the kids help me "shop" for new books they want to read.  This way, a student who didn't order could still potentially order the book they wanted for the class.  I only spend points on these, and sometimes we spend more points and sometimes we spend fewer.  I sometimes pick out a few I think they would like as well.  When the books come in, I do a book "show and tell" and if I know a certain student is looking for a book, I'll be sure to get it and let them have it first.  Then we start "book lists" for students who are waiting to check out each book.  It's always an exciting day, and we keep high interest books in circulation all year long.  

I try to hit up the Scholastic Book Fair sale at least once a year.  This year I left with these:

Around May/June, our local libraries have a gigantic book sale for books they don't need anymore.  Usually, hardcover children's books are $1 and paperbacks are $.50, so I always stop by to check that out as well.  This year I found these treasures:

...The Check Out System...

I use the {Booksource Classroom Organizer} website and app.  I also make sure to read their emails because they tend to have some pretty decent recommendations.  I scan in each book when I label it and then it goes to the bookshelf (or directly in the hands of an eager reader!).  

Then students can check out the book- they can check it out on the back student computers or bring it to me and I'll scan it.  In the future, I'm hoping we have classroom iPads for them to use, but right now we use my iPhone or my Android Tablet.  The app works great on both and syncs immediately- we've never had a problem.

When they are done, they bring it back and check it back in the same way and put it back on the shelf.  It's that easy.  

{Link up} and share your ideas!


  1. Space Jam! That made me smile. I am cleaning out my library this week and I found a few things like that. = )

    Suntans and Lesson Plans

  2. I see some favorites in your new purchases stacks. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners