Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom- Library Organization

Oh...classroom libraries. My little 'ol classroom library started with some books that I found at garage sales, the Goodwill, or at my local library's "Sale" section. This past school year was the first time I sent out Scholastic book orders and boy, has my book collection grown...and quickly!

I was excited to find out that this week's Wednesday Wisdom was all about organizing classroom libraries!


Most of what I do is a combination of things my mentor teachers have done and things that just make sense to me. 

Here's where the fun begins. 

One of my mentor teachers bought me this stamp and colored stamp pad when I finished my placement in her class. All of her books had a rainbow stamp in the front cover and she said that so many of her students point that out as something they remember about being in her class. It was an honor to follow this little tradition of hers in my class! So first things first. Every book gets a rainbow stamp.

My school uses Scholastic's Reading Counts program so I am able to create book labels that include The title and author, lexiles, reading levels, guided reading levels, and point totals. I print 2 copies of each label and one goes on the front cover somewhere towards the bottom. The other label gets stuck onto and index card and inserted in a peel and stick library pocket. The pocket goes in the front of the book. 

Every student has their own peel and stick pocket that has been affixed to a piece poster board. Students' classroom numbers are on the front so I can use the poster again next year. I don't have a picture of the poster....darn...

... but these are the darling little polka dot pockets that I used. 

When a student is ready to "check out" a book, they remove the index card from the cover of the book and put it into their numbered pocket on the poster. This way I always know who is responsible for which books. When students are ready to return their books they put the index card back in the book and return the book to its spot on the shelf. 

As far as organizing books on the shelf....ugh, I don't have a pic of either...the one spot in my classroom that I don't have a picture in the heck does that happen.

As I was saying...organizing books on the shelf...oh, yes...

Most books are organized by Lexile. I have some series' like Little House on the Prairie, Magic School Bus, those get special bins. This year I think I'll also have a bin for biographies too!

And I organize them in clear, plastic shoes boxes...GASP! 

I know, clear! What am I thinking?? Let me tell you what I'm thinking...

I'm thinking that one day I'll walk into Target or Michael's or some place like that and I'll fall in love with the cutest bins ever. I'll think, "ooooh, those would be perfect book bins for my class library!" I'll buy the 5-6 that they have and that'll be enough because I'm a new teacher and I don't have that many books anyways. {Sigh}

But then my book collection will grow...I'll be stamping and labeling away...and when I go back to the store those bins will be discontinued or something of that sort. I'll be heartbroken and I'll have to try and find other bins that will match, and even if some bins come close, they won't be the same...

and that will drive me CUH-RAY-ZEE! No, like seriously crazy.

It must also drive my other mentor teacher and bestie, Mrs. Carvalho, crazy because she's the one who advised me to get clear bins in the first place. And besides, the bins get all cutesie when you put colorful labels and such so it's no biggie to me.

So let's hear do you bin? Color? Clear? Some crazy combo? We don't judge here...just don't tell me you go bin-less...ha!

Check out Primary Possibilities for links to more ideas for organizing your classroom library.


  1. Your post made me laugh out loud, literally! My
    classroom library is my very favorite spot in my room! I use reallygoodstuff baskets and LOVE them! Although this year I am having to order a few more! Luckily they have had the same ones forever!! I totally feel your pain with things not matching:)

    That's So Second Grade!

  2. I love the rainbow stamp and your idea for checking out books - I am definitely stealing it :)

  3. Thanks for your comment! Yes, I do love the clear bins… they are easy, and you can always find them at a store. I have 9 bins on each shelf alone, which is 27 bins altogether!!! YIKES. I am a new teacher too, but I was on the hunt for books all throughout college. Good luck with all of your matching and organization!

  4. Hey Ashley, I'm glad you liked the post! So smart to get bins from a place that will probably have them long term :)

    Kelly, I'm glad you're stealing the idea. It really does work well!

    Britney, so smart of you to start collecting books during college. I LOVE seeing my library grow. It's so exciting.