How do you organize your classroom libraries?

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How do you organize your classroom libraries?

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mar 1, 2007, 7:59 pm

My friend and I are trying to figure out what the best way to organize our classroom libraries are (i.e., leveled, browsing boxes, genre, etc)...

What have other people done?

Chelsea :)

mar 8, 2007, 2:39 pm

I'm thinking about that same question. I have a ton of books on all different ages and levels.
I student teach in Sept (I am an older student though, I have three daughters :-)
I'm thinking & heard from other teachers it is really going to depend on grade level and amount of room you have. Some teachers (gr 1-3) said they start the year with a small amount of books and add to it each month so as not to overwhelm the kids and to also always have new books coming in.
I would be interested in hearing what others are doing.
Have a good day,

mar 17, 2007, 2:57 pm

That's a great idea! That's something a teacher friend and I have been thinking about... how not to get our libraries from getting "stale" to the kids... to always have something new coming in. :)

So a gradual-building library, I like it!

Chelsea :)

jan 2, 2008, 7:23 pm

When I taught fourth grade, I had my library organized by genre in bookshelves. I tried having check-out cards for each book and having a librarian responsible, but that was hard to maintain. What started doing at the end of the year (wish I had thought of it sooner!), was give each kid a huge "book-mark" made out of tagboard. The book mark had their name and number on it. When they checked out a book, they had to write the name of the book on their book mark and then leave the bookmark on the shelves marking where they had taken the book out. This way, I could see at a glance how many books were out, and we could easily go see what book someone had checked out. Also, when a child was done with the book I could be sure that it was filed back correctly- which made maintaining the shelves a lot easier.

I had a database on my computer (which was stolen, and I stupidly didn't make a back-up copy), which listed titles, authors, themes, genres, and reading level. The database helped me look up books that might interest young readers as I could sort by theme, or reading level especially. Since I'm now in Kindergarten, all of my chapter books are boxed up and taking up an inordinate amount of room in my garage. Eventually I plan on adding them to my account here, and I can tag them with RL, genre, and classroom library.

maj 24, 2008, 1:01 pm

I don't know what age the kids are when you refer to grades but I'm guessing if you have a class library are they youngsters?

maj 27, 2008, 10:34 pm

I think it all depends on what kind of program your school uses. For example mine uses AR so generally teachers arrange them by levels instead of genres. HOwever, I think genre is better because this helps the children navigate as if they were in a real's all about life-skills.

maj 28, 2008, 1:21 am

...and just where do teachers get all those books?

I won't get to the student teaching stage until Jan, but since discovering LT always figured it would be part of organizing my classroom books...

#2 Here's to the older student! We're older but wiser...? (my 3 are sons though)...

maj 29, 2008, 6:00 pm

As an update... in September, I decided to organize mine by genre. It worked out great. My only challenge I need to look into next year is getting the kids to put the books BACK from which genre they got the book.


My biggest investment is my class library. I'm about to finish my first year of teaching and whew... it's been a long one, but my library has grown!

Thrift stores, garage sales, Scholastic, and book warehouses are great places to find really cheap (but good) kids books. That's where I mostly check and buy. In Hampton Roads (Virginia), there is a program called REACH and they give away literally thousands of books each year... teachers and parents can just go by there and pick up however many they want.

Donors, department stores, and thrift stores donate to this program, and it's pretty fabulous. Their aim is just to get the books back into childrens' hands.

Chelsea :)

aug 5, 2008, 2:10 pm

Hats off to all of us older students. I agree, we are wiser. I would never have been this focused when I was 18. I have a mixture - 2 daughters and 1 son, ages 28 -21. I don't start my student teaching for another year.

Another good place to find books is at library sales and used book stores. There is a store here in Houston (TX) called Half-Price Books. You can take books and get store credit. Our elementary school library does a book swap each year. Our teachers will donate adult books for the librarian to take to Half-Price. She then buys children's books with the store credit to help get books for the swap. If you have a store in your area like this, maybe friends and family would be willing to give you their old books for you to exchange.

aug 5, 2008, 3:33 pm

Those of you looking for books for your library should check out DonorsChoose. It used to only be in select locations, but now it is nationwide. You can write grants for pretty much ANYTHING you need in your classroom, and normal people can fund them.

Also, anyone in Chicago should check out The Rochelle Lee Fund, which is all about giving high quality children's literature to teachers.

Redigerat: aug 22, 2008, 2:01 am

This will be my second year teaching 4th grade and I mostly organize by level (and alphabetical by author's last name within the levels), but I also have separate sections for series, popular authors, non-fiction, non-leveled picture books, etc.

You can check out my organizing scheme on my profile page under "tags used for inventorying".

maj 31, 2011, 2:04 am

I organize my middle school classroom library by genre. With the help of our now laid off school librarian, I ordered several roles of genre stickers from one of her supply sources. The stickers are colorful and have a symbol representing the genre. The stickers go on the spines, and most of the time students return them to the right place!

jul 13, 2011, 9:06 pm

Genres is the way to go! I used Linda Hoyt's book to help me decide on the number of genres I'd separate my books into.

jul 14, 2011, 5:18 pm

One of my professors in graduate school explained that your classroom library should look like a bookstore. You should have some books arranged by topics, some in browsing bins (newly purchased books), popular authors and series books should be put together, some should be categorized by genre. They should face outward, so the children have access to the covers.

This past school year was my first year (self-contained, special education 8th grade). I taught math and spread some interesting books around the classroom. Before class and after class my students actually picked up the books and read them! I think just having access to them spurred their interests.

jul 30, 2011, 8:54 pm

Our district uses F&P and so we were asked to put the majority of our libraries in levels. The books I cannot level (or that I have multiple copies of) I arrange by genre. I then try to highlight books for browsing that match whatever topic we may be covering, i.e., Pedro's Journal when we study explorers, etc.