Saturday, August 1, 2015

How I Organize My Classroom Library

When you are setting up your classroom library, you want to make sure that it is both organized and enticing to your students.  The main goal of a classroom library is to grow readers after all!  Here are a few of the things that I have done to organize my classroom library.

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How I Organize My Classroom Library

No Checkout System

I tried a few different systems from paper based to apps on my phone, but I ultimately abandoned them all. Students can grab any book they like, as long as they promise to return it.  I even allow students from other classes to borrow books.  You should see the looks on their faces when I tell them that!

Return Your Books Here Bin

I used to allow my students to reshelf their own books, but no matter how I labeled them, or how often I REMINDED them, they never seemed to get the books back to the right places.  I started a new system at the end of last school year that I will continue this year.  I made a "Return Your Books Here" bin where the students return their books (just like a regular library).  I then spend a few minutes each day returning the books to their proper places.  It has saved  a lot of time looking for books for students who only want to read a particular author, or who left their book out and someone else put it away who knows where.  Now my books are all in the right place.

No Levels

Levels are for books - not readers.  I use bins that are labeled by author or category.  Sometimes my students suggest categories (such as mystery, funny guy books, or princess books) as our collection grows.

Book Labels

Since my books are floating around the school, I need a way to insure that they come back.  I use labels from Scholastic book orders and some I have printed on my own.  This year I am thinking of purchasing a stamp from Vistaprint.

Picture Books

Because I teach upper elementary, most of my books are chapter books, but I also have a variety of picture books.  I encourage all of my students to check these out, not just my lower readers.  Even adults love picture books!  I don't separate these by author because, frankly, that would be too much work, and I just don't have enough space. 

This is what happens when I let students put books away! LOL!

I do have labels on these books for AR.  I do this for two reasons:

1. As a scaffold for my lower readers who struggle to find good fit books.
2. To show that some picture books have higher reading levels and ARE good fit books for some of my higher readers.

 I like to get to know my students as well as I can in order to decide what books they might be interested in.  I have uploaded the form I use as a freebie on Teachers Pay Teachers here.

**This giveaway has ended.  Please head over to our Teacher Giveaway page to enter our current giveaways.



I am so excited to be linking up with a few of my upper elementary teaching blog friends for our Upper Elementary Back To School Blog Hop!  We will be sharing our back to school tips, along with freebies, and a great giveaway!

Mrs Dessert

Now head on over to Kayla's blog, Coach and Teach to get her tip and freebie!


  1. I love seeing other class libraries. Yours may be larger than mine, which I didn't think was possible!! I don't label by levels either, I do genres/authors.

  2. Great class library. I have a couple Librarians restock the shelves at the end of the day too! I love your quote about levels, so true. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Very similar to my own class library. Great minds think alike!


  4. I love the idea of a return bin! It drives me nuts that the library gets all disorganized 5 minutes after everything was in the right place. Thanks!

    The Craft of Teaching

  5. First, I just have to say that we both seem to have a similar love of books. Your library is HUGE! With growing class sizes, I've had to give up a lot of reading corners and extra students spaces, but I refuse to give up my library area! I love your tip for using the Scholastic Book Order labels for the inside of your books! I had never thought of that I just end up throwing them away. :) Thanks for sharing!
    Literacy Loves Company

  6. Okay this favorites list is BRILLIANT! I'm adding this to my first week of school plans. I also just love the idea of ordering a stamp to label books - I get SO tired of writing my thirteen letter last name. LOL! Thank you!

  7. Kelly, my library was just like yours (kids from all over the school borrowed my books). I made stickers on Vista Print & put them on the back & the inside of my books so that they do get returned. They have been found at Morning Assembly & are sometimes returned to our school library. But, I do get them back;)

    This Little Piggy Reads


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