Classroom Library Organization

This October weekend is all about organization! If you missed yesterday's post about organizing files and all your stuff just click HERE and for today we are talking about organizing your classroom library.

Again, these are my tips for a kindergarten or first grade room. I like to organize my library by theme and topic. There is no wrong way to sort your books.

I keep leveled books that I use for reading instruction separate - we are just talking about the classroom library. My students each have a book box of their own. These house their class made books {which will go home about a week after they are made to allow for time to practice reading it in class first} and leveled readers that we worked on at the reading table previously.

First, I want to just share my opinion. I know a lot of people say kids will mess around in the library, they aren't really reading {or looking at books for our pre-readers} and therefore they find the library a heart ache that is difficult to manage.

So this post will start with more of a management twist... and we will slowly get to the organization part.

Besides a lot of modeling to what library behavior should look like- I feel that a variety of books will change all of this.

You can't set up your library at the beginning of the year and expect to be done for the year.

I also know that a lot of teachers keep their read alouds separate from the library itself. Once in a while, I will keep a book to the side so I can surprise them with it, but then after I read it I always put it in the library - yes, even if it is a hardback book.

The kids are always excited to get to look at and/or read a book that I have read to them. I realize the life of the book may be a bit shorter with them handling it, but I want them to handle it and enjoy. I can get a new one every few years.

I try to change something every Friday.... sometimes it is every other Friday.

So here is my library.
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy

Close up of the right side:
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy
And now the left:
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy
{Typically the top 4 spots are for four different themes or types of books: in this case, nocturnal animals, apples, spiders and pumpkins.  On the bottom are our class made books and books donated by students on their birthday. Right now my autumn and fall books are down there too because there are so many topics this time of year and since we haven't made that many of our own books yet.}

Ok.... so as you saw above on the display this week I have all my Halloween books. They just arrived. Yep, the kiddos haven't laid their eyes on any of those books. On Monday they will be thrilled to have a whole new selection.

Last week the display was all about pumpkins and looked like this:
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy

Then instead of putting them away, the pumpkin books are moved over to the shelf:
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy

They will probably be accessible to the kids for about 3 more weeks. Then they will be back to the book shelf until next year.

It is possible, depending on time, that they will even change which bucket they are in over their time in the book shelf. Just like in your favorite store...they move things around to keep their customers interested. Your students are your customers!

Inside each book is the matching sticker to make sure the kids can put them away in the correct spot:
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy

I buy new {and used} books ALL the time. So I don't want it to be too hard to maintain my system. Don't get me wrong it took a LONG time to get all the books sorted and labeled, but now I don't want it to be that the new books aren't included or that I am reluctant to buy new books because it will be a pain to get them labeled and ready to go. No way!!   Everything is in one pouch like this:
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy

Inside are sheets of pre-printed labels ready should I buy another pumpkin book or whatever it may be. In addition there is one laminated label on a black piece of construction paper. These are put in the slots for each area of the library {and sometimes I take it to the side of the display so the kids know what goes there}

A lot of these labels I created myself. But once you make one set you can easily go in and edit it to make another one. That being said, I almost died and went to heaven when I found this resource by Jessica Meacham. Um...THANK YOU!  When you go to her link, scroll all the way down and click where it says "download labels" and enjoy!

I know I am spoiled to have such a nice piece of library furniture.  It is from Lakeshore I adore it!
But even without this you could get plastic bins at a discount store and use these. They don't even need a shelf. I used to have bins on the carpet.

Last comment, I am lucky to have a fairly large room these days, but in the past my library shared space with our morning meeting area. This seemed to make sense since no one would ever be in the library when we are meeting as a class, yet when we are away it will have plenty of nice carpet space to spread out. It also can be nice for mini lessons or introducing new themes. So even if you have a small room, you can have a fabulous library!

The classroom library should be an integral part of every single classroom. I really feel changing it up and keeping it fresh for your little ones will make the library a more engaging place for our little friends.

In an upcoming post I want to share more about how I utilize the book boxes and leveled readers.... but man, this has already been a long one today!
classroom library organization crayons and whimsy Weekend Warriors
Remember Weekend Warriors will be back the last weekend in November with a new theme and lots of great new tips from me and my WW friends!

And LAST chance to get in on this Educents bundle. It is $100 worth of goodies to last you the whole year all for just $29.99 and I am so proud to be excited to be included. Check it out!

Want more organizing tips? Check out some of these:

1 comment

  1. A forward facing display shelf would be a dream! You have all of my October favorites! Adding labels to be sure they all get to the right place is a fantastic idea!

    Creative Lesson Cafe