Classroom Library Organization

I'm going to take you on a picture walk back in time to let you check out my various classroom library systems and then I will reveal what my plan is for this school year.

First, for beauty's sake, let's take a look at my most recent classroom library. It was my library last year and the year before. See it below. One thing you will notice is that it is NOT labeled and/or organized in any certain way {GASP!}. I know, I know. Let me explain. For the past two years I have only taught MATH, so while my students visited our classroom library on occasion, they were primarily using their reading teacher's classroom library, which was organized and labeled nicely. For this reason, I chose to *not stress* over labeling and organizing - crazy right?! Hey, you pick your battles and organizing all those books was not one of them at the time. :)



Next, we have my classroom library from a few years back. I really loved how this classroom library was in the corner of the room and it was such a cozy little nook. The lamp light in the corner, the R.E.A.D. letters, the rug and the beach chairs made this such a happy little place. This classroom library was organized by A.R. level, because our school had a heavy emphasis on Accelerated Reader at the time. In fact, I organized by A.R. level for several years because of this emphasis. Now that I know better, I refuse to level my books in this way. From now on my classroom library will be organized by author or genre, never again by level. You live, you learn, you do better.

Every year I have my display book case with my monthly themed books or books we are using in science/social studies content. This is a pic of several of my Back to School books that we love reading at the beginning of the year. These books are a hands-off section of our classroom library until we have already read the book, then the students can re-read if they wish. But they always go back where they came from! I store these away when it's time to start a new month with fresh books.

Taking it WAY back, this is a picture of one of my first classroom libraries. Y'all, the picture quality on that old iPhone was so bad that I can't even make it bigger for you because it's too blurry {I'M FEELING OLD!}. You can see this library is organized and labeled by A.R. level. Read my opinion on that above. But you can also see that a recurrent theme in my classroom library are those Dollar Tree baskets! They are simply THE BEST - in ALL the colors! Ha!

Now for this year...
I can't really show you a picture of my classroom library for this year, because it's in a pile in the middle of my current classroom's floor. I haven't touched it yet - LOL! BUT, I have made a decision on how I will organize my classroom library for next year. I actually wrote an entire blog post about it {HERE}. This blog post also stresses the importance of having STURDY book baskets! You can see which ones I recommend at the link above.

In an effort to streamline my classroom decor and to tone down the brights, I *think* (subject to change) that I am going to switch out my brightly colored baskets for these Sterilite baskets. First, they fit chapter books perfectly and will actually hold MORE than the Dollar Tree ones above. Second, I'm thinking of going with WHITE baskets on my black shelves to tone down the color explosion in my classroom. Let me know your thoughts... I still can't make up my mind.


One thing I do know is how my classroom library will be organized! This year I will be teaching reading along with math, so I will need to have my classroom library nicely labeled and organized. I can't think of a better way than exactly how a library or bookstore is organized - by author. It will be easy for me, easy for the kids, and will help them to practice that real life skill of using alphabetical order. After I have made my mind up about which color Sterilite containers, I will decide on a labeling system. I'm thinking I will go with a plain, simple black and white label. This is completely the opposite of how my classroom has ever been, so I'm still debating on the color options. What do you guys think?

Join me next week for a blog post on Managing Centers in my classroom. Thanks for stopping by! See you next week!

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