{How To} My Classroom Library

My name is Alisha and I'm addicted to books.

There, I said it. I like them, okay? I do not need anymore whatsoever in my classroom library. I really really really do not need more at all. So, when a friend asked me if I wanted to look through these three boxes of books that she had, what did I say?

I said yes of course. What do you think that I'm crazy or something? I can't turn down books. In fact, I kept most of them. I don't have room for them, but I have them. 

Anyway, I had a few people ask me how I organize my classroom library and how I let the kids use it, organize it, etc. So, I'm writing about that today! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, then you've seen my classroom library a few times and so these pictures may be old news to you.

Here it is. Gang's all here! My bins are all labeled with my Chalkboard labels that you can find by clicking the pictures below. I have two different kinds, but my library has both because I couldn't choose between the two. I just kinda sorta loved them both so I kinda sorta used them both!



Okay, so let's talk bins. Where do bins come from? My bins are like a mixture of bins. They don't all match which kinda drives me crazy. You can find cheap, brightly colored bins (the ones that are leveled by reading level in my library) at Dollar Tree. I would suggest everyone start there first. The other bins are from Big Lots, Joanne Fabrics, and Wal-Mart. I know many other places have great book bins too though. It just depends what quality and price you are really looking for. The Wal-Mart bins are originally white. They didn't match my room. Enter spray paint.

Look at those labels I used to use! What the what? Anyway, those white bins are a few years old and show dirty so easily. My trusty magic eraser wouldn't even work, so spray paint it was.

The three bottom bins and the "Dinosaurs" book bin were spray painted, along with others not shown in this picture. To jazz up my bins, I also added some cupcake duct tape around the top edges. That tape really made it pop in color! It really brought out the book bin labels. Plus, it matches my room :)

I mean books of course.

I don't have a picture of this, but I should've taken one. While separating my books, I pretty much took up a good quarter of my floor. It's easier for me to see them all laying out in the open, all exposed. After separating them, I placed each label on top of each stack. After that, I hot glued my labels to my bins and then in went the books into the appropriate bin. Also, my labels are laminated to last (hopefully) a long time!

Okay, so here's my library.

Look at the afternoon sun! Sidenote: there's carpet on that floor now. It looks much cozier with the carpet. Anyway, These are all the bins I have out. I've started the year with levels A-G, penguins, ABCs, transportation, rainforest, picture books (3), dinosaurs, farm, ocean, Dr. Seuss, bugs, arctic, apples, pets, animals, Level 1 Readers, feelings and manners, math, Splat, fairy tales, Laura Numeroff, Jan Brett, Characters We Love, Back To School, Our Favorites, and butterflies. Do you see those closed doors? There's more books stacked in there ready to be placed out when the time comes. Some of those include levels H and I, pumpkins, fall, and Halloween. I have even more books tucked in my closet organized and ready to be pulled as well. Le sigh.

Anyway, when the time comes, I'll switch out some books. Hopefully by October, I will be able to switch out my A and B tubs for some H and I tubs. I'll also switch out some other tubs for the fall, pumpkins, etc. I'm not sure which ones yet (besides apples), but I'll figure it out when the time comes. The point is... I don't keep all of my books out all year long. That would be intense and quite frankly, a downright mess. Ain't nobody got time {or space} for that.

Anyway, here's some close-ups of our bins. I hope my firsties love them as much as I do!

{Left Bin: Wal-Mart Right Bin: Joann Fabrics}

This should really say, "Let's Talk Books and Kids." If you look back at the picture of my whole library, you will see a larger blue tub sitting on the floor. This is my Book Return. When my students book shop on their appropriate day (each guided reading group is assigned a day of the week), they empty their books from their book baskets into this bin. I'll admit, some students are gentler than others. I'll admit, some books have gotten hurt and ill in the process. It happens when you have 20 or so first graders handling books everyday. To put books back, I typically have a helper or two. I will take books out one or two at a time, hand it to my helper, and then the helper will put the book back the right way.

People, I'm crazy. I want my books back a particular way- cover in the front or spine facing me. Eventually, most of the kids learn this and can do it on their own by the end of the year. That's what we are shooting for at least- more independence.

Also, my students get 4 books at a time at the beginning of the year. Usually by the end, I let them have five or six. It really just depends.

Also, I am no expert whatsoever and never will I ever be. This is just how a library works in one classroom and it just so happens to be mine!

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  1. I have crazy amounts of books too! This year I got smart and organized them by theme. That way I can just switch out the theme books when it's time and leave the others out the whole year. I also put all my theme books in white magazine boxes for easier storage. I stick my labels on with Velcro so I can just switch the themes out. I always make my students place my books cover out or spine out too! Those poor Kinders don't know what hit 'em, I love my books too much to let them look messy!

  2. Several teachers have given me a lot of baskets. (I'm kinda a hoarder. A clean one) Anyway, spray painting them to match is a wonderful idea!!
    Mrs.Christy’s Leaping Loopers

  3. Such a pretty library! I love how the spray painted bins turned out!
    Short and Sassy Teacher

  4. So your students shop for books once a week? Do you find that they stay interested with those books for the whole week? How do you tackle the old "I read all of them already!"???

    Miss Woodward's Class

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