Sunday, July 10, 2011

Classroom Libraries - Setting Up the Classroom Series



This post is part of my Setting Up Your Classroom Series. Click here to view more posts from the series.

The library is an important part of the classroom. I'm going to skip the statistics on how many books per child you need and whatnot because, quite frankly, I haven't a clue. In my opinion though, you should have lots and lots and lots.



Click here to see how I get oodles of free books for my library each year.

Setting up and organizing a classroom library has a lot to do with personal preference, grade level and space. You want to make it easy for the students to use and easy for you to manage. Here are some tips to get you started:

  • From my experience, I've found that having an elaborate check-out system is not necessary. A few books may be lost or damaged over the course of the year, but the time necessary to manage a check-out system doesn't always prevent this from happening. Instead, establish expectations and procedures for respecting the books and using the library.
  • I've recently broken my library up and spread it around the classroom. I really like this as it enables more children to browse comfortably. I have a section for my leveled picture books, a section for my chapter books (organized by series, genre and favorite authors), and a non-fiction section. I also have a section for the text books and reference books (i.e. dictionaries and thesaurus). I love that my kids are "surrounded by literature."
  • Find a way to make your books face forward. Students are not likely to select them if the spines are showing. The covers are much more enticing.
  • Consider rotating your books or creating a themed section to increase interest and keep things fresh.
  • Decide how you want your books to be sorted and labeled and plan how adding books in the future will effect that.
  • Using uniform baskets/bins creates an organized look.
  • Create a "return bin" for students to put books into. Have a parent volunteer or responsible student librarian return them from there to their actual basket.
  • Set rules / guidelines for using the library. In my classroom the students are each assigned a day to access the classroom library and pick books for their bag. They may also request a conference with me to discuss what they've read and can pick books afterwards.
  • Add the words, "The classroom library is CLOSED when I am absent to your substitute teacher plans." Just trust me on this one.



This teacher explains a wonderful activity she did to teach her students about genre at the start of the new year. Read her blog post here.



Super cute pillows...and they were made with tacky glue. As a non-sewer, I can get on board with this idea.


This teacher has as smaller-sized library and swaps out the books. She writes:
"Beside the mail boxes is my reading center. I have my books stored in baskets by genre, or author, or subject matter. This is about 1/6 of my books. I don't have enough shelves to put them all out at once. It's kind of refreshing to be able to switch them out. The kids enjoy the new books."


I adore this classroom. The color scheme is so calming and the organization makes my heart skip a beat. This teacher split her library up into different parts of the room (see below).



Another library that is calming. Using containers that create uniformity is a great way to pull everything together.



Love the whimsical look of this library.




Teachers Who Have Shared Their Library Online

Beth Newingham takes library organization to a whole other level. Read about her systems and see a video of her library here.

Here's a link to ideas from teachers on how they manage their libraries.


how to set up a classroom classroom design class set up tool classroom set up tool set-up setting up an elementary school classroom kindergarten first 1st second 2nd third 3rd 4th fourth 5th fifth arrangement design organization arrange theme cleaning decluttering organized classroom preparing a classroom getting ready for the first day of school preparing a classroom first year teacher classroom organization how to organize a classroom preparing for the first day of school setting up a classroom for the new year how to set up a classroom library organizing a classroom library


Be sure to follow my blog and store  and Facebook Page for notification of the FreebiesClick here to access a collection of Teacher Tips or tour my Classroom Makeover here.

8 comments:

  1. Love your blog - so many amazing ideas!! Just wondering if you are planning to continue your classroom themes? Eagerly awaiting you going green theme :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. 'you going green' should of course say 'your going green'!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for this post. Right now all my library is housed in built-ins (which I AM lucky to have) but it's too crowded during Monday book shopping! I am splitting up into 3 sections this year. I also agree there is no need for checkout and never had an issue
    Rachel

    ReplyDelete
  4. What a wonderful post!! I too am in love with the library with the blue couch! I tried so hard to keep all my bins the same colors, but I needed more and wasn't able to find them again. Maybe I should make my labels with the bright color border? I would love to hear any suggestions you have about my classroom library or ways to improve it. Thank you so much for linking!
    -Audrey
    The Sweet Life of Third Grade

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a new follower, and I am loving this little series, because I am moving grade-level/classroom this year! Thanks for all of the ideas!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was pleased to see a picture of my classroom on this blog! Love the other fun ideas.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A great way to organize books with the cover showing is to install rain gutter book shelves. They are inexpensive and easy to install. Check out jimtrelease.com for specific directions. Kids are more likely to pick up a book if they can see the cover illustration! :)

    ReplyDelete