Sunday, May 20, 2012

Organizing the Classroom Library

This can be a daunting task if you don't have a system already in place or you decide you need a system.  It can be a bit of an investment too.  First decide on how you want to sort your books.  Do you want them by author, themes or reading levels.  I personally have a little of each in my classroom library.  Next decide on what you will keep your books in for easy movement from a shelf to the floor or tables.  I use these.  I've had mine for about 14 years.  They are made by Rubbermaid.

I purchased them over 10 years ago at Walmart for about $2 each and they are still going strong.  Every time I see one on our freebie table at work, I grab it.    Check your Dollar Store for dishpans, they work great too.  Although I like the look of the clear boxes, they do tend to break if dropped.

Book Box Labels
Once you decide on how to organize your books, you will want to make some sort of label to place on the front of each box.  You can get my labels here. Before you start making and printing your labels, play with the size of label you will be using and how you will be attaching it.  Velcro or packing tape work the best, unless you are using Avery labels, even then, you may want to secure them with clear packing tape or clear contact paper, just to be safe.  Laminate your labels for durability.  They will take some abuse, especially if the boxes are being moved frequently from the shelves.

Label Your Books Inside and Out
Label your books.  Invest in a stamp mine reads- This book belongs to Mrs. Mugurussa or use address labels or make your own labels on the computer.  Place inside the front cover of each book.

For the outside of your books decide how students will know where to return the book to when they are finished.  I use a number system. Each box is assigned a number and every book in that box has a sticker on the upper right corner with the same number.  You could also place the number inside the front cover of the book too, just incase the sticker falls off.

Some people use matching book labels and box labels.  I too did this, however I found that the labels I made didn't adhere and students weren't paying close attention to the picture on the label.   It could be that  I was trying this method with kindergartners and the previous number method was with 2nd and 3rd graders. Check out my Labels pages for some matching labels for your tubs.

Another idea to help students know where to return books to, would be to use alphabet letters.  This works if you have no more then 26 boxes.

Check out this gadget
Intelli Scanner

This little scanner allows you to scan the isbn number of your books in order to create a customized library list.  Genius and not too expensive.  I have hundreds of books in my class library.  It is hard to remember all of the titles or the box they might/should be in.

For those of you with Smartphones, there are several apps that can do the same as the barcode scanner.  It uses the camera on your phone to take a picture of the barcode then scans the web for the title.  I've tried Book Catalogue for the Android.  I can email the database to myself and make a print out out all of my books for quick reference.  Within the database I can add notes such as the location of the books  Being that my books are organized in numbered buckets, I can quickly locate the book, once I know what boon to look in.

With the right organizational supplies and some time, organizing the class library can be accomplished.  Go slow, don't expect to be done in a few hours.  Go through the books to see what types of books you have.  As you browse, you will get an idea as to how you will want to group them.  Once you decide how to croup them, start sorting in 5 easy steps

  1. If space is a concern know how many containers you will need- buy a few extra- just in case you need more.
  2. Make your labels for the front of the  books (either numbers or letters)- I used round sticky dots and a sharpie
  3. Sort your books.
  4. Add the labels
  5. Make your book box labels and attach
Once it is complete- send my a picture- I'd love to share what you've done with everyone.
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  1. Hey, Tiffany! Thanks for the post on organizing the classroom library. This has been the bane of my existence here lately! Do you know if they have an iPhone/iPad app that does something similar to Book Catalogue?

    Oh yeah, and I'm following your blog now!

    Mr. B's Beach Brains

  2. Josh- I found this a while backbit haven't tried it yet. It is for iPhone and Android.

  3. Great tips! I'm your newest follower. Super cute blog. Check mine out at :)

  4. This is my second year of heavily concentrating on revamping my classroom library. Do you use any other Droid apps for scanning/checking out books?

    1. Booksource has a "Classroom Library Organizer". After you create an account you can scan books with their app for iPhone. You can even create a check out system. A bonus is if you happen to order books from Booksource they will download them directly into your account.

      The Write Handed Teacher

  5. Very useful post.I was in search for this from long time.


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