Tricks of the Trade Thursdays: Classroom Library Organization

Welcome folks! 
Happy Thursday!!!
This is my last Thursday of the school year (!!!!)
and I am so pumped!
Tricks of the Trade WILL continue through the summer.
You can read all about it and get a schedule for upcoming weeks by clicking on the tab at the top of my blog page:
This week's theme is...
I *LOVE* my classroom library!
It's definitely my favorite place in my classroom!
I bought my bookshelves at the Salvation Army for $10 each
A neighbor donated the body pillows to my classroom and
I bought the "rug" aka a patterned blanket for $1 at GoodWill :)
Label, Label, Label!
When I get a new book, it gets two (or three!) stickers:
1. "This Book Belongs to Mrs. Lawler"
I print these on return address labels and
stick them on the bottom right-hand corner of the book
2. Also, when a family donates a book to my classroom,
I have the student fill in a
"Donated by..."
sticker and put it inside the front cover:
 2. Colorful dot stickers
I have a dot system that differentiates the books by genre:
This summer, I have a project planned to add:
Orange dots for Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Purple dots for Poetry

On books with multiple books in a series,
I write the book number on the sticker:

I also label the different genres in my library with different tags, so that my "librarian of the week" can put the books from the "Book Return bin" away in the correct section.

Here is a link to a lot of fun FREE library genre labels:
The site includes BOTH fiction and non-fiction,
as well as some favorite author labels
Book Bins
Most of my books are loose on the shelves because I think baskets often take up too much space and my kids are big enough to sort through the books without getting them all jumbled up. (most of my kids anyway!)

I do, however, have 16 baskets that I made last summer when I decided to focus my reading curriculum on author studies. I pulled books by noteworthy authors that I wanted to highlight during the year and put them in bins from the Dollar Tree:
I have a special spot in my library for an 
Author's Spotlight:
At the beginning of the school year, the students do an
Author Study research project and their reports
get rotated through this station all year long (one per week)

I also have four bins that I use for my history books. 
They are divided by topic or era:
Student Check-Out
I have a low-maintenance system for checking out books to students. I have a separate file folder for each class:
Inside, each student has a pocket and a library card
with their name and number on it:
The students write the date and the title of the book that they check out. Then, when they return the book, they have to
cross it off before sighing out another one.
A sample student card:
*I bought the library pockets from the Dollar Tree and ordered these library cards from Amazon*
Book Recommendations
My students LOVE to recommend books that they've read - and they're more likely to pick up a book (and read to the end!) if a classmate or I recommend it.
I have a special spot in my bord called "Tweet Reads" where students write a recommendation in a Twitter format (140 characters or less). The students love counting their letters to make sure they're within the limit:
*I cannot remember where I found this form - it was a freebie I downloaded long before I started blogging :) If you know who created this, please let me know so I can give them the proper credit :)
Getting Creative With Space
I quickly ran out of bookshelf space last fall. I was given a brown book shelf that had been stuck in a closet somewhere, but it wasn't long before that one was filled too.
So I had to get creative.
I was walking through my neighborhood one day when I found a large three-drawer organizer on the side of the road with a beautiful sign that read FREE (one of my favorite words!)
I snatched it up and brought it into my classroom. 
I couldn't decide what to use it for,
until a brilliant idea dawned on me...
fill it with books!
I took off the lid and put my Mystery section in the top drawer:
The second and third drawer hold all of my animal fiction books:
I also have books in crates, in my desk drawers, and in reusable grocery bags :)

As a reading teacher, it is my goal to
instill a passion for reading in my students. 
Having a well-stocked classroom library is key to doing just that.
Speaking of stocking my library, I am SO pumped for the
Scholastic Book Warehouse sale
that I'm going to this weekend.
If there is one near you, you MUST go! Seriously.
All books are at least 50% off and many are more! They also have a great section where you can stuff as many books as will fit into a cardboard box for $25!

QUESTION for YOU, my dear readers:
How do you feel about Reading Logs?
Love em? Hate em? Use them? Don't?

I'm looking to change my system for next year
and would like your feedback!

Now it's your turn!


  1. I feel like I should definitely do a featured author section... love that idea!

  2. Great ideas! I am glad that I didn't do my labels yet:) And thank you for the reminder about the Scholastic Book Warehouse sale! I just printed out my Fast Pass with my $10/$25 off coupon. The one near me starts on Monday:)

  3. Love your author's spotlight! :) Thanks for sharing. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  4. I love how creative you are with all your storage spaces! I just bought a bookcase at a yard sale for $7 this weekend and can't wait to fix it up:) Love your author's spotlight too! One of these days I will get my act together and link is out Friday! Yippee!!
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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