I recently revamped our classroom library. I got rid of books (duplicates and old worn-out books), and more importantly, I re-did my categories and organization. I split a lot of categories into more narrowed down categories. This allowed me to line up our classroom library more closely to our themes and units. For example: instead of 5 boxes of “holiday” books, we now have holiday-specific boxes. There’s a Halloween box, a Christmas box, etc. This means more categories but things are much more organized!
Before we dive into the library organization, we have to discuss the contents of your classroom library. Here’s a question we all need to keep in mind when considering our library:
Do our students see themselves and their families in the books in our library? Do they see their cultures, traditions and customs? Do the students see different people, cultures, customs, etc in the books in our library?
It is our ethical responsibility to make sure that our library reflects our world and our students. There are many resources out there (Book Wrangler Mike, The Tutu Teacher on Instagram) that share amazing books that are inclusive. We share our book collections which we are constantly working to make more inclusive. I get it. Some topics make us uncomfortable but it is still necessary to include those books and topics in our library. And it’s important to have this discussion with your teammates, your admin, and the school librarian. In fact, we had this discussion with Adelynn’s school and they were so appreciative of our conversation and immediately filled their classrooms with more books that represented same-sex families. All that said, making our classroom library inclusive is a MUST!
Here are my 5 tips for organizing your classroom library.
And now, our current classroom library set up! We moved our library to the hallway in our classroom. This sets a visual example that reading is the first thing we think of in our classroom! And it frees up a TON of space in the rest of the classroom!
2. Organized Chaos
4. Creature comforts!
And my final tip for classroom library organization:
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This is EXACTLY what I needed to read. I'm a struggling first year, basically been “swimming” since day 1. Your posts have given me a lot of things to get excited about when it comes to next year. 🙂
Years ago when I taught K, 1, 2, I had a bathtub that kids could read in. It got to be a pain because they would argue no matter how many rules I had and they would sit on the side of it rather in chairs I also had provided. Now that I'm at a different district in a classroom with very little space and only 2 shelves, my library is teeny. I had to take home a small chair. I need some of those containers. Our Walmart doesn't have those. I also need to get some of those shelves built; would need to make another trip to Nashville!
Currently my library is in alphabetical order..got me thinking maybe I should containerize! Your library looks amazing!
Just thinking…do you have a different place that you store your special read alouds, book units, etc. or do your kids have access to those in your class library also?
I have had such a hard time with my kids destroying my classroom library this year. I have had to patch up or throw away way to many books. I don't know how much more modelling and reminding I can do. Is there hope with only 36 school days left? And ideas?
Great idea about numbering the bins! That is on my to-do list- reorganizing my library. Thanks!
As always you are AMAZING!! I have at least 1,000 books and I am thinking of making a master list of all my classroom library books for too many reasons. I was wondering do you have a system like that in place and if you do what works best for you! TIA!!! Your #1 Fan!
Thank you so much for sharing! This is so inspiring!
I love you! Not in a creepy way, but you put into words and actions everything I want to be about for Early Childhood Education, but often can’t figure out how to make work! I have an massive collection of picture books (and I keep buying them though I won’t have my own classroom again until I’m done with school in a few years) and I’ve never had a good system of organization. I have read blog after blog, looked at all the libraries of the classrooms I sub in and none of them seemed sustainable for the long haul. You are a GENIUS! Your system is perfect! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I’m not kidding when I say organizing my books has been on my summer to-do list for at least a decade, but I just couldn’t figure out a good system. This summer it will get done thanks to you! You’re my hero, Mr. Greg, and maybe next year I can stay with my friends in Nashville and visit to see your class in action 🙂
I’m truly inspired by your classroom and your blog!! I will be visiting it often as next school year I will be again teaching Kindergarten. I used to have an inflated swimming pool in my reading corner with pillows and the kids loved sitting and reading inside it. Your ideas are wonderful!!! Thanks for sharing. June 3, 2017
Me. Greg. You are awesome. Can’t wait to reorganize my class library…..And I have been teaching for 25 years! ????????
Do you have a section where books are leveled or do they just pick from any box?
I don’t separate by levels
Numbering the books and bins…genius!
Do you have teacher only books – books for teaching/theme unit?
No we don’t
Thank you for sharing this easy, effective way to organize a classroom library!