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Organizing Classroom Libraries

August 20, 2016 No Comments

Research has proven that exemplary classrooms have an extensive collection of books for their students to read independently each day. The challenge is how to manage and organize all those books.  An efficient classroom library is one that is easy for children to find the books they are looking for, plus empowers them to return the books to the proper place when they are finished.

Here are some ideas to consider:

Many teachers use baskets to sort their books by categories or reading levels. I myself have used baskets for years. I’ve tried different sizes and colors. Unfortunately, the books end up damaged in the process. The children bend them looking through the baskets, and damage the pages when the shove them back into the baskets. Often books are placed in the wrong baskets because the children aren’t sure which basket to use.

So this year, I am going to try this idea from Jen Runde:


Notice the Washi tape on the spines?  Washi tape comes in so many different patterns and colors so you can have more than the basic 8 colors typical of colored tape. Now each genre or category gets its own tape. The books are displayed spine side out so the children can easily see the titles to choose from. Plus, they can quickly identify where to return the books!  I LOVE this!

Don’t want to hassle of putting tape on all your books? Perhaps you’d prefer this idea:

painted book shelves Each shelf has been painted to identify different reading levels. It still would require some type of coding on the book so the students know which shelf to return the book.

Maybe you are just starting out and have a smaller collection of books. Here is a clever way to organize your shelves:

paint stick dividers

These dividers are wooden paint stirring sticks from a local paint distributor. Often these are free if you ask.

So what about your library? Please share your tips for managing your books.


Alison Monk

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Welcome! I'm Alison Monk, a primary teacher with a passion for creating educational materials that engage kids and teachers love! I hope this blog encourages and inspires you. I'm so glad you are here! Read More

About the Literacy Garden

My name is Alison Monk and I love helping teachers like you be successful. My passion is to support you with effective tips and engaging resources. I love children's literature, Golden Retrievers, and coffee!

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