One of my goals for the summer is to come up with a new plan for my classroom library. In my opinion the classroom library is the heart of the reading teacher's classroom. A strong library is well organized, accessible to kids, includes a variety of genres, and is constantly updated. I am always thinking of ways to change things up in my library and keep it fresh.
This is the main part of my classroom library. Each of these baskets contains books from a series. Any time I get 3-5 books from a series, I make a new basket. It just makes it easier for the kids to find the books. I have collected so many series of books that I'm running out of baskets. I got these baskets at the dollar store several years ago and haven't seen them since. Now I need more of these baskets and can't find them! For series that are more popular (Geronimo Stilton, Goosebumps, My Weird School, the Fairies and Wimpy Kid come to mind) I use larger baskets. I may take the plunge this year and buy new baskets so that I know I have enough and they all match!
I also have a large collection of magazines. In the picture below the magazines are on the bottom two rows. I subscribe to Ranger Rick, OWL, Ask, Boys Life, Highlights, and Discovery Kids magazines. I also have old issues of Zoobooks, Discovery Girl, American Girl, and Sports Illustrated for Kids, so I have a LOT of magazines to choose from. I like the magazines to face out so the kids can see them. My problem is shelf space. If all my magazines face out they take up way too much room, so I've got to find a new solution. I am thinking about facing out just the newest copies and then putting the older issues in separate magazine boxes. You can cut down cereal boxes and decorate (hello, mod podge!) to save some money and make it look cute!
The rest of my library is arranged by genre. I have baskets for realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, poetry, biography, and others. I also have baskets for nonfiction. My problem with this set up is a nice one to have: as my collection of books has gotten larger, I have added baskets and need more space. Also, my nonfiction baskets are a hot mess. The kids just chunk the books in any basket they please. And that is totally on me - I need to label the baskets better so it is clear which books go in each basket. So my plan for this area is to totally reorganize the nonfiction baskets so they stay neat and "shoppable" throughout the year.
One thing that I do like to do is advertise or display books all around the room using picture easels. You can get these at Wal-Mart or Target in the picture frame section for $6-8. I like to put out picture books that I will be using for read aloud on display or books that I want kids to ask about. In the picture below I have two books out - one at the top corner of each bookshelf. My collection of easels grew throughout the year. I have books out everywhere.
So here's my plan for sprucing up my library next year:
redo baskets for series section
redo baskets for nonfiction and make the topic of each basket more narrow
make a separate nonfiction library area of the room
find something to use for displaying current magazines
make the area more interactive like adding a book recommendation board
What are your plans for your classroom library?