Keeping Your Classroom Library Books Organized
You finally have your classroom library organized to perfection (if not, you can read last month’s Tenspire post for ideas). Next goal: Keep it that way. Maintaining a classroom library’s organization can be tricky. I mean, you could forbid the students from reading the books. Then the books on the shelves would stay pristine. However, this defeats the purpose of a classroom library, huh? What to do? Follow these easy tips to help keep your book nook in tip top shape.
Don’t simply place the books on the shelves. That is a recipe for disaster. You must have bins, baskets, or crates. The containers you choose should be durable and have enough room for the books to move around a bit on the shelves. If books are getting crammed in the bins the covers will get ripped and the students cannot access them easily.
The containers should be labeled– not just with names of the genre of books, but perhaps even color coded. Garage sale circle stickers come in handy here or you could order multi-colored dot stickers and professional grade book spine tape from a library supply store. Just think of the awesomeness! To label books by Lexile level easily, use an awesome app that will inventory all of your books for you! You can also use a coordinating app to have students check out your classroom’s books digitally, too. Now you are closer to a real live library in your classroom!
Another useful method for helping students place books back in the correct locations is to give each student their own personal placeholder. Use students’ classroom numbers to label the placeholders so you can use them year after year. Students can also decorate their own placeholders, too. I have seen paint stirrer sticks work well for placeholders or even something as simple as clothespins. When a student takes a book out of a bin, his or her personal place holder goes on the bin. Once students are finished with a book, they locate their book placeholder and switch the book for the placeholder. This method helps the teacher see what types of books each student is reading, too.
An option for students not finished with classroom books when reading time is over is to have them store them somewhere besides their desks. I’ve used a mailbox system also labeled with students’ classroom numbers or chair covers bags. Having students place books in their desks leads to beat up books and sometimes missing ones.
The last tip is one I have mentioned before, but make sure to assign a classroom librarian to help you straighten up the books at least weekly or even daily. Also, make certain that you teach all students the proper methods for getting books in and out of your library. Don’t go crazy reorganizing your books all year. Following these tips will have your books looking as organized on the last day of the school year as they looked on day one.