It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my classroom library organization (you can see my previous post here), and it has undergone a few updates this past year. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about it on my Instagram account, so I wanted to do a follow-up post and answer some of those questions on this blog post! If you are looking for where I purchased supplies for my classroom library I’ve included a list of resources at the bottom of the post with my Amazon affiliate links for your shopping convenience!
Book Spine Label Organization
Half of my classroom library is arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name. This replicates how students will usually look for books when they visit a bookstore or library. The way this originally worked is at the beginning of the year I would spend a lot of time perfectly alphabetizing my library, and then once school started I would train a couple reliable “class librarians” to check and put books back in alphabetical order as well. This ended up being a lot of work, however, because if one student put a book in the wrong place, then other students would see that book and put their book away in the wrong place as well, which through the whole organizational system off. I wanted a way to keep all my books in alphabetical order, but without all the time and hassle. That’s how I came up with the idea for the book spine labels.
I created the Classroom Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels using a variety of colors with the idea that the colors would fade slowly from one color to another. Next I found Avery labels style #8160 that perfectly fit on the book spines of my books. Then I assigned each letter of the alphabet a color. I didn’t have very many books with author’s names beginning with x, y, or z, so I combined those into one letter. I wrote the letter on the top of each Avery label page that way it would be easy to find as I added new books to my library!
As part of the file, I’ve also included a blank page at the front to help you plan out the colors you would like to use for your classroom library. All printers print slightly different colors, so it helps give you an idea of how your colors will look on your printer. Also, it can help you decide if you would like to combine certain letters.
I’ve also had people message me saying they used the Classroom Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels to arrange their books in ways other than alphabetical order. Some teachers have used them to arrange books by reading level, while others have found other ways to use them that fit with the needs of their classroom!
Book Bin Organization
The other half of my library is arranged in book bins using my Colorful Classroom Library Labels with Individual Book Labels. This includes my informational books, favorite authors, books in a series, and some fiction books arranged by genre. I printed and laminated the labels, and then punched holes in the corners and attached them to the book bins using 1 inch binder rings.
I have created several options of the classroom library labels that you can get here. All of them include blank labels that you can edit to create labels that fit the needs of your classroom library!
Individual Book Labels
Some of my classroom library labels also come with individual book labels to help keep your library organized throughout the year! I print the labels on the same Avery labels style #8160 that I use for my Classroom Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels. They print out with two pictures on one label, so I cut each label in half. Then I put the label on the back corner of the book. That way when students are putting books away, they know exactly which basket to put it in! (Some books could go in more than one basket… in that case I pick the basket that I think it is the best fit for. You could also put two different labels on the back of the book and students could choose which basket to put it in when they finish reading the book!)
Classroom Library Maintenance
At the beginning of the year, I show my students how our library is organized and they get time to familiarize themselves with the setup and practice finding books they are interested in. I have a few librarians as part of our classroom jobs, and they help with maintaining the library and making sure that the books are organized and choosing which books to display on top of the bookshelves.
I am always adding new books to our classroom library throughout the year, so I keep extra Classroom Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels and Colorful Classroom Library Labels with Individual Book Labels ready to go. That way when I get new books, I can put stickers on them before they get added to our bookshelves!
Student Book Recommendations
Another part of my classroom library is our Book Recommendation Tree. You can learn more about how I originally created our book recommendation tree here, but essentially it is a place where students can recommend books to their classmates. Each student has a card they can write their recommendation on. Since I have a large class, I make the cards double-sided, so that each student has one side. The numbers correspond to their classroom numbers. Students write on the card using a wet erase marker and then they can change it however often they would like throughout the year! A lot of times they change it whenever they finish a great book that they would like to share!
Classroom Library Furniture and Supplies
Here is an updated list of the furniture and supplies that are currently part of my classroom library, and where you can get them!
- White bookshelves – IKEA (Billy Bookcase)
- Black and white rug – IKEA (polka dot rug not available online, but here is a similar stripe rug!)
- Book baskets – Really Good Stuff (most of mine are medium size except for a couple large ones for bigger informational texts)
- Book holders – JoAnn’s Fabrics
- Marquee lights from Target (similar here)
- Classroom Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels
- Book Recommendation Cards
- Avery labels (These are what I printed the rainbow book spine colors on)
- Book basket labels
- Binder rings for attaching book basket labels
If you have more questions about my classroom library, be sure to leave them in the comments!