Let’s talk about classroom library organization using book spine labels! In this post I’ll share information about my book spine labels and how they help me organize my classroom library + some pictures of my current classroom library! You can see how my classroom library organization from previous years here and here!
I filmed a YouTube video all about my classroom library organization and book spine labels! You can watch that below for information + a tour of my library OR continue reading for all the details!
How I Organize Our Classroom Library Books with Book Spine Labels
I really want my students to have an authentic experience with our classroom library and learn not only how to find books in our classroom, but also how to find books when they are at bookstores and public libraries! That was the whole reason behind creating my book spine labels for classroom library organization! All books are facing with their spines out so books don’t get lost in the back of book baskets and students can see the titles of every book at any given time as they are browsing for books!
We have 3 different sections in our classroom library: fiction, informational, and graphic novels!
Fiction Book Spine Labels:
Our fiction books are organized in alphabetical order by author’s last name using my Classroom Library Rainbow Book Spine Labels! Each book has a label on the bottom of the spine. The labels all have letters and are color-coordinated. This allows students to not only see the titles of all the books as they are browsing, but also easily find their favorite authors by searching for the letter and the color! It also makes it super efficient for them to put books away when they are finished reading them because they can see right where the book belongs by searching for the color and letter on the label!
Informational Book Spine Labels:
I created the Classroom Library Informational Book Spine Labels based on the Dewey Decimal system, but instead of numbers, the labels have colors and icons! There is an informational reference sheet in a picture frame on top of the informational book shelf, so students can use that to help them find the types of informational books they are looking for!
This has been a huge help for my students when finding informational books! When I used to have them arranged in baskets, I had a lot of subjects with only a few books, so they didn’t really have enough books for their own basket, but then other subjects were overflowing with books, but not enough books for another basket. That left me with lots of random books and no good place to put them, and made it a lot harder for my students to find the books they were looking for!
Our graphic novel section is on top of a couple of our bookshelves! My students LOVE the graphic novel format and will read both fiction and informational books that are graphic novels, so it makes it easy for them having them all together in one section! For several years our graphic novels didn’t have book spine labels, however I recently created special book spine labels for graphic novels! The labels are free for all my email list subscribers! You can sign up to get them here!
Supplies for Labeling your Classroom Library with Book Spine Labels
- Classroom Library Book Spine Labels
- Avery labels for Inkjet Printers – #8160
- Avery labels for Laser Printers – 5260
- Optional: 1 inch tape to cover the labels so they last longer (this is the tape I use!) or vinyl label protectors (these ones are pre-cut, but have more of a matte finish!)
- This is the laser printer I have! I love it, but I got it years ago, so they have more updated versions of it now! Here’s one of the updated laser printers that looks really nice!
Another option that some people do is get the labels printed at their local office supply store! If you don’t have access to a color printer you may want to choose that option!
Book Spine Label Tips:
- Choose the option that works best for you! I have 3 different book spine label options! The newest addition is an ink saving option that has a strip of color down the center instead of the whole label being colored! These ones work well if you are wanting to save on ink and/or have thinner book spines!
- When I label my books I like to align the labels with the very bottom of the book spine! That way when they are on the bookshelves the labels are all lined up in a straight row!
- When I printed my labels on an inkjet printer they lasted for years without any issues with the ink! Laser printers are higher quality printers that don’t have as much streaking, however the ink seems to rub off the labels easier! I cover the labels with this 1 inch tape that helps them last way longer without any issues with the ink!
Want to dive in deeper into creating a meaningful and effective classroom library and classroom reading community? I created an entire course with everything you need to know to Transform Your Classroom Library! Click the button below to find out more!
What About Levels?
I get asked this question all the time, and the answer is that I don’t label my books by level, nor do I have the levels listed anywhere on the books. Fountas and Pinnell have said that reading levels are a tool for teachers only and “have no place in classroom libraries.” You can read more about their thoughts on their website here.
With that being said, we spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year going over how to choose books that are a good fit, and then we do a lot of practice! I also am talking with my students about the books they are reading all the time, so I’m able to get a good idea of if they are choosing books that are a good fit! If I see a student is having trouble selecting books, then I can work with them on finding books that are a better match for them!