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Classroom Library Organization using Book Spine Labels

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!

Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

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!

Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!
Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

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!

Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!
Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

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!

Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!
Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!
Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

Graphic Novels:

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!

Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

Supplies for Labeling your Classroom Library with Book Spine Labels

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!

Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!
Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

Book Spine Label Tips:

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

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!

Looking for ideas on how to setup and organize your classroom library? Here’s a look at how I organize my classroom library using book spine labels! If you are looking for classroom library ideas and inspiration this post has lots of pictures and great ideas for teachers who are trying to figure out their classroom library organization! Plus there is also a video tour of my classroom library!

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!

  1. Abeer says:

    How are you Molly ,I’m Abeer I will work at English school for the first time we are in Kuwait l need your suggestions about how to organize shelves by colors labels
    I will be happy if you contact me
    With my pleasure,

  2. Ali says:

    I might have missed this, but how do you label/organize picture books? I love your system!

  3. Makenzie says:

    Hello! I absolutely LOVE your labels. I used them for my fiction texts. I have been trying to get ahold of your graphic novel labels, but I must be doing it wrong. I have “subscribed” several times the past couple weeks and still have not received an email. What am I doing wrong?

    • Molly says:

      Hi Makenzie!

      Thank you so much, that makes me so happy to hear! I just checked my email list for your email and you are on the list! It looks like you should have received an email on June 17th and on June 20th. Maybe they went to your spam/junk folder? Check there and if you still don’t see them, send me an email at lessonswithlaughter@yahoo.com and I’ll get them to you!

  4. Mallory Johnson says:

    Hi! I am switching from Kindergarten to teaching 4th grade! I love how you have all your books organized! It will be super easy for students to see more books and pick other books if they fall in love with a particular author!

    I was wondering if you had a post about how you help students choose a “good fit book” and if you keep an anchor chart visible at the beginning of the year to help!

    I am also starting my library from scratch. If you have any recommendations for great books to help get me started I would appreciate it!

  5. Tatiana says:

    Hi! Where are your bookcases from!?

  6. Marisa Steppke says:

    Do you have the Graphic Novel Colorful Icon Genre Poster? Love your products! My library is coming along thanks to you!

  7. Nicole says:

    I’d really like to double label my books with author and your information, fiction, graphic novel labels but it gets to be a lot on the spine. Do you have these resources available to print on Avery’s .5 x 1.75? I purchased your toy set and am so excited to get organized!

  8. Jen says:

    Hi! I love your system. I noticed you have the I Survived series in a book bin which other series are spine out. How did you determine which series are spine out and which series are in bins?

    Thanks!

  9. Kari says:

    Hi! I am super interested in organizing my library with your labels! These colors are all over my classroom and look so neat! Do you have any tips on removing labels if that would need to be done for any reason?

  10. Jesse says:

    These look amazing!! I would love to know your thoughts on using these in second grade. Do you think that these would be too difficult for students of that age to navigate? I love the way they look, but something about not having them organized by topic makes me wonder if second graders are a little young.

  11. Amy Martin says:

    Hi Molly, I just wondered what the depth of your bookcases is…I’m trying to make sure this system will work with the bookcases I just bought. Thanks!

  12. Kim Pettit says:

    Hey! Have you had anyone have success with printing them at a certain store? I want to print them but don’t know where to start! Any help would be great!

    • Molly says:

      Hi! Any local office supply store should be able to print them! I know people have had them done at Office Depot and Staples! One of them (I can’t remember which one) has their own labels that are the same size as the Avery labels, so they print them on those!

  13. Mary says:

    Do you label picture books as well? I see you have mostly chapter books. I like a variety on the shelf. The spine is obviously much thinner so it’s not as visually pleasing, but I’m just curious how/if you organize those.

  14. Meghan says:

    How do you label the “where is”, “who is”, “what is” book series? Do you sort them by author? With your nonfiction labels? Or do you just put them into a bucket since it’s a series? I have about 50 of those books and I don’t know how I want to display them in the classroom.

    Side note: it’s not the same author for every book so I’m leaning towards not doing the letter labels. Thoughts?

  15. Tina says:

    I’m wondering how you categorize the Who Was series. Do you place them in their individual informational categories or do you group them together on their own?

  16. HOLLY NEGRON says:

    Where did you get the calendar?

  17. Tiffany says:

    I’d love to know if you’ve used this system for lower grade goods. Could this work for picture books or have you found a better system for those?

  18. Megan says:

    Hi! I have tried to get the graphic novel book labels but I can not get it to come through on my email. I checked my spam and everything. Could you help me?

  19. Stacy says:

    Hi, I LOVE your label ideas! I just wanted to add that if you don’t want to spend money on one inch tape, use clear packaging tape, cut into one inch long sections. You could just turn each one-inch length on its “side” and it would give you the one inch high, 2 1/2 wide tape sections you’re looking for. 🙂

  20. Andrea says:

    I am wanting to redo my library and I am modeling it after your extensive class library. Thank you so much for this resource! I have a combination of picture books and chapter books. Many of my students are reading below grade level, so I don’t want to get rid of all my picture books. Should I mix both picture books and chapter books or should I put them on different shelves? I know my 4th graders should be reading chapter books, but there are some picture books with high lexile levels too. Any suggestions would be appreciated!! Thank you!

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I support teachers with implementing classroom organization systems and building a positive classroom community + environment that exude joy! 

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