Thursday, July 17, 2014

Classroom Library Organization {Why I Do What I Do Linky}

I was so excited to see Christina post the topic of library organization for her Why I Do What I Do Linky! I firmly believe the library should be the heart of the classroom! I've been working on organizing mine for the past two years and it is definitely a work in progress!
I've been collecting children's books for twelve years now, and I'm a bit of a book hoarder. Ok, if you knew me, you would say there is no "bit" about it. I have over 5,000 children's books and I buy more every month. I just can't help it!! There are worse things to be addicted to! My ex-husband always told me I had too many books. He had to go to make room for more...
I started keeping track of them online in 2007 as a homeschooling mama, when I found myself buying duplicates on accident. I found a free website called Library Thing. I used a scanner to scan the bar code and add it to my book collection. You can also enter the ISBN manually. It organized everything and made it easy for me to search my collection. They offer a mobile app, which is sooo handy for searching my library on the go! That reminds me that I have a huge new pile of books waiting on me to scan in.

Now, as a teacher, I wish Library Thing would offer the reading level. They do show the Lexile level for some books, but isn't all I need. I do still use it to keep track of my library, because I already have all my books in there. However, these two apps are more convenient for teachers. Scholastic Book Wizard is free and is a quick handy reference for finding the reading level!
Level It is an app that I don't find myself using as often as the Book Wizard. What turned me off was that most of the books I tried to scan were not in the system, so I would have to enter them manually. I haven't tried it in the last year or so, it might be better now. It is a great concept!

I have my books separated by genre, author, series, topics, theme, etc. Some categories have sub-topics, like the math, social studies, and science books are broken up into concepts. I have 10 5-shelf bookcases in my office at home and they are packed to the brim! I can't show you a picture, b/c my office is a disaster right now! I use the cheap Ikea magazine files (they are only $1.99 for 5) as book bins to store my books until I need them in the classroom. They work great!

Each bin has a label with a real picture and title of the contents and each book has a matching sticker. 

I also include a small sticker on the back of my books that says "Property of Ms. Seagroves." I would have preferred, "From the Library of Ms. Seagroves" but it wouldn't fit on the tiny sticker label. 

Adding all the stickers was my summer project last year and it took me forever!! I used Karen Stamp's Classroom Library Photo Labels. You can find them here. She offers fiction, science, social studies, and math sets. I have them all. The mega set is only $4 right now! I have thought about adding numbers to the bins, but I move them around at times as more books come in, so I don't think that will work for me. The labels and pictures are enough for now!

I also have another section of early reader books that I have sorted by reading level, perfect for guided reading and read to self. I've been working hard to level and build this section of my library this year. I know a lot of schools use AR, but we don't. It is so important to have a mix of just right books and high interest material!

Eventually, I want to go through ALL of my book bins and add a sticker with the guided reading level on the top right corner. This might take me a few summers with the size of my collection, unless I round up some friends to help. Hint hint, Caterpillar Wings! Go check out her blog to see her library; it is fabulous! 

Right now, I have blue and green book bins from Dollar General (color coded for fiction/non-fiction). However, these neon bins from Really Good Stuff are my dream!! 

Aren't they beautiful? A girl can dream.

When I am all done, it is going to be a glorious display fit to rival Belle's castle! Well, maybe not quite that amazing, but pretty darn close!

By the way, I read The Book Whisperer a few weeks ago and I'm convinced Donalyn Miller is my reading soul mate. If you haven't read it, you must put it on your list! It is outstanding and inspiring!

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