Whether you already have a proven classroom library storage system in place, or you’re a new teacher packing up your classroom library for the first time, these four tips will not only make packing up easier — but they’ll also improve your classroom library!
1. Refresh, restock, and replenish your books.
“While packing up the library, I check books for ‘wear and tear’ and see which ones need to be purchased again,” says Leana Malinowsky, a second-grade teacher in New Jersey. “It's also a perfect time to compose a list of books that I notice students read frequently, and I might want to add more copies of.” She’s always on the lookout for more copies of books for guided reading groups, she says.
It’s also a good time to weed through old, unused books and donate them to those in need, says Avery Lieske, a third-grade teacher in Alabama. Lieske also uses this time to clean her book bins and baskets, ensuring they’re fresh for incoming students.
2. Revisit your classroom library’s organization style.
Before packing up your classroom library, Malinowsky suggests talking with other teachers at your school to see what new ideas they may have when it comes to reorganizing your classroom library.
“I suggest using this time to see what your current organization and identification system is,” says Malinowsky. “See if there are ways you'd want to change it for the next academic year.”
It’s also a good idea to be liberal with your labeling. Now is the time to put your label maker to use!
“I think it's an understatement that teachers label everything,” says Malinowsky. “When packing up the classroom library, I make a separate pile of books that need to be relabeled for the following year.”
Lieske suggests reorganizing your books by genre and author, making sure all of your titles are labeled neatly. “Start with a sticky note and make fun labels over the summer,” she says.
3. Keep Your Books in Bins and Baskets
Once your books are labeled, both Lieske and Malinowsky suggest packing them in storage bins with labels, noting where they’ll be next school year.
“I've found over the years that investing in rubber totes is the best way to safely hold all the books in the library,” says Malinowsky. “I strategically label the bins so I can visualize the books that are inside—especially over the summer—when I work on mapping out my future library.”
Keeping the books in baskets also adds a layer of protection, she says, as school maintenance staff often need to move the bins around. “Even if I plan on re-organizing with a different system in the fall, this also helps me access different genres quickly when unpacking,” she says.
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