The library is my favorite part of the classroom. Each year I spend the most time and money on this section of my room. Why? Well, I love books and I love reading and I love sharing both of those things with my students.
I have a huge range of books and several more bins of books in my garage. These books didn't make the cut for my classroom right now, but will likely be brought in later in the year as my students become better readers. (This rotation of the books keeps my library fresh and exciting.)
Here are some good ways to build your classroom library without breaking the bank...
1) Half Price Books: I hope you all have a Half Price Books near you. This is a great place to find used books in good shape at a good price. Plus, you can sign up for a 10% teacher discount. They also have a clearance rack most of the time and I have found some great titles on there. I usually just scan the chapter book section, but I have found the picture books to be a bit overwhelming. They are sorted by author, so go in with a list. Believe me...it will save you time. I once left a great writing workshop with 10 titles of mentor texts and found half of them at my local HPB for a fraction of the cost and all in paperback! (I prefer paperback at this point because it is lighter and thinner which makes it easier to store.) Love it! Click here to find a store near you.
2) PaperBack Swap: I just discovered this website this summer and it is terrific! Basically, you post books you have already read and would be willing to "swap" with someone else. Once you post 10 books, you are given 2 credits to begin ordering your own books. It's so easy. You just search and click "order book" when you find one you want. You earn credits when others order from you. You only pay to mail off your books. When you order a book, you pay nothing. You can also create wish lists and "wait in line" for books. Once a wish list book has been posted, you are notified by email. After changing grades so many times, I realized I had a lot of books that were just way too high for my 4th graders. I also had books that had been in my classroom for years and never been cracked. I decided to use my experience and knowledge to sort my books. I posted books that weren't getting used and started searching for books I knew interested my students. Out with the old and in with the new! Come join the fun by clicking here!
3) Scholastic Book Orders: I think most teachers already use this program, but if you don't already load up in September, start doing it! The back to school issue is always the best for bonus points, so go ahead and max yourself out. Get all the points you can get. I do this at the beginning of the year and then just use my bonus points for all my future buys throughout the year. Sign up for your catalog here!
4) Student Donations: I have also had several generous students and families donate to my library. I have a special "Donated By" sticker for these books, which the kids love. I have to be careful though... sometimes the books they want to give you are not the books you are looking to add to your library. :)
Any other secrets for adding to your classroom library? I'd love to hear your ideas... please comment below.