Starting a Classroom Library

October 29, 2007 at 9:22 pm 2 comments

DR has a great classroom library – shelves upon shelves of paperbacks. We’ve talked briefly about classroom libraries in our content literacy class, and how important they are to learning. I’ve always wanted the chance to start a small lending library, and here I have a perfect opportunity to do so.

I’ve got a cornucopia of paperbacks already, that’ll need sorting through. Some won’t be appropriate, and some I wouldn’t want to see walk off. The rest, though, I’ll box up until I have my own classroom.

This past weekend, the public library had its autumn book sale. It’s nowhere near as impressive as their spring book sale, but I did manage to get a lot of great books.

Maybe the neatest find was a small pile of Classics Illustrated – comic book-style short versions of classics, accessible for lower-ability readers and good for review or introduction to complicated works. I got six, all told – All Quiet on the Western Front, Around the World in Eighty Days, Cyrano de Bergerac, Great Expectations, Henry IV, and The House of the Seven Gables. All fifty cents each.

I also got something else that I found pretty exciting: a stack of Cliffs Notes, all for 25 or 50 cents a pop. I was explaining to my sister that “a good teacher has nothing to fear from Cliffs Notes” – meaning that they could be used as a resource – and you should have seen the middle-aged heads snap around to look at me! Guess I wasn’t the only teacher browsing for materials. Anyway, 22 Cliffs Notes, Spark Notes, and Monarch Notes books, all on books that could reasonably be expected to be covered in a high school English classroom. (On that – man, I had no idea how cool Spark Notes were. Much more aesthetically pleasing than Cliffs Notes!)

I picked up some pretty neat books of college information, too: two books about application essays, two about choosing the right college, and one of reading  lists for college-bound students.

Although they’re aimed at younger readers, I did pick up three “Dear America” books – a series recommended by a middle school social studies teacher in one of my classes.

Lots of novels, lots of good nonfiction, some memoir, some fantasy, classics, sports stories, history, you name it. Also got some books for Mr. Bees’ eventual government/history classroom library.

They’re all cataloged at LibraryThing. My idea is to set up an old-fashioned card system for the physical library (complete with library pockets and everything) but I’d like students to be able to browse the collection remotely if they want.

Does anyone else out there have a classroom library? How do you organize it? I was thinking about using either Dewey or LOC, but I’m not sure if that wouldn’t be overly complicated. My home library is done alphabetically regardless of genre, and I don’t like it – I’d much prefer it to be topical.


Entry filed under: FUN STUFF, MISCELLANEOUS. Tags: .

Teachers, and the People They Are High Schools

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Clix  |  November 4, 2007 at 5:05 pm

    My classroom library is not organized in the least, alas! The worst thing is that it doesn’t really need to be because the students don’t borrow books from it… *sigh*

  • 2. Mr. B-G  |  November 11, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    I have a classroom library. It is organized loosely by genre. I have a sign out sheet. Students write down their name, the book title, and the condition. When they return the book they cross their name off the list. Students know that if they lose or destroy the book, they will be held responsible for replacing it.

    I require independent reading each quarter (200 page minimum, appropriate reading level). My classroom library, dubbed the Literary Treasure Trove, comes in handy for this requirement.


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The Bee’s Knees

This is the teaching journal of a student first-year second-year THIRD-YEAR (!!!) English teacher. I am writing this blog as a reflection for myself, a way to keep friends and family updated, and a sharing-ground between other educators online. I love comments!

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