Sunday, August 10, 2014

Digilit Sunday - Classroom Library Organization

      I love that Margaret Simon has started a Sunday Link Up for posts about digital literacy at her blog to challenge us to share our technology journeys.  
     I can't believe it's almost time for school to start!  I will be going into my classroom tomorrow morning to start setting up, and one of the biggest jobs I have every year is organizing our classroom library.  I always rethink the way I display and sort books, making them inviting and accessible to my students and readily available for me to book talk and use for read aloud, mentor texts, recommendations, etc.
Just a small portion of my classroom library
     Another challenge each year is how to keep track of my books.  I've tried everything, I think - from index cards and envelopes glued to the back covers to sign out sheets to honor systems.  I've lost many books over the years, I know, and that can be frustrating (but still worth the benefits my students being surrounded by books), but I think the most frustrating thing is when books are hoarded by students (mostly unintentionally).  I want books to be where I know they should be when I want to recommend them.  I want them circulated, loved, and returned in a timely manner.  Therefore,  it's not really about not losing books, even though that's obviously desirable, it's about keeping them in circulation so many students can enjoy them.
     I'm thinking of trying Booksource.  I don't know how many books I have, but I know it's probably at least a thousand.  Entering all those books myself would be a daunting task, but I have some helpful and willing students who said they would help me.  I may be giving them a call tomorrow!  They could be entering books into the computer while I set up the classroom.  I'm hoping Booksource could help me track down books that have gone MIA so I can hand them to the next students who want/need them. 
     What other systems do you use for tracking and organizing your classroom library?


  1. I have not mastered the classroom library by any means and this year came too quickly for me to even try. It is so frustrating, though, when I know I have a book and I can't find it. I have looked and looked for Out of the Dust! Where did it go? Good luck with organizing.

  2. I helped a teacher use the app BookRetriever to manage her classroom library this year. She hasn't tried it with the kids yet, but it seems like it will work well!

  3. Holly thanks for the booksource link. I've also been frustrated with losing books and having my avid readers horde so many that everyone else is searching frantically for certain titles. I'm going to try this and will also need to recruit some students to help me get all the books entered!

  4. I started with Booksource in February of last year. I was able to enter all of my fiction book pretty quickly. Many of them did not scan as I had hoped (I learned later there are often barcodes on the inside front cover which do work), but it was still quick. I still need to do my nonfiction. Last year my students would bring me their books for check-in/check-out. I was going to teach them how to do it, but because we started later with it I never did. This year that is a top priority! Although it was quick, I could spend a great deal of time dealing with that part of class rather than meeting with students. It was a definite help with book hoarders. I ended up moving their check-out limits down to help with this. There were still books which went missing but I liked it over other things I have done in the past.

  5. I've always emphasized that I welcome my books home at any time. I love to tell the story of a book hoarder who left a sack of books by my classroom door during the summer with a Starbucks card on top. It's frustrating when books are hoarded and others can't read them. I hope this system works for you. I just went to a simple system where each student had a page (organized with alphabetical dividers in a binder) and the student recorded date checked out and book title on the page. It's easy to manage, but I still lose books. Check-ins were put in a tub and the student librarian crossed off books and reshelved them. Hopefully, technology will come to your rescue. Keep us posted!