Classroom Library Set-Up

Ahhh!  Where did summer run off to?  I have headed back into my classroom this week to get it set up for my first graders.  Their first day is August 19th.  A huge project I started at the end of last year and continued through the summer was an overhaul and organizational change of my classroom library.  I thought I would share my process and progress.This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission.  You will never infer a fee or charge for this.
So here is what I did…first step was to admit that I have a lot of books!  I. Mean. A. Lot!!!  My mom likes to peruse yard sales, so she finds many gems for me.  Now having a lot of books is great, but I had multiple copies of many titles, so I donated all of my doubles to our local library.  I just don’t have a huge library space.

The next step was to figure out my system.  There are so many different ways that people organize their library and I have tried many of them.  I decided to take bits and pieces and combine what has worked for me and what I was hoping to achieve.  I went for separating my books by topics/genres/authors/characters/etc.  I made labels and used velcro to attach the labels to the book bins.  I use the bins from Really Good Stuff.  I went for the clear because I am always changing my room theme, so this was a neutral choice.





 I used simple velcro dots to attach the labels.

But within those categories I also wanted to levelize the books.  The levelizing is more for me (not necessarily for my students).  We are not and AR school, so I didn’t need to worry about that.   I just always have those students who read at let’s say a level G or H and they fill their book boxes with Magic Tree House Books.  I used Book Wizard to find the levels of my books.  Not all books could be found, but that is okay.  I bought these 2-inch color labels from Amazon and put them on the spines of the books that I could find the levels for.  Each color sticker represents a range of reading levels.  So here is my reasoning and/or plan.  When I have a students who reads at level G/H/I, and I want to help them find a couple of books to put into their book box, all I need to do is look for books that I have a yellow sticker on their spine.  It helps to narrow down their choices.  Not all of their books in their book boxes need to have the yellow sticker, but if they had a couple that would be great!

The stickers I used for labeling the levels.
classroom library organization
So you may be thinking that is the end of my library re-organization, but oh no!  The OCD in me also wanted to know what books I owned, where to find them and any themes/lifeskills that might go with them.  I have a lot of books (yes, I have already mentioned this) and I hate it when I am buying new books and I am unsure if I already own a certain book title.  That is how my classroom library spreadsheet began!  I created and excel sheet with the following headings- Title, Author, DRA level, F & P Level, Book Tub (where to find it), Lifeskills, Genre, Keywords.
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I know OCD, but I know what books I have. If I want to find books on frogs, all I have to do is type in frogs in the search button and all the books with frogs in the title or keywords are shown.  The other great thing is that this spreadsheet has been uploaded to my Google Drive, so when I am book shopping and I have to wonder if I really need another Elephant and Piggie book…I can look on my handy dandy classroom library spreadsheet!
FYI- as of today I have entered over 1,600 book titles and I am not done!  I have a lot of books.
More pics on the rest of my classroom will be coming soon!


  1. Hi! I like your book box labels and am wondering if you might share them or tell where you got them. Thanks so much! Karyn

    1. Where can I find these book lables?!

      1. Renee Dooly says:

        They are just labels I made. I don’t have them in my TPT store yet, but will soon. Thanks!

        1. Jeritta Gilbert says:

          Are the labels on TPT yet?

          1. Renee Dooly says:

            No, sorry but it still on my to-do list (which is long!)

  2. Kimberly Michele Huntley says:

    Are your labels for purchase??

    1. Renee Dooly says:

      As of right now they are not. I plan to add some to my store over the summer.

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