Classroom libraries are the perfect place to foster creativity, learning, and above all, imagination! Unfortunately, some students find incredibly imaginative ways to engage the space that leave it looking like a safety hazard. Here are three tips on how to keep your classroom library organized without taking the fun out of reading.
Sort Your Books With the Kids in Mind
It may be tempting for lovers of the Dewey Decimal System to organize their classroom libraries accordingly, but most kids looking to dive into a book will have an easier time if you sort according to their needs. Separating by genre and arranging by author name can help both teachers and students navigate the bookshelves efficiently.
Color-coding specific genres also makes cleanup easier for everyone. Put a color-coded dot on the spine or inside of a library book, and add a colored-tape border around the shelves it belongs on. That way, putting books away is as easy as matching colors.
Use a Return Bin or Drop-Off Box System
Classroom libraries offer a respite from the constant excitement of every other subject, recess, and general class time. However, this constant bustle around the library means that students who are done reading might simply shove the book they’re done with randomly back into the shelves. After a few days of this, whatever sorting system your classrooms have devised will cease to matter.
Implementing an easy-to-understand book return procedure helps teachers and librarians stay in control of which books go where. Whether you use a milk crate or a cabinet, giving students a designated place to put their books when they’re finished ensures control within the chaos.
Do Library-Wide Book Health Checkups
The books that truly mess up the entire system are the ones whose spines are unreadable, covers are falling off, or pages are mysteriously loose. The books that have been through it the most are also often the ones that the kids love the most, so keeping them healthy and available to the next reader is essential.
Book repair tape is a powerful tool for school libraries serving avid (and slightly destructive) young readers. Vinyl tape brings together pages without hiding the art inside, while cloth tape comes in a variety of colors, withstands a significant amount of force, and resists further scuffs in the future.
For your school, consider keeping rolls of bookbinding tape on hand to keep your classroom library organized. With rolls ranging from 10 to 30 yards of tape, this tool lasts as long as the books it helps repair! The benefits even go beyond the books that students have access to; textbooks and teaching resource books need a bit of TLC from time to time too!