I Need Your Help!

Well today I spent some time in my classroom and worked on my library.  I have very big categories such as animals, nonfiction and some that are smaller but I want to make the categories smaller so the kids can find books easier.

My problem is that I can't seem to make categories where I have more than 3 books in a box.  I have 3 Curious George, 2 Skippyjonjones, 5 books about school etc.  I made some author boxes and categories like dinosaurs, ocean, reptiles and amphibians.  But now I need your help!  Please give me some suggestions.

Here's my mess!!!!!!

The first cart has my leveled books.  That is all organized.  All the books on the little blue chair are books I'm getting rid of.  The kids either don't read them, I have duplicates or they're damaged!
I hated to leave it like this but it was time to go!  What a mess!!

This is my $2.00 fabric piece that I got from Walmart!  This is at the front of my room.  I have pencil and pen pail for me!  The empty pail is for popsicle sticks that I put each child's name on.  I use these for choosing partners.


  1. My only good suggestion that I'm doing this year is a category for on-screen characters. It includes all of my Disney characters, Curious George, Spiderman, Dora, and other characters that aren't coming to me right now. Good luck on sorting through everything! : )

  2. I had the same problem. I was so exhausted and ALMOST threw in the towel, BUT I finally decided the kids were not really going to understand the different catergories. So I decided to have very broad catergories like "animals", "family", "pets" and I just started sorting. I quit worrying over whether to put it in "animals" or "pets" - I just put it where it fit. The labels are more for my organization needs. I hope to go back and catalog the books so I can look my books up by tilte in Excel. Hope this gives you some relief. You can always go back and change the small book labels if you choose at a later date.

  3. I am having this same exact issue!! I hope someone can help both of us! Thanks for the post.

  4. Here is a good post by Beth Newingham,

    Or look on google reader or pinterest for ideas, without knowing what you have I hope this helps:)

  5. How about according to genres...authors...series...and in my building we still use accelerated readers, so maybe level the books either grade/AR/lexile.


    A Time to Share & Create


    Fabulous 4th Grade

  6. I agree with Pat! I sorted my library by genre and it made it a lot easier for me. That way there could be many books in one category such as science, non-fiction, traditional lit, etc. Hope this helps! You'll get it all done but it is such a process. Check out Ladybug Teacher Files for labeling your library it really helped me out!
    Rambling About Reading

  7. Ok. I had a similar problem, so I made a couple of categories like, "Our favorite book friends, AS SEEN ON T.V., Teacher's favorites, and Mixed Bin." Our literacy coordinator LOVED my classroom library! She said that the first graders will have no problem finding what they want because my labels relate to things they love. My suggestion is to jump out of adult mode and think like your students. They will love it either way!! I also suggest getting a spot to sit all your bins out on the floor. Then make a pile of your books and start sorting into bins, if you find a bin that has only 4 or so books, maybe some of them can "move in together." For example, I had some Franklin books and other random T.V. characters, so the "moved in together" and I created my AS SEEN ON T.V. bin. Don't sweat! I wish I could post a pic of my classroom library, because I turned out way better than I thought. I felt lost in the beginning!

  8. I would do a "favorites" bin and put all your random pairs there.

  9. I had the same issue. I ended up leveling some of my AR books. The rest are seperated by character, 2 by author- Eric Carle and Leo Lionni, two tubs of "easy readers", one basket of phonics readers I titled "sound it out books" (Id like a better name, though. I hope it's organized so the kids can find books easily. I guess I'll find out. Hope this helps!

  10. I also had lots of misc books that could have gone in multiple categories and I wasn't really sure where to put them. I ended up with "Awesome Authors" "Favorite Characters" and "Silly Stories.". That pretty much covered the books that weren't animals, a holiday, or other specific theme. Good luck getting them all sorted out.

  11. I have a bin I call "recognizable characters". I guess I wasn't feeling very creative the day I came up with that. That's where I put books like Clifford, Skippy Jon Jones, etc. Right next to it I have a bin called "medal winners". Those two bins are the most popular (along with any of the authors we have done studies on). I also have bins called animal fiction and animal nonfiction. I usually end up with two bins of each. Also, the other nonfiction science books are lumped into one category called "discovery" because there aren't nearly enough of them to merit individual bins by topic.

    Having Fun K-1


  12. Wow and I thought I had baskets- LOL Here is what I do for my books. I do have them sorted into groups, animals, fairy tales, weather... but all those other fiction books are in boxes called EVERYBODY READS. I have FREE Book Tb Labels at my TPT store maybe seeing my categories will help you


  13. First thing- breathe! :) I've spent almost 2 years re-arranging and relabeling (needs change with times). I got a lot of help from Jessica Meacham's site for labeling (tons of pre-made stuff) and organization. Check her out @ www.jmeacham.com

    I would also suggest moving all containers and books out of the area so you can see your space with fresh eyes. Fit the bins on your shelves, then sort books. I sort on the tables so I don't kill my back :) Like others have said, think like a kid when you organize. If you didn't teach about amphibians, don't label the bin that way.

    Good luck!

  14. Everyone has given great suggestions! Newingham and Meacham are the queens of book display. The biggest thing to consider is how to label books so kids can put stuff back. As someone who has organized, reorganized and now "packed" up over 1,000 books, I can say it is better to have several bins of one type, than many, many little bins. Then as suggested, you can "highlight" books by having a "favorite" bin/shelf or "recommended by" bin/shelf. So....you might have several bins of "Favorite Characters" or several bins of "Animals Who Act Like People" or "Tickle Your Funny Bone" which were some of my categories. Good luck!

    The Write Handed Teacher

  15. You guys are all so supportive. I did some search on Pinterest and found labels on Mrs. Wills Kindergarten that I loved. Now that I have a start on some categories I feel I'm on my way! Now I have to find time to get back into my classroom and clean up that mess.

    Target had the plastic magazine holders awhile back in the dollar section. Does anyone know if they still have them?


  16. Lots of great suggestions! It's amazing to me how many awesome teacher blogs are on the blogosphere these days! Good luck getting your library organized! This will be the 3rd year I've had my books sorted by category, and it works really well! I have TONS of categories, but it seems to work out well. I have two bins of Animals-Fiction and Picture Books. I also have a Beginning Chapter Books bin that holds a variety. I'm going to check out the labels you mentioned, and I have no idea about Target, but that would be awesome if they still have them; I bought 16 magazine files from Hobby Lobby 3 months ago (right before my baby was born), and now they don't have them anymore--agh!!


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