A classroom library is essential in any classroom! This is the most common question/concern from first year teachers. “How do we build a classroom library if we don’t have much money to spend??” I’m going to share some tips I received and used when I was a first year teacher and even now!
The first tip is to simply ask! When I was a first year teacher, my instructional specialist at my school actually gave me some books they had at the school. While not every school will have books readily available, it doesn’t hurt to ask! If your school has teachers that have been teaching for many years they might donate books to you as well! Another great way to ask is in facebook groups! Do you follow community or neighborhood pages? Neighbors are always willing to donate books once they found out you are a teacher! I’ve seen many people ask for different things, from books to materials donated to their classroom and there is always an influx of support!
2. Half Price Books
Did you know that if you are a first year teacher, Half Price books will give you TWO boxes worth of books?? Well, you do now!! I’m not sure how it works everywhere but make sure you have your teacher ID on you! On top of that, they have books that are reasonably priced as well!
3. Thrift Stores/garage sales
I haven’t had many luck at thrift stores but I’ve seen teachers getting really great deals! They often have popular books that are gently used for a good price! If you decided to go to goodwill, you can also use your teacher ID for a discount after 3:00pm!
Garage sales are also great! Retired teachers will often hold garage sales to sell their used books. This is a great because if it’s in your area, it is likely a local teacher and they will have books that you can use with your curriculum or themes.
4. Online stores – Fifth Street Books
I’ve bought books from a couple of book stores online including: ThriftBooks and Better World Books but the best bang for my buck is Fifth Street books! I’ve heard mixed reviews but they have always been great for me! As a first year teacher, this is a quick way to build that library! The downside is you don’t get to choose your books. You simply choose what grade level you want and they send you a box stuffed with books. They have different quantity sizes that you can choose from. While you don’t know what exact books you are getting I have always received some decent books. I have yet to find another place I can buy 100 books for $60. They always add in extra books as well! Keep in mind, that these are all used, some more than others.
Lastly, we have good ‘ol scholastic! At regular prices, these books are the most expensive. I recommend buying the $1 deals or waiting for their warehouse sale! Every year Scholastic hosts a warehouse sale in actual warehouses! The warehouse is filled with brand new books on sale!! On top of that they provide coupons online for some extra savings. I was able to buy many of my popular read aloud books during these sales.
What are your tips for building a classroom library? I would LOVE to hear some more ideas!