Plant your library in the right spot.
Give it some sunshine and love and watch your readers thrive and grow.
In a kid-centered classroom, the classroom library is a hub of learning activity. It is a place to browse for and explore new titles, revisit old favorites, research topics of interest, and share the love of books with friends.
Classroom Library Design Tips
To help students get the most out of your classroom library, keep the following in mind as you design and refine the perfect space for this growing collection:
- Give the classroom library a place of honor. Don’t relegate it to a dusty back corner or the shelves nestled behind the guided reading table. Place it center stage. These books are the heart and soul of your classroom.
- Ask for what you need. Classroom libraries, built on a foundation of sturdy shelving and durable book baskets, are not frill or fluff. So, don’t be hesitant to ask for what you need. Let your principal see what you’re trying to build and ask for their support. In need of more shelving and there’s no room in this year’s budget? Send an email to your colleagues, chances are someone has one that’s collecting dust.
- Make it easily accessible. Locating the library in an area that is crowded or difficult to get to will limit its use. Place the books in an area that is easily approached from several directions, has room for several students to browse at one time, and allows students to squat or sit in front of the shelves without encroaching on someone else’s space.
- Make it inviting. You needn’t go crazy, but consider simple ways to make your library inviting. Place it near a window. Remove visual clutter. Define the space with a small area rug, or place beanbags or other comfortable seating nearby. Display favorite or thematic books on the tops of shelves. You want this space to draw students in. You want kids to want to spend time here.
- Leave room to grow. Libraries are living and growing things. As you get the word out that you are hungry for books and keep your eyes peeled for good deals your collection will grow at a surprising pace. So you’ll be wise to start planning for expansion from the start. The easiest way to to do this is to avoid starting off with books too cramped or crowded. Instead of over filling baskets, keep most of them only about 2/3 full start with. This will make it easier for students to browse and will invite the universe to shower more books upon you. When new books do arrive, you’ll be joyful rather than frustrated as you face the welcome task of integrating them into your collection.
A Tool for Taking Stock of Library
Classroom library design is not a once and done proposition. It’s a labor of love that evolves over time. To help you take stock of the current state of your classroom library and make intentional plans for the future, I’ve crated a Planning Tool to guide you as you reflect:
- Location and functionality of the library
- Quantity, quality and variety of texts
- Routines for the care and keeping of the collection.
You can get the PDF here.
Fo more support with building and caring for your classroom library, check out these related posts: