Setting Up… Classroom Library

Setting up classroom libraries

The first blog post for the Setting Up Series will focus on setting up your classroom library!

Check out these pictures AND blog posts all about libraries.

Top Ways to Organize Your Library:

  • Author
  • Genre
  • Theme
  • Alphabetical Order
  • Character
  • AR Level
  • Guided Reading Level

When setting up your classroom library, it is advisable to think long and hard about exactly how you want it organized in the long run. In my six years of teaching, I changed my library set up on three different occasions, and it took a lot of time that I could have spent lesson planning or creating resources for the classroom.

I started with sorting by genre for my second graders, which was amazing because I taught my kids genres from the start of the year. So, it was a great way to incorporate genre into their daily routine. My first school did not have A.R., so focusing on genre and theme was fantastic.

However, my second school moved into A.R. and all of our libraries were to be leveled. I spent about a week or two looking up all of my books on, writing the 5-6 digit codes on the inside of the books, and putting color-coded stickers on each book cover. THEN, I redid all of my book baskets.

Setting Up Your Classroom Library

Once you find out how you would like your library organized, start shopping for baskets!

The Dollar Tree has awesome baskets that will help your library look cohesive and organized. In my very first year of teaching, I bought clear shoe bins from Big Lots for $1 each, and they were incredibly sturdy throughout the year.

Cindy Fultz has an awesome blog post on buying bins for your classroom library. Read it here! She suggests shopping at Really Good Stuff for book bins. I have found GREAT use out of these.

Classroom Organization- Setting up your classroom library- tips for teachers on how to set up and organize their classroom library

Christi Fultz

However, if these bins are too pricey for you, visit Target or Dollar Spot ALL summer long until you gather a classroom amount of their $1 cardboard book bins. They’ll only last you the year (if that), but it helps for teachers on a budget.

Want some FREEBIE book bin labels?

Both of these free products are for teachers that sort their book bins by theme!

FREE Owl Book Bin Labels

FREE Themed Labels

Library design is a very important aspect of your classroom library, too. I think creating a cozy, inviting area for your children to feel safe to shop for books and snuggle up with a good one is ideal. If you’re on a budget, slowly work your way up.

A Few Ways to Organize on a Budget:

  • Bath mats
  • Cheap Pillows
  • Colorful bins from Dollar Tree
  • Free or inexpensive bin labels from Teachers Pay Teachers

Check out these absolutely inspiring ideas for setting up your classroom library.

Bookshelf idea for the classroom.


Colorful book bin organization idea.

School Girl Style

Easy book bin idea for primary school teachers.

Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits

Classroom Organization- Setting up your classroom library- tips for teachers on how to set up and organize their classroom library

First Grade Nest

Shopping ideas for elementary school teachers.


Easy crate bench idea for classroom organization.

Sun, Sand, and Second Grade

Lessons with Laughter

Lessons with Laughter

For this and even more ideas, click here for a CLASSROOM LIBRARIES Pinterest board.

Setting up your classroom library

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