5 Steps To Set Up A Classroom Library


Every morning you go to your classroom, teach students and assign them classwork and homework. Among the many skills you teach them, it is also important that you nurture in them the skill of reading. One of the most effective ways to do so is to set up a classroom library.

Setting up a classroom library encourages your students to read more and understand different educational concepts, especially since the books are easily within their reach. Here are few ways to set up and organize your classroom library.

1. Books – How To Build A Small Collectionshutterstock_149736146

The first thing you will need when setting up a classroom library are of books. Now buying new books is not always a viable option because for one, they are expensive and for another you might not have the budget to buy them. So how do you build a collection of books then? One way, is to call upon your family and friends to donate books that they no longer need or feel like having. Another thing you can do is ask your students if they have any books that they would like to add the  collection (ones that are willingly given and no longer needed at home of course). Thirdly, second bookshops often offer great deals, especially if you are buying in bulk. You can easily buy quite a few books from a second-hand bookshop in order to bolster your library.

Our Tip: If you have no budget at all, you can even have a small book donation drive and thereby accumulate books for your library.

shutterstock_1892223892. Storage – Where To Store

Before setting up a classroom library, decide where you want to store the books. Usually teachers use bookshelves or display racks with colorful bins/trays on them. For smaller classes, you can designate a specific reading spot. For older classes, who might frown upon a colourful reading spot, you can simply allow them to read at their desks during designated reading hours.

Our Tip: Paint a wall with bright colors ( before you paint it, check with your administrative staff and obtain the necessary permissions) and or simply decorate it. Call it “The Reading Wall,” this will be the reading area in your classroom and will attract your students for sure!

shutterstock_976352723. Categories – Types Of Books

After deciding on where to store your books, the next big decision is the types of books you would like to have in your classroom library. For the younger classes, stock your library with age appropriate books and for older classes, other than stocking the library with young adult fiction, you can also add magazine or reference books which you have procured second hand or third hand.

Our Tip: Make a poster listing out the category names and the colors of the bins/trays in which they are placed, opposite to each other. This helps your students know which categories of books are placed in which colored bin/tray.

shutterstock_151586948-[Converted]4. Sorting – Organizing And Label

Once you have decided the categories of books you want in your classroom library, it is time to organize the books into a catalogue that you can reference. You can sort the books by author and topic or by the type of books and the level of your grade. Label the colored book bins and book baskets to keep the library organized and tidy.

Our Tip: Also use audio books to draw your students towards your classroom library. You can also have “The Favorites Bin” where students stick a label with their name and keep their favorite books in these bins.

shutterstock_198170535. Checkout – Keep Track Of Books

Finally, you will need a checkout system to keep track of the books in your library. Most teachers use the traditional library card method where in every book will have a pocket to hold the index card with the book title on it. When the students take a book they will write their name on the index card and hand it over to the teacher. You can also teach the students about your system and appoint one of your students as the classroom librarian for a week so that even in your absence, your little library keeps running. For younger classes, it would be prudent to appoint another teacher as a temporary librarian, in case of your absence.

Our Tip: You can have a “Must Reads” board on the “Reading Wall” from where children can pick the index cards of the “must read books” and pin their names on the board.

Did you set your classroom library using the above tips? Did you find it helpful? Please give your feedback in the comments section below.


About Author

Rohia is an aspiring writer, who once upon a time used to be an engineer, until she decided to follow her true passion, writing. She enjoys playing piano, listening to music and singing too.


  1. Abbas Khaleel SM on

    Good suggestions and ideas. Teachers can work on this in their schools/classes. same time teachers has to take care in selecting books according to the class level of students.

    • You are right Mr. Abbas, teachers should select the books for their classroom library according to the level of the class. Thank you.

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