This weekend I decided above all else I needed to get a start on building my classroom library. The concept of a classroom library doesn’t seem all that popular in the middle schools I’ve been in but I just don’t understand why not. It seems incredibly silly to be a reading teacher and not have any actual books in my room. I want my classroom to be a place where students have access to all kinds of reading materials in addition to the actual school library across the hall. And I found last year that we had several students who were essentially banned from checking out books at our library due to lost books. Having my own supply of reading materials should help eliminate that issue. And if I lose a few books that cost me 50 cents a piece in the process, so what?
Places to visit for building your classroom library:
Half Price Books is an obvious resource for filling your library. I’ve found in my area that the location on the more affluent side of town has a better selection of books at more discounted prices. Copies of The Hunger Games are still selling for $4.98 a piece at my usual Half Price. At the one a few exits down they are only $2. I found tons of books there this weekend under $1. And many that were only 25 or 50 cents each! Check often since the selection is ever revolving at Half Price. I lucked into a bunch of clearance priced books from a retired middle school teacher who’d recently sold Half Price her own classroom library. Bonus: they offer educators a 20% discount on all purchases!
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet is a new one to me that my instructional coach suggested I check out. Ollie’s is sort of like Big Lots and specializes in overstock and salvage goods. They have a deal with Penguin Publishers to distribute their overstock. Here the prices were a little higher than Half Price but the books were likely more recently published and in hard back form. I vowed to spend no more than $1.99 per book, the cheapest I found at Ollies, and came away with a huge stack. I was very pleased to add two copies of John Green’s ‘Looking for Alaska’ to my collection. (Just in case I ever teach 8th grade again or at any point in my career move up to high school.) Be prepared to do a lot of searching and don’t expect a store than is fancy or organized.
The Goodwill is another good place to check out. My neighbor is currently attending school to become an elementary school teacher and managed to snag a bunch of great books for her future library at the Goodwill.
Consignment Stores and yard sales. We have tons of consignment stores in my small town and I plan on checking their inventories this week to see if I can find anything. I’m not much of a yard sale person but with a renewed purpose I plan on hitting a few up next weekend to see if I can find anything. Most folks sell books at yard sales for less than 50 cents a piece. These are both great options if you’ve got a free Saturday morning and some time to kill searching.
The local library. Most libraries sell the books they’ve culled from the shelves. One of my nearby branches charges around $1 for hardbacks and 50 cents for paperbacks. Another only suggests that you donate however much you can afford for the books you take.
If you have any more suggestions I’d love to hear them!