Our school created a book room last summer for the elementary teachers, and it has been such a handy repository for all the books we share on a regular basis. When our language arts teachers met to discuss our needs and wants for the book room, most of us had read It’s All About the Books and had been drooling over the pictures. We used that book as inspiration and identified three main goals. We needed easy access for all teachers at any time of day, flexibility to allow for new books or the removal of books we no longer needed, and an efficient organization system since we had limited space.
Book Room Access
Our book room is a small, narrow space between two third grade classrooms. It already had shelving installed and housed all our crafty project supplies. We overhauled and consolidated the project supplies, which gave us room for the book sets. The third grade teachers graciously allow us to enter their classrooms discreetly any time of the day, although, we found that we typically needed to get in there during that few minutes we are last minute prepping right before the school day starts, so it is not too disruptive for the teachers. There are two doors, Jack and Jill style, between the two classrooms, so we don’t always need to enter the book room space the same way.
Master Book List
We created a master spreadsheet with all the book sets listed and shared it with our group on Google Drive. The spreadsheet has title, author, number of book copies the school owns, book reading level, and a column for location because we do keep some book sets in our individual classrooms. We printed two copies of the book list to keep in the book room. One copy is sorted by reading level; the other copy is sorted by author. Teachers can find a book based on the level they need or search for a specific book based on author. Using the spreadsheet, we created labels that are attached to colorful bookmarks. This identifies the set making it easy for teachers to locate sets.
When new book sets are added mid-year, a teacher fills out a blank bookmark and adds the book set to the appropriate bin. The teacher also adds the information to the Google Drive spreadsheet. I was appointed “spreadsheet master” so I periodically go through and update and re-sort the spreadsheet (it’s a good summer task).
Book Room Organization
When teachers need to check out books from the book room, we have a clothespin system. Teachers take the books they need and leave the clothespin attached to the bookmark or book box where the books will be returned. Not only do we have book sets with trade books we purchase independently, we also have the Fountas and Pinnell guided reading series. One of our teachers created leveled labels that we hot glued to the fronts of the various boxes.
To help teachers keep the materials in the correct spaces, there are pictures posted on the walls near the shelves with a visual of how the materials should look. We have the pictures maps set up for the book bins as well as for the craft supply bins.
TIP: We used all the existing plastic bins we had. We oriented them in different directions and fit book sets side by side. We also slid picture book sets in between book bins. Maximize your space!
I do have plans to spend a day this summer cleaning and updating the school book room, but for the most part, it has stayed in its original condition. We all get the books we need when we need them. It has been a huge help particularly for the lower grade teachers who are grabbing the F&P leveled readers constantly. Even if you have limited storage space at your school, finding a closet or unused area to start a shared book room is well worth the time and effort!