Disclosure: The post is for my English teacher friends or for anyone who is having trouble sleeping at night.
My classroom library has grown over the years thanks to the generousity of friends giving books and my Goodwill book addiction, but I have never had a systematic way of organizing my book.
Enter Sylvia. Sylvia needed service hours for graduation and asked if I had anything she could do for me. After declining cleaning my house, I told her I had always wanted to organize my books, and she quickly agreed to help. Sylvia was the perfect person for this task since she is an avid reader, a talented writer (she’s writing her own novel), and is far more organized than me. She will be attending Agnes Scott next year, and I’m so excited for her!
I wanted books to have different colored labels that separated them into different categories in order for students to be able to narrow choices by genre. In addition, since I teach AP, I needed a quick way for students to know if the book is one that I think would be good for the AP Lit exam. Finally, I needed my name in each book and was gifted a library stamp but had just never taken the time to stamp the literally few hundred books I have (because I was grading the few hundred essays instead). I put Sylvia in charge, and this was her plan:
Books would be divided into these broad categories and labeled accordingly: historical fiction, classics, modern and contemporary, young adult, sci-fi-fantasy-magical realism (Sylvia insisted on this since this is her favorite genre), and non-fiction. Each book was stamped on the inside cover, and the books that work for the AP exam have a star on the label. Books could have two labels such as young adult and historical fiction if more than one genre applies to them. What about poetry? I will be catalouging these books before school starts, so those were taken off the shelf temporarily. Then Sylvia set to work and did an amazing job! And earned her volunteer hours so she can now graduate! Check out the results:
I could not be more pleased with the results! I thought about shelfing books by color for the asthetic WOW factor, but let’s face it – this is real high school life in E225 and they would not stay that way for long. I want students to have their germy hands all over these books. If you’re wondering whether or not a classroom library is worth the time and effort, check out this note I found in a book during this process:
I originally bought a copy of this book at Goodwill, recommended it to a student who was struggling, and he literally read this book so hard that the pages were falling out. He bought me this replacement as a thank you and to be sure other students had access to this book. Literature has the power to change people, so yes, if the classroom library helps me get the right book in the hands of a student, it is well worth my time (and Sylvia’s time) and effort.