Re-Organizing Your Classroom Book Shelves

If you've come to the end of the year and your classroom bookshelves have become an eyesore, here are a few tips for re-organizing it in preparation for next year. And it only takes ten minutes, so no excuses!

Supplies You'll Need
- Timer, stopwatch, or clock
- Boxes, totes, bins, or bags for sorted items

Before you begin, mark your sorting containers appropriately (e.g. "Keep", "Library Sale", "Good Neighbors/Goodwill/Give Away", "Throw Away/Recycle"). Since you'll be weeding out the books in your classroom library and your teaching book shelves separately, these will get lots of use. Classroom Library Clean-Up

  1. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  2. Magazines. Recycle magazines that are more than three months old. If you subscribe to monthly publications, these can quickly overwhelm your shelves leaving back issues outdated and irrelevant. If you know of certain issues that have become favorites or 'mainstays', mark them with a red tab and put them in the keep pile. Remember though that each classroom is different so if you see they're not getting use during the year, recycle them!
  3. Board books, paperbacks, and hardcover books. First, remove all books that are badly beaten up and place them in the recycle pile. Next, since you'll probably have a good idea as to what books got the most use during the year and which ones sat on the shelf because of disinterest or date, sort as follows: 1) if they're outdated (and still intact), add them to the 'give away' pile, 2) if they're relevant, but unread due to disinterest, add them to the 'library sale' pile, and 3) if they're classroom favorites, add them to the 'keep' pile.
  4. Other items. If irrelevant items have made their way to your library shelves, clear them off and put them in their rightful place.
  5. Re-shelve the magazines and books in the keep pile.

In ten minutes, your shelves will look better than new!

Teacher Book Shelves

The process is basically the same! What can get tricky are trade publications, textbooks, and other teacher resource books. If they're a 'must keep', but aren't resources that are used on a consistent basis, pack them away in a tote so that you create extra usable space on your shelves. If at the end of the year you have touched these storage tote treasures, you'll probably be better off getting rid of them and making way for other resources!

Ten Minute Bookshelf Organization


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