As the end of the school year approaches, we start to do lots of packing, lots of cleaning, and lots of thinking about what we want to do differently next year. Packing up your classroom library is no exception. All the books need to come off the shelves. Books need to be repaired. And, most importantly, we need to think about how our classroom library can be even better next year.
Use the guide to help you pack, clean & repair, and plan for an even richer classroom library for next year.
End of the Year Classroom Library Packing Guide
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Packing Up Your Classroom Library
We can’t make plans until we know we are starting with inside your library. We are going to divide the books initially into three piles.
Pile 1: Got to Go
Books so badly wore they need to be removed from your library go here. Also, books that are so old that they are no longer accurate or relevant. Think books that still show Pluto as a planet, presidential books that don’t go past Jimmy Carter, or books that depict Native Americans in an inaccurate context.
Pile 2: Need Attention
This stack is for books that have torn covers or torn pages that need to be repaired. We’ll address this stack later.
Pile 3: Want to Keep
This will be your largest stack. But, we still need to do something before we pack them up. We are going to do some mini sorts. First, divide them into two piles: fiction (not real) and informational. What do you notice about your two piles? Chances are that the fiction pile is vastly bigger than the informational pile. Take note…I need to add some more informational books to my shelves.
Then, grab some sticky notes and label them with the following categories:
- Picture Books (Note how many are wordless or interactive)
- Series Books (Clifford, Curious George, etc.)
- Beginning Readers and Early Chapter Books
- Graphic Novels
Take note again. Literally, take note. Write down where you see holes. Create a list of needed books. Where do you see room to increase your collection? Is your collection heavy on series books? Time to add in some other types of books.
Ok, finally we are going to dig a little deeper. Look at your stacks and answer each of these questions. Remember to take notes.
- My students this year really loved learning about_______. How many books do I have on those topics?
- This year I had students from the following races, cultures, and religions:___________. How many books do I have that depict each of these? Could all of my students see themselves in books? What about our community? Are all those races, cultures, and religions reflected in my classroom library?
- Do I have a variety of levels of books in my classroom library? Do I have books that all my students can read that are just right for their reading ability? (I’m not saying these books should be labeled with levels.)
- What books did my students go to over and over again this year? What do I notice about them? Do I need more books like those? (Don’t forget to check your worn pile of books too.)
- Have I added any new books to my classroom library recently? Could it use some fresh picks? Do I have any recent award winners?
- What else do you notice about your collection?
I’ve included a book inventory sheet to help you with this process. Grab it as a thank you gift for becoming a free VIP Growing Book by Book member.
Books are heavy so use medium-sized boxes when packing and label your boxes with the contents and your last name. Classrooms usually get emptied to the hall so it’s important to have your name or room number on each box.
If you will be storing your books at home in the garage or basement, make sure to put them on pallets to avoid moisture getting to them.
Cleaning and Repairing Your Books
Time to repair that needs attention pile before they get packed up. Clear packing tape (I like this kind the best) is your friend for this job. Tape torn pages and reinforce weak spines.
Ripped dust jackets can be removed and used for art projects or think about framing them to decorate your reading area.
Glossy covered books can be lightly cleaned with a wet wipe. Allow to dry completely before stacking or packing.
Musty smelling books enjoy an afternoon of sunbathing in the outside air.
And, for next school year, think about creating a book ambulance so that you can keep up on book repair throughout the year and prevent future damage to books.
Planning For Next Year’s Classroom Library
Ok, your books are now repaired and packed. Now, it’s time to start thinking about next year’s classroom library.
Take your inventory and notes and let’s get planning.
You know where you need to beef up your collection. But, what specific books should you add to those categories? Well, at Growing Book by Book we have over 150 book lists to help you.—>See Our Books for Kids Lists
Get Help Creating Your Dream Library
Would you like help with this process of taking inventory, finding the books you want on a budget, setting up your library, and getting the kids excited about using it? Then, you want to take our upcoming take action professional development workshop.—>Subscribe to Our Newsletter to Hear When Doors Open