How to Organize a Classroom Library the Easy Way

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Organize your classroom stash of books with a system that is easy to keep up.

Here are the four things you can do to get a classroom library setup, organized, and add new books to so that your library will work for you.

How to organizae a classroom library the easy way - perfect for kindergarten

One of the most daunting tasks I’ve ever taken on in organizing my classroom was approaching my classroom library.

I knew that I didn’t want to have all of my books out at once, but needed to come up with a kinder-friendly system that allowed me to rotate books as needed.

While this seemed daunting to start, it is now the easiest system to keep up (and add new books to), and I never have to worry about my books getting mixed up with other classrooms because they are uniquely labeled.

1. Label with pictures for beginning readers

Pictures were the solution I needed for my beginning readers and add a little tape, velcro, some paint stirrers, strong baskets, and voila!

Classroom Library Organization Made Simple - Use matching baskets to keep it easy on the eyes. Get rugged ones!

I have 8-16 baskets out at one time here which my kinders access every morning during quiet reading time.

It is part of our procedures that we learn to return the baskets with the picture label showing outward.

Inside each basket, all of the books have a matching tiny pictured taped in the top left corner so there’s no dispute over which basket each book gets returned to.

You can see that some of my basket labels will need to be re-printed and laminated this summer as they have been ruffled through many kinder hands over the past five years.

2. Rotate your library selection

Classroom Library Organization Made Simple - Use easy to read labels with pictures for kindergarten. They can easily organize, get and return books!

Each basket has two velcro squares and all of my labels have matching velcro squares.

Velcro allows me to easily change out the front labels whenever I desire.

Classroom Library Organization Made Simple - Change out the front of library book basket labels to easily rotate out books if you have limited shelf space.

Seems easy enough, right? It really is!

My favorite kinder teacher down the hall had parents help organize her library by sending one basket and set of labels home to get the ball rolling.

Hopefully having these as a tool ready to go – you’ll find this project less daunting!

Click to download the free book and basket labels. [terms of use]Β  [downloading help]

Print as many as needed to label your collection.

3. Store away books with this space-saving solution

I have over 50 different categories for my book collection now, so the remaining ones are tucked away in my closet in a system that allows me to maximize space.

Here’s my secret to not giving up too much of my precious closet space.

Classroom Library Organization Made Simple - I love this way to use pain sticks to organize books standing up in my closet.

I simply printed the same pictures onto free paint sticks and use those to stick out from the books to separate each category.

Now, if I could only remember to rotate books out more often! {wink}

Classroom Library Organization Made Simple - I love this way to use pain sticks to organize books standing up in my closet.

These themed labels have really helped me out in the long run and to minimize the daunting task of labeling every book.

4. Organize for when you get new books

Keep yourself and your extra labels organized for the future and the next time your Scholastic order comes in!

Grab a binder, Ziploc bags and you’re ready to print and be organized!

  1. Staple a snack-sized Ziploc baggie on top of the printable category pages.
  2. Stick all of the pages into a binder.
  3. Add the extra labels you didn’t use into the organized Ziploc baggies.
  4. The next time you need a label, you can easily grab it and tape it right onto your new book.

Let’s wrap it up

There you have it – and easy four-step process to organize your classroom stash of books with a system that is easy to keep up. Happy organizing!

If you like what I do here on KindergartenWorks, then be sure to subscribe today. I look forward to sharing ideas with you weekly.

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103 Comments

  1. Very disappointed have tried numerous times to down load and it tells me to check my in box but never get an email.

  2. I have put in my name and email and I didn’t get the book labels. It is not in my spam either. Can you send it to me. I really like your organized website on guided reading.

  3. Hi Leslie,
    I am so excited to have found your blog. Thanks a million for sharing ideas, especially the library center and how you have basket and book labels. I am so excited to get started. I want to subscribe to your blog, how do I do that?

    1. Hi Bailey,
      I can see that the email has been sent on my end. Could you please check your spam folder, trash and “promotions” tab in your gmail? I’ve heard from others that sometimes my emails can find their way into those folders on accident.
      Thanks, Leslie

  4. I’m using this in my tiny public library! Thank you!!! Is there a way to request different labels, such as “Disney” and “SkippyJon”?

    1. Hi Melissa, I’m so thankful that you were able to put these to use in your library – awesome! I’m not currently taking custom work but you could use the font called VAG ROUND to potentially create some to match!
      Thanks, Leslie

  5. Where did you find your baskets? My current library baskets are literally falling apart…I need to invest in some new ones but I want ones that will last.

  6. Hi Leslie. Thanks for your encouraging reply today. Spent all day in my room and had a helper today – great! I recently ordered so many of the lovely ‘old’ books from your recommended list, so I look forward to using this advice for organising the books! (I am not an organised person, so what a help this all is). 1 week for you, ENJOY. But I see how you love your kinders, so what a joy you have… working is a blessing to you, and lucky them x Shirley

  7. Thanks for the labels. I can’t wait until I have a collection of books to use with my kinders. First year teacher.

  8. Hi Leslie. Thanks for these great labels! I loved your idea and have labeled many of my first boxes for the new school year already. A quick question: What program did you use to create the labels? I needed several categories in addition to yours and have tried to replicate your labels using MS Word – AACK! It is uber-frustrating. If you created yours in Word, then my hat is off to you (please share your secret) LOL. Rebecca A

    1. Hi Rebecca,
      Kudos for giving it a go! Have you tried making any in PowerPoint? I’ve been hearing how teachers are having more success with creating printables and such with it? Perhaps give that a try?
      Thanks for touching base!
      – Leslie

  9. Thanks for the great resources! I’m setting up for my first year in September and want to be as organized as possible!

  10. I just graduated in May and was really unsure of how to organize my books. LOVE THIS! So, thank you! πŸ™‚

  11. I LOVE all of your labels. I like to have my library super organized, and my library last year was very similar to yours, except with higher-level books for older students. I’ve saved your labels in hopes that I won’t have to make a ton of new labels as I organize the HUGE library in my new classroom this year. Thanks for sharing!

  12. I love the paint stirrer organization system!!! Is it possible for you to share the template so that we could create other categories? This is for my library at home. Although … if I were still teaching I would do this in a heartbeat. I am addicted to books and collecting children’s books – I would love to finally categorize them all making it easier for my daughter to find books of interest to read. I can be reached at tlmswt2000(at)msn(dot)com.

  13. Love your labels. What font and size do you typical use? I would like to make some labels for my math materials and supplies that have the same font.

  14. This is an excellent system, and I have one recommendation to make it last from year to year- why not print the labels on the large mailing label paper? That way the whole label will stick to the bin and the corners won’t begin curling off as quickly. Thanks for sharing and saving us all time!

  15. Thanks so much for posting this! I’ve been SO unhappy with my classroom library, and this is exactly what I needed to see!

  16. This is amazing! I recently graduated and am already starting to collect things (lots of books) for my classroom. Getting this started early will be a lifesaver!!

  17. This is great. I have never labeled my books in all my years teaching but now i will. Thanks so much

  18. What an amazing set of labels. Thank you so much for sharing, it sure felt super daunting before I happened to find you(*^_^*)

  19. These are awesome! I was just trying to put my library together and was wondering where I could find labels. I just stumbled upon these. Thank you !!

  20. I downloaded the free book basket and book labels…thank you so much for sharing! Do you have the character/author labels for sale? I noticed a Madeline basket label in one of your photos. Likely you have already made labels with all of the typical favorite characters and authors. I’d love to buy them already done, seeing as how I am about to take on the ‘daunting’ task of sorting and labeling all of my books! Hee hee. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Kinder Jill,
      Be sure to click the photo above and it’ll take you right to the free download. This one hosted here is different than the one you most likely downloaded in one of my stores. You’ll be on your merry way to sorting and labeling since it includes some famous-looking characters.
      – Leslie

  21. Do you have a template you would mind sharing so I can add a few extras for my library. Thanks! This is awesome!

  22. Thank you so much for sharing the book labels! I’m pretty new to cyberspace, blogging, and finding ideas, so I sincerely appreciate everything that you’re sharing on your site!

    πŸ™‚

  23. These are amazing!! And you are amazing for sharing them! I teach 2nd grade- so I only wish that you had more for titles that my students would love!!

  24. Thank you so much. Kinders have such a hard time remembering where to put the books and I always having to fix them up. I love these and appreciate the download.

  25. A cheaper but still reliable way to adhere your labels to the bins would be to use Mahvelous tape. I love that stuff!!!!

  26. Love these, especially because they’re simple and they will be easy for me to match when I need to make more. Thank you SO much for sharing!

  27. Thanks for the great organizational ideas, Melissa. One idea that works for easily changing basket labels is to use clear plastic business card or larger pockets. Office stores have them. They peel and stick and then you can just change the label card but slipping the new one into the pocket. Works great if you have a limited number of tubs to use.

  28. I love your library system. I have down loaded the labels and am starting on the process of labeling all those books! At the bottom of the download it says “See our classroom version with famous book character labels and author labels. Grab a free download to keep these all organized. Click this photo to go there now.” I did this and can’t seem to find the link. Now as I’ve been sorting books, it could be I’ve overlooked the link! Thanks for the great resource!

    1. Melissa,
      I would download this version here on this blog to get the entire set that includes the authors and characters labels set. The ones you got were from my store and I of course don’t own those famous names and photos, so here I can share! Try downloading these versions to see if that helps!

  29. I love your system and I have almost finished organizing all of my books! Thank you so much! Could you please tell me what program you used to create your labels? I have a couple of categories that I would love to add. Thank you so much!

    1. Awesome Michelle! I use lots of Microsoft clipart to help make all of the pieces, but the program I use to line things up and design is called Corel Draw. Share you categories please! I love knowing what others use in their classrooms too!

  30. I have been teaching for 20 years and labeling baskets but never has someone done my job for me. Your system is great! My labels are made by books are divided into piles so I am ready! Thank you so very much for this download! I will proudly share your pictures with my new class this year. I will be returning to kinder after 4 years in first. I am so excited to be back in K!!!

    thank you again,
    Judy

  31. I have been looking for a practical way to rotate my books which are all in tubs. There isn’t room to store all those tubs elsewhere and I forget what I have when they are tucked away. Your system seems so logical. Thanks for sharing.

  32. Love these! I had my books organized when I taught 4th grade, but when I moved to 1st, the labels didn’t work anymore! I plan to use these, but when I printed them, the titles came out all jumbled up and not in English! Hmmmmmm!!

  33. I have been looking for a practical way to rotate my books which are all in tubs. There isn’t room to store all those tubs elsewhere and I forget what I have when they are tucked away. Your system seems so logical. Thanks for sharing.

  34. Love the Velcro idea and hopefully your posting will save me lots of packing tape next year to keep my basket labels on! I’ve actually been good this year and made a data base of all my book baskets and printed them on 4×6 index cards and got them laminated on Tuesday! So now I’m on to the velcro task! Do you use any particular kind? Most of the velcro I bought at Michael’s craft store this year fell off what i stuck it on so I’m getting there. When I taught 2nd grade two years ago I had the OCD class library with every book inventoried in excel and baskets and books were labeled with the matching basket. That system kind of went out the door when I moved to K so I’m glad I saw your posting to get me going again! Oh so in 2nd I labeled my baskets with the name badge holders you can buy at Staples. They worked great and I created name badge size labels I could slip in and then used the stretchy elastic you wear around your neck to wrap in and out throughout the baskets! Thanks!
    Lindsey
    http://www.whytewater.blogspot.com/

  35. Thank you for sharing this idea! I bought plastic containers for my books so that I could organize them, but don’t really like this method. I have been looking for a way to re-organize all my books and this seems like a great idea. I especially love the paint stirrers! Thanks for sharing!!!

  36. Thank you so much for this post! I have been putting off and putting off organizing my books. Finally, I have decided that I am going to do it!! Even though we are on vacation, my building is open tomorrow and I am going in and starting!! I can’t wait! It’s been a long time coming!!

    Thanks again πŸ™‚

  37. This is a project I have planned for when my student teacher does her take-over. I have my books sorted into thematic tubs with labels and each tub is numbered as are the books- I’m thinking I need to revamp my system a bit now that I’m back in Kindergarten and have 50 or so book tubs. Thanks for the labels- I’m tired of looking at the ones I* have.

    Tiffani
    http://time4kindergarten.blogspot.com/

  38. I also have my books labeled. There is a label in the book and on the basket for easy matching. Thanks for sharing yours – I was needing some new pictures for my labels. Mine were getting a bit boring!

  39. love it! Was just planning to label my whole classroom, including books. These just saved my weekend. Now I can play instead of sneak in work.
    deb

  40. This is an awesome system – that’s so much for sharing. And it’s perfect timing as I’m moving rooms this summer so I’ve got to get it all organized and ready to go for next year:)

  41. Wow! I was just thinking about my library book organization today. I am returning to kinder in the fall. I have a lot of books!!!! I try to let my kids have access to as many as possible but in the beginning that is almost too daunting. This seems like such a great system. I love the painter stick idea. Why didn’t I think of that?! Thanks for sharing!

    http://www.learningwithmrsparker.blogspot.com

  42. SWEET! I love your idea. I hope I am able to get this done this summer! We shall see…I’m so excited to have found some good blogs. Now if only I’d found them sooner in the year. Oh well there’s always next year ‘cept I don’t know what grade I’ll be in…

    1. I am already subscribed, but I filled out the fields anyway and am not getting the email. Is it possible you could still send this freebie to me?

  43. Great ideas! Thank you for the printables. Love the paint stirrers! Sharing your link on my facebook fan page.
    ~Julie

  44. Thanks for sharing! I really like this system. I rotate out my books monthly, so there are always new holiday and seasonal books each month. It’s easy and takes no time at all!

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