Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Extreme Makeover: Library Edition

Tomorrow I finish my 23rd year teaching, all 3rd grade too!  I started building my classroom library my first year.  At that time there were several book order companies, and I would purchase from all of them.  I kept my library in alphabetical order by author.  I will admit, overwhelming to maintain!  Our site also purchased subscriptions to Reading A-Z and I printed many leveled books.  Several years ago our Reading Specialist (now 1st grade teacher) let me borrow the following book:
A challenge for me was it leveled by Fountas & Pinnell's system and Reading A-Z was another system.

So, I combined the two, Fountas & Pinnell in the parenthesis, A-Z to the left.  I just labeled the inside of the back cover:
I was able to find the levels of about 1/5 of my books.  I put them in a variety of different kinds and colors of baskets.  Then two years ago I began pulling out all of my nonfiction and keeping them separate.  I used sticky dots to classify...

Then I saw wonderful labels on one of my favorite blogs Ladybug's Teacher Files ( and was inspired...but what pushed me over the edge was one of my favorite places...
where I spotted these a couple of weeks ago...

It was ON!  I decided to go with Fountas & Pinnell only so....

The relabeling began. I decided to use green baskets for the books I had previously leveled or could level, now checking all of my titles in Book Wizard by Scholastic! I choose red for my nonfiction, blue for those that I didn't have levels for, and yellow for magazines. (I've bought out all of there green for now, so leveled is currently green and yellow).
After hours, and hours, and hours, and hours, and packing tape, and packing tape, and packing's the transformation...(just image what the before might have looked like)
bottom row on left are non leveled books

Thanks to Avery, I'm making these dividers within levels to highlight chapter books and soon favorite authors!
(that just cardboard cut down..I always save them from paper packs!)

red nonfiction, blue teacher books, yellow magazines

top shelf general non fiction

1st red shelf marine life, animals bottom shelf weather & natural disasters, biographies, space
I also wanted my magazines organized (we had several subscriptions donated this year)

2 81/2 x 11 cardboard sheets taped together

A GREAT BIG THANKS to all of the wonderful teachers who have shared their book bin/basket labels!!!
Ladybug's Teacher Files
Mrs. Jump's Class
Step into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons
Beth Newingham

Oh, and I'm even trying to 'declutter' (I'm unfortunately :( the 'queen of clutter!)  These were in my library and tomorrow (LAST DAY!!!) students can 'buy' them with my reward currency!


  1. That is AWESOME Nancy! As a former third grade teacher myself, I feel your pain :) Very nice work! Thanks for sharing!

    Charity @

  2. Nancy!! Total AWESOMENESS!! I think we will have to try this with our homeschool library;)

  3. I love your library! It looks great, I hope I can find those baskets at my dollar tree.
    Barrow's Hodgepodge

  4. Congrats on 23 years!!! You did an AMAZING job on your library! I love those book baskets! I wonder if the Dollar Tree still has them. It's worth a trip!

    3rd Grade Gridiron

  5. It looks amazing. I'm trying to do the same thing right now. Hope you don't mind if I steal a few of your ideas. I just saw the pop-up baskets at dollar tree, but overlooked them because I was looking for baskets for chapter books. But what a great idea to use them for all of my picture books and magazines! Thanks for sharing your wonderful library ideas and pics!

  6. Your library makeover looks amazing!! I absolutely love it! What a wonderful idea you have for picture books and magazines, I will definitely be doing that. I have started labeling all of my books too a la Ladybug Teacher Files! What did you do for books that weren't on the Scholastic Wizard? I find that there are so many books i cant find labels for! I have tried searching other sites, but no luck. How do you label those books? Do you take a guess? The perfectionist in me feels like im cheating somehow, but I'm not sure what else to do. Any suggestions would be great :)

    thepolkadotowl at gmail dot com

  7. Wow it looks great. Congratulations!!!!
    I so want4ed to redo my library- I even went in, only to find that the custodian had stacked all my furniture on the rug in front of my book cases. So I locked the door and went home.
    Time 4 Kindergarten

  8. It looks amazing! I love seeing the finished product all nice and organized! It was also nice to see how you completed the project step by step! Thanks for sharing!


  9. Wow! Your library looks amazing now! This is what I'm currently doing at home for the summer. It's a HUGE job. I have used all the same resources as you. It looks fantastic and your students will love the organization!
    You are so nice to "giveaway" books to your students. Enjoy your last day!

  10. Hey Nancy! Thanks so much the shout out and the nice comment on my blog. Your library is looking AWESOME and so organized. I really need to update mine and now you have reinspired me to do so!! I'm sharing some more labels later this evening... :)

  11. It looks great. I know how hard it is to level and organize your classroom library, so I'm sure you've spend hours on this, but it will be worth it!

  12. Thank you all for the kind comments, they really made my day! Life has been so busy with school ending I having dealt with bloggin' stuff at all! Rebecca, I found these baskets to work GREAT with chapter books! Look at the picture with the chapter book dividers. Polka Dot, I haven't figured out how I'm going to label those that I couldn't find a level for. I think I will modify Kristen's template with Misc. or NL (not leveled) Right now they're all in the blue baskets or in the covered magazine holders...something to tackle in the fall. Kristen, thanks again. I'm sure I'll use your reference labels, and I'm looking forward to seeing what else you create! Thanks again everyone! Nancy

  13. Wow! Looks like a lot of work. The kids will really benefit from it though. Good luck!


  14. WOW! You have inspired me to organize my classroom books...but it will have to wait until I am allowed back in my classroom. Thanks!


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