Building Your Classroom Library: Acquiring More Books
Where do you begin if you lack enough books to organize a classroom library? There are many creative ways to acquire more books at reasonable prices and often even for free. Here are a few to get you started:
Write a grant: Many school districts and community organizations offer grant money for special projects. Take advantage of these opportunities. Check out Donors Choose, a United States based nonprofit organization that provides a way for people to donate directly to specific projects at public schools (sometimes known as peer-to-peer philanthropy).
Friends of the Library Used Book Sales: Friends of the Library love to give teacher materials for free or at greatly reduced prices.
Garage sales: Ask if the seller will consider donating unwanted books to your classroom or giving you a discount.
Bonus Points from Book Orders: As children read more, they purchase more books, contributing more bonus points which can be used to buy more books!
Ask parents to donate unwanted books.
Bookstores: Some bookstores will donate damaged books to teachers. Books without covers provide students with a perfect opportunity to show their comprehension of a story by designing their own book covers. Also ask for old book displays and other promotional material.
Post Offices: Ask your local post office if they will give you any unclaimed magazines.
Thrift Stores/Salvation Army/Goodwill: These stores will often give teachers materials for free or at greatly reduced prices.
Local Businesses: Many businesses will donate materials they do not need. Eg: Ask a carpet store for leftover carpet or samples to put into your classroom library.
Service Organizations (Rotary, Optimists, Lions, American Legion): Some are willing to provide money to purchase books.
Nonprofit Organizations: A variety of national nonprofits organization specialize in providing books to teachers and students in need.
- First Book
- Wonder of Reading
- Reading is Fundamental
- Rolling Readers
- Reading Recycling Projects: Nonprofit organization distributes new and used books free of charge (recipients pay shipping and handling).
Two basic rules in acquiring books for your classroom:
- Ask for donations.
- Send a class thank you note with a photo of your class.