Building Your Classroom Library: Acquiring More Books

Mar 1, 2009 by

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.


Two basic rules in acquiring books for your classroom:

  • Ask for donations.
  • Send a class thank you note with a photo of your class.

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