How to Set Up an Elementary Classroom Library

Written by mandi titus
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How to Set Up an Elementary Classroom Library
Organising a classroom library takes time. (library books image by Daughterson from

Make it easy for students to access books to read by setting up a welcoming classroom library in your room for your elementary school class. When planning a library in your classroom, it is important to create a calming and welcoming environment, as well as making sure your set up makes it easy for students to browse and return the books they have selected from the library.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Selection of books
  • Baskets for books
  • Bookshelves
  • Construction paper
  • Solid-coloured stickers

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  1. 1

    Select a location for your library. Locate your library in a quiet area of your classroom that is away from heavy traffic. Use bookshelves, furniture and classroom walls to make the library a cosy corner where students can browse the selection with few distractions.

  2. 2

    Organise your books. There are many ways to organise books for your classroom library. Some teachers choose to divide their books by reading level, which requires determining the level for your books. You may also choose to separate your books by topic, author or any way that works for you and your students. If you are setting up your library during the school year, ask your students for ideas on how they would like the books sorted and allow them to help you with the organisation process. This will give them a sense of ownership in the library.

  3. 3

    Place books in book baskets on your bookshelves. While most school and public libraries place books on the shelf with their spines facing out, placing the books in baskets on the shelf allows students to browse the books easily. It also allows you to rotate baskets of books in your library if you choose to.

  4. 4

    Label your books and baskets. Create tags for each basket noting the type of books in the basket, such as "animals" or "fairy tales." Use coloured construction paper to back each basket tag and tie or tape the tags to the front of your book baskets. Add a matching coloured sticker to the front of each book in the basket so students know where the book belongs. If desired, write your name on the front cover or inside flap of each book so students know they borrowed the book from your library.

  5. 5

    Create a library guide for your students. Help students maintain your library by writing a library guide that explains how your books are organised and what is expected of them when they use the library. Post your guide so students can refer to it while in the library.

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