End-of-the-Year Routines for the Classroom Library


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The end of the school year is a great time to weed out and clean up our classroom libraries. And, while the task can be daunting, we have learned that it doesn’t have to be when we collaborate with colleagues and uncover tips and tricks that help with efficiency and organization. After our collaboration with Lori Sabo and Trish Prentice, we would like to share what we learned from them, with you!

Lori shared that one key to maintaining a high-quality classroom library is something called weeding. Weeding is simply the process of culling old, outdated, damaged books and reading material to make room for the new. This process also makes what is already in the collection easier to find.

If you have 700 books in your library, but only 500 of them are appealing to students, then the extra titles aren’t doing anyone any good. In fact, they are a burden for students to wade through when looking for the perfect good-fit book. We can gain a tremendous sense of freedom if we remember that the purpose of a classroom library is not to archive and preserve every piece of reading material that has come through the doors (leave that to the Library of Congress); instead, our goal is to maintain a vibrant, healthy library.

In this article Lori helps us learn to weed our library by asking three questions.

  1. Is it in good shape?
  2. Is the information accurate?
  3. Is it a classic or out of date?

Trish shared that she works to send a strong "I value and trust you" message to students by including them in the classroom library clean-up. Here are some ideas she shared that work for her:

  • Pass out baby wipes so they can clean the book tubs. It's amazing what collects at the bottom of the tubs...bits of paper, hair barrettes, lots of dust and more!
  • Remind the children to put the "broken books" in the Book Hospital tub.
  • Create a box to collect books that slipped in without a tub label...sometimes that happens.
  • Ask children to pull books out of tubs that they would never read. Once that is done, spread them all out and see if everyone agrees. If someone sees a book they have read and liked, they can rescue it by putting it back in it's tub. But if everyone agrees that a book needs to go then it probably does!
  • Have students pick a book they love and write a note about it; then tuck the note inside for children to find next year.. "This is one of my favorite books because..." You could brainstorm a list of topics the children could write about...favorite character, setting, illustrations, favorite author, etc. The only stipulation would be that they can't tell the ending of the story. I think it would be important for the teacher to review all the notes before they were placed in the books. Perhaps you could use some fancy paper clips or sticky note to attach the notes to the cover page. What a fun surprise for the children next year. This would a community building, memory making experience for two sets of students. It would also be a fun way to spend a morning!
  • Have a discussion on your book system and library organization with the students and get their ideas. Someone might have a perfect solution for a problem you didn't even know you had.

Do you have any special tips for sorting through and organizing your classroom library for next year? Feel free to share on our discussion board!

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