Setting Up a Classroom Library: Organization & Ideas Video

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  • 0:01 What Is a Classroom Library?
  • 1:00 Placement in the Classroom
  • 2:40 Comfort
  • 4:10 Organization
  • 5:50 What Books?
  • 7:27 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Angela Janovsky

Angela has taught middle and high school English, Business English and Speech for nine years. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology and has earned her teaching license.

All classrooms have different needs, and having a classroom library can be a great way to reach all your students. Watch this video lesson to learn how to set up an effective classroom library.

What Is a Classroom Library?

Having a classroom library can be a great tool in any class and can serve several purposes. First, it can provide a space of limited distraction. Many students find reading nearly impossible if other things are around to distract them. Having an isolated reading space can provide these types of students with an area where they can actually concentrate on reading. Second, providing a classroom library shows your students you value reading. Square footage in classrooms is a high commodity, and providing an area for reading alone indicates the importance of reading.

Lastly, a classroom library can be an area for students to escape from day-to-day school operations. Students go from sitting in one structured classroom to another all day long. Having a space where they don't have to sit in a desk and listen to instruction can provide many students with a reprieve, however brief, from the monotony of a school day.

Keeping these purposes in mind, let's look at some things to consider when setting up your classroom library.

Placement in the Classroom

When planning your classroom library, the first thing you need to consider is placement in the classroom. Remember, this needs to be in an area that provides peace and quiet for ideal concentration. Look around your room and ask yourself, 'What space provides the least amount of distraction?'

The center of the room is perhaps the busiest, so this should definitely not be where a library is placed. The same goes for areas near doors or dry-erase boards. These are high traffic areas that might cause distractions to students trying to read. Instead, choose a spot you can easily turn into its own area. A back corner or far side of the classroom usually is the least distracting area. In addition to providing a quiet space for students, having a library out of the way also allows for more options for you as the teacher. While some students are tucked away reading, you can conduct other lessons or activities with groups in the center of the room.

Once you have found an appropriate space, think about how to separate it from the rest of the class. You should define the space as the library. Obviously, you cannot build new walls, but having a rug or a curtain are great ways to indicate the separation of the space. You can even place bookshelves in specific ways just to seclude the library from the rest of the room. If you have younger grades, also think about if you will ever need room for whole class reading time. If so, a curtain or something easy to move will allow for different activities.

Comfort

The second thing you should think about is to provide comfort, which will be inviting to your students. A comfortable library might be just enough to appeal to students who are reluctant readers. Imagine you are a student sitting in a hard desk day in and day out. But one classroom provides a nice comfy cushion in the corner with fluffy pillows and blankets. Wouldn't you be more tempted to go read a book just so you can get out of the hard desk?

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