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How to Grow Your Classroom Library on a Budget

I love having a classroom library for students to choose books from.  But building up a classroom library takes time…and money!  Over the years I've found a few ways to find books for the classroom without breaking the bank!

1. Scholastic Book Orders

Do you send home book orders with your students? If you're not already sending them home, now is the time!!  Click HERE to request what you need to get started!

Scholastic gives you points for every dollar spent each month! With those points you can get free books. That's right, FREE!!! And Scholastic offers a lot of popular books in sets of 6, which are perfect for your small groups! And they always have the best coupons; so, you can not only use your points, but you practically get $10 in free books every month. I have used Scholastic book orders over the years to really build my classroom library as well as my small sets of books! They also allow parents to order right online, which is so convenient & the kids love when book orders come in. There are also $1 books each month, which helps to build your library too.  Scholastic always sends a few extra book orders too (okay, sometimes it gets excessive) but I love to use the extras to teach lessons on genre or summarizing.

If you're new and just signing up, ask a teacher friend for their referral code. They'll receive points for referring you. And then you can reach out to others to tell them how amazing book orders are & use your own referral code!

You can grab a free “teacher recommendation” sheet below to send home with some of your favorite books offered each month.  You can write on the slip before copying them or personalize for each student.

2. Garage Sales

During the summer, get out those classified ads and check for garage sales! Many times, right in the ad, you will find that  it states that it is a retiring teacher having the garage sale. I have hit the book (and storage bin) jackpot at retiring teacher garage sales.   Also, check for local virtual garage sales on Facebook and the Facebook Marketplace as well.  Parents with children that are older may be looking to clear out old books too.

3. Good Will

If you find a “good” good will, you may hit the jackpot again. But, it's hit or miss so it doesn't hurt to call ahead if there's a particular book or genre you are looking for.

4. Thrift Books

I heard about Thriftbooks from Katie @teachruncreate on Instagram. Thriftbooks is a site with cheap new and used books as well as free shipping on any order over $10. This site is perfect for small sets of books for small groups too.

5. Buy/Sell/Trade Facebook Groups

Are you in a BST teacher group for your area on Facebook? You can ask for titles you are looking for and hopefully someone in your area will have what you need!! You can trade if you have something you are looking to get rid of or just buy at a cheap price.  

6. Local Libraries

Check with your local library to see if they are getting rid of books or having a book sale.  Our library has small book sales and even has a section to trade books where you can leave old books and find new ones.  You can leave books that you've read and grab books for your classroom.

7. Parents and Students

Let parents know that you are working to grow your classroom library.  They may have books that their child has read and are ready to pass on or they may be willing to donate through book orders.

8. Amazon Wishlist

Create an Amazon Wishlist of books that you know your students will love.  When it comes time for the holidays or end of the year gifts, parents can purchase gift cards or books to help grow your library.

It takes time to grow your classroom library, but you can do so without breaking the bank for books.  Work on finding out the type of books your students like and each year you will find your library (and your book loving teacher heart) become fuller.

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Happy Teaching!

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