I think for teachers summer can be synonymous with “organization”. Summer epitomizes the time to re-evaluate your teaching approach, your classroom, and your organization techniques. I have a long “to-do” list going [which I will share at a later date]. The current task I am tackling is my book organization.
Being a family childcare provider, my library collection is VAST. I am not providing books to just one age group, I have a mixed age group: Babies to kindergarten. So I have board books, leveled readers, paper back books, hardcover books. In addition, I have resource books for parents, teaching resources, thematic unit books, and my family’s personal books that get thrown in the mix. (Oh, and in case I forget to mention this…I am a HARDCORE book lover…It is a passion. I love the way the pages crinkle, the noise they make. I love when you open a new book and it’s spine cracks. I am even obsessed with the way books smell. I can not get enough of their smell!!!!…(don’t ask I think I am a bit orally fixated yet) Anyways, and it goes without saying I will never get a Kindle because they don’t smell!.
Needless to say, my home is over taken by books. SOOO time to organize. Here is how I am developing my system, and for all you FCCPs, or families with varying ages, I hope you can benefit from this as well.
- Sort your books into categories. I know that seems to be an obvious one, but as a FCCP my books have a tendency to get “mixed” between home & school, and even mixed between my kid’s bedrooms. (my daughter is notorious for taking school books into her room!). Therefore I’ve categorized my school books (you can read about that in #4), and my family’s books. My family’s books are separated & labeled by kids bedrooms. In each bedroom the books are grouped on the shelves by subject matter, and the shelves are labelled. A bit excessive, but necessary in a house over-run by book collections!
- Give each book category a home. If your students understand that books labeled “preschool” belong in the book corner, or books labeled “infants” go in the baby area, then soon you will find that books make their way back to where they came from after travelling with your little readers.
- Separate books you own from books you borrow. Especially when you teach little ones who may not know where the book comes from, books can get misplaced easily! If you have a specific “Library book” station in your school & home, this alleviates some of the many fines that can incur.
- Label your books!!! Book labelling allows you to be in control of your collection. If a book becomes “lost” you can refer to the label to find its home. For books that children use, a picture label can help them to be a part of the process.
All the books I have are being divided and labeled, by the following categories.
- Infant & Toddler Library [Primarily board books and other applicable books that are kept in the baby & toddler area],
- Preschool Library [These are the books that live in the “library corner” of the preschool area],
- Resource Library [books on parenting, children, green living, etc for parents to borrow & read],
- Classroom Library[this category encompasses any books I as a teacher use in my classroom, i.e. strategy books, classroom management, curriculum resource books, etc.].
- Thematic Unit Library [This library houses all the books I use for my yearly themes.] A great labelling system I found for thematic books can be downloaded from Ms. Meacham’s blog: Classroom Snapshots.
- Lending Library The lending library has an entirely separate system for organization. I utilize this as a part of our class reading program. Therefore each book has a lending library label, as well as a book card to keep track of when it leaves the school to go home with a student. The lending library is located near the entrance of the school convenient for family’s to browse during drop-off & pick-ups.
- Family Library as is the nature of FCC, “family owned” books do get mixed with “school books.” The description of this system is in #1.
To date, this is my system. It works well for me, and the daycare kiddos. I’ve thought of creating a database to keep track of all the books I own, like on Library Thing, but this will have to wait until I have more free time!!! I hope you are inspired to tackle your own collections, and I would love to hear more about your own organization tactics.