Classroom Library

I remember in my first year of teaching thinking that books needed to be sorted out and grouped by genre, author, or themes.
It seemed like an impossible tasks, but I saw all these Pinterest teachers doing it, so I figured that was best.

It was honestly a waste of time. All the books were in labeled bins, and it looked neat, but it wasn't very functional. Most students struggled to put books back in their spot despite the logos. They also seemed to not be as interested in the books. I quickly gave up trying to reorganize the books and reteaching how to put books away correctly. Enough time had been wasted on this "classroom library," and so I eventually got rid of the bins. 

I attempted the bins again (without labeling) when I taught third grade for a year. I used small bins to keep ONLY book series together. All other books were stored like books in a normal library.

I've noticed that my students seem more interested in books when all they could see is the binding. There's a sort of exciting mystery to pulling a book out, revealing it's cover, and discovering the genre/theme on your own.

The books in my classroom libraries have been placed in bookshelves in the traditional way with only the binding showing. 

The only books that are kept in bins are the leveled readers and decodable books. This makes it easier for the students and I to find them when working in small groups or when students are assigned to read independently.

So what advice do I have for classroom libraries? Do what feels right for you and your students. Try out different things and see which one is more functional for your classroom. The traditional library works for me. I like that the skills I teach them in finding a book, placing a library slip in its spot, and then putting it back translates to when we are invited to our school library. I also like that books seem to be handled better when they're put away the traditional way versus put away in bins. I noticed my students were lazy in putting books back in bins. It was easy for them to hide the sloppiness behind the book in the front of the bin.