Thursday, January 17, 2013

My Classroom Library

I've been collecting books for my future classroom library for a while.  It's been going on for at least 4 years.  Most came from used book stores or used book sales.  If you're a new teacher, and you don't feel like getting up at 4 in the morning on a Saturday to rush the Half Price Books free-for-teachers warehouse ("ain't nobody got time for that"), then you need to know when the libraries around you are having their used book sales.  If you're not already acquainted, let me introduce www.booksalefinder.com.  This is a great starting point, especially if you're new to your area.  Libraries run reports of books that are out of date and haven't been checked out in a long time, and they they sell them off to make room on the shelves for new books.  School districts do this in their libraries too.

Another huge part of my collection has come from Scholastic Book Fairs.  Yes, I do buy a few at the actual school book fair, but do you know what happens to the books that don't get sold?  Scholastic holds warehouse sales and you can get the books for up to 50% off the cover price.  Like the Half-Price warehouse, this is for educators only.  If you pre-register for the sale, you get a coupon.

One more major factor is Kohls.  They have a charity called "Kohls Cares for Kids", and they partner up with different authors to sell the author's books and coordinating stuffed animals for $5, and all the money goes to the charity.  Sometimes, when they've moved on to a new author but still have some of the previous author's books/animals left, they will sell them on the Kohls website for $2.50 a piece.  They've had some great author partnerships - Laura Numeroff (If You Give A...), Dr. Seuss, and even the author of the Skippyjon Jones books, Judy Schachner.  When I found out they had Skippyjon books I went a little bit nuts with excitement.  I don't always buy the animals too, but sometimes I do because they make good "Reading Buddies" for use with younger grades.

There is a small slice of the pie that is books that people have given me and books that I bought for full retail price (minus a Barnes & Noble Membership and the accompanying coupons), and even a slice that is books that I bought when certain bookstores were closing down.  Those Borders everything-must-go sales were an adrenaline rush.  I felt like a heel taking pleasure in the downfall of a company, but MAN did I get some great deals.

"So, Wendy, how many books do you have in your library?" (I'm interviewing myself)

Well, that's a great question.  I just finished organizing them, a process which I talk about here, and I can tell you that I have 549 books.

FIVE HUNDRED.  FORTY NINE.  I have a sickness.

That does not include the following:  books on tape, books that come with CDs/tapes, reference materials (dictionaries, thesauri, etc...) OR a large collection of Sesame Street Library books that I've been holding on to since my youth.  This is plain and simple picture and chapter books.

"Do you regret a collection that big?" 

Heck no!  I love to read. As a kid, I would have rather read than gone outside.  I would have rather read than watched TV.  If there is one thing I would love for my students to love, it's reading.  So I'm going do whatever I can to make that happen.

"Well, do you have any favorites?"

I'm glad you asked.  Yes, there are books that I own multiple copies of (in fact it is my goal to have a class set of The Phantom Tollbooth), and books that I love more than others.  Here are a few, in no particular order except the first one:

1. The Phantom Tollbooth
2. Matilda
3. Ella Enchanted
4. Any of the Eloise books
5. Any of the Skippjon Jones books
6. Books by Mo Willems
7. American Girl books
8. A Series of Unfortunate Events (have you read these?  The vocabulary alone is superb!)
9. Roald Dahl
10. Shel Silverstein

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