If you haven't checked it out, I'm guest blogging for Natalie over at Teachery Tidbits today while she is visiting Japan! (How cool is that? I feel famous!) If you're visiting from Natalie's blog, welcome! I hope you'll look around and consider following me!
Make sure you hop over to Teachery Tidbits to read my tips for making the most out of Scholastic Book Clubs, and see how I got ALL the books below for my classroom (26 popular books!) for FREE!
As a new teacher, I am still working hard to build my classroom library, and Scholastic Book Orders do help, but I'm always on the lookout for cheap books! Another place I've had great luck finding books is at the public library! Of course, borrowing books is great- but I'm talking about library book sales.
I'm sure most veteran teachers know this anyway, but most libraries have a book sale at least once a year to refine their collection, and sell a lot of books for cheap. (Student teachers, it's never too early to start looking!)
My own library back "home" has a couple of bookshelves with assorted books for sale throughout the year. A few years ago, when I was still in college, I was browsing through them and found a book on tornadoes, a book on soccer, and two short young adult novels (one historical fiction, one goofy teen plot) for a total of $1.50. They also have a bottom shelf of magazines and sometimes books that are just free for the taking.
I ended up with a huge stack of science reference books. They look old, but for the low cost of free, I couldn't pass these up. Later, I'd love to get some newer ones- but for a new teacher, they're a great starter set.
I also grabbed a ton of wildlife magazines for free. I can cut out the pictures, I can let the kids cut out the pictures, we can use them as reading material... I couldn't hardly pass them up, either. (Just make sure you look through them first. Sometimes nature magazines include, uh, the *facts of life* that aren't exactly 2nd grade appropriate.)
The last time I went to a book sale, a week or two ago, I came home with all of these books for less than 7 dollars:
My class was thrilled to find new non-fiction books, a graphic novel, more books in the Boxcar Children series, and some American girl books, too. And the best part? Children's books were twenty-five cents each. Even those books that weren't in great shape were worth spending a quarter on.
Check with your local library to see if they sell books at occasional sales or throughout the year. And if you manage to make it to a library book sale, here are some tips:
- Get there early.
The selection is always better the earlier you get there.
- Go there late.
Sometimes at the end of a book sale, libraries will offer 'bag deals' on books that are left over. My library offered a paper shopping bag of books for $3.00.
- Join the "Friends of the Library."
For one, it's not a bad thing to help out an organization that can help you and the community so much. For another, sometimes "Friends" get to go in the sale early!
- Be polite.
Seriously, it's just nice- and you're more likely to have fellow patrons treat you with kindness if there happens to be a book scuffle. Bargain shoppers can get fierce. (Also, book sales are usually run by volunteers, who might also be the grandma of one of your students. Thank goodness I wasn't a jerk!)
- Mention that you're a teacher.
Of course, book sales are a fundraiser for the library, so they may not give you any more of a deal. Mine didn't, but I figure that it never hurts to casually say the books are for your classroom, just in case!
- Read through/look through all your books after you buy them.
It's great to get new books, but there might be something inappropriate for school, or too out-of-date to really be useful. You don't want a kid to take home a novel and bring back a nasty parent letter.
- Label all books as 'yours'!
Most libraries will put a "discarded" stamp so that the books are hopefully not returned to the library, but you should also mark books in your classroom library so that parents and students know who the books belong to. After all, what's the use in getting new classroom books if they don't ever come back to the classroom?
I love seeing my class fill their new book boxes with books they can't wait to read! Do you have other tips for building a classroom library for cheap as a new teacher?
P.S.-- Happy Easter!!! Be sure to check back soon. I have a mini-giveaway planned for when I hit 100 followers!