Starting your first classroom library with used children’s books

Preparing your first classroom for the arrival of your students is an exciting time in your teaching career. The library is one of the most important segments of your classroom and can also be the most expensive.  If you are like most teachers, there is not a large source of funds to work with, whether you are using school funds or money from your own pocket.

When planning your classroom library, choose used children’s books to save money.  To start, aim for 10-15  books per student providing a balance of fiction and non-fiction books.  Provide books that reflect the range of reading levels for the grade that is being taught so your children will have a wide variety of choices within their reading level range. Your collection of used children’s books should offer a nice variety of older classics along with newer published books. Having complete series of popular children’s literature will assure that when your student finishes a book from the series, he will have access to the next book in the series. You might wish to have more than one complete series of the most popular sets.

Now the time has finally come! Actually purchasing your books is the fun part! There are many inexpensive places to buy used children’s books, which will free up some of your funds for other classroom projects.

1) Many garage sales have books that have been outgrown and are ready to pass on to others at a reasonable price. This is a good source of books, especially if you live in a warm climate, but is a seasonal option for those who live in colder areas.

2) Library book sales are another place to find used children’s books for your classroom.  Check your newspaper or library web site to find sales near you. Many large libraries have a sale in the spring and another in the fall. You will find discontinued library books and donated books by library patrons. many of these books will have library markings but are still quite readable.

3) For an economical way to stock your classroom library with a wide variety of books of your choice is to buy used children’s books, in great condition, on eBay. You can choose and order the exact books or series that you want in your classroom library without waiting for them to appear at a garage sale or library sale. Most sellers use media rate shipping, for books, from the United States postal service, which keeps shipping costs down, thus keeping total costs of your classroom library to a minimum. Also, most eBay sellers combine shipping costs when you purchase more than one set of books. This is another way to save money when you buy used children’s books on eBay.

4) Though not inexpensive, both new and used children’s books can be purchased on Amazon. This might be an option when you need just a book or two to fill out a series. Unfortunately, shipping is usually a big expense as, in many instances, the shipping is as much as the cost of the book!

Buying used children’s books for the teacher’s classroom library can be a fun and rewarding endeavor for the lover of kid’s books. Now that you have amassed the information you need to help you start your first classroom library, enjoy the experience and happy book shopping!


Leave a Reply