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Topic: How did you build your classroom library?

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Subject: How did you build your classroom library?
Date Posted: 5/23/2012 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2011
Posts: 1
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Hello! I'm I preservice teacher preparing for my senior year of school. I've been trying to start building a classroom library, since I feel it's important to have a variety of books to offer my students. Anyways, I was hoping some of you teachers might have tips for how you got your books. I only have about 250 right now, it's hard trying to afford books when your living on a college budget so hopefully some of you have great suggestions for helping me continue to build my collection!

AmiSue -
Date Posted: 5/24/2012 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 11/19/2008
Posts: 53
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Hi Alexis,

I just finished my teacher training in December, so I understand how hard it is to build your library with limited means!

I have frequented the Friends of the Library sale room.  I have never spent more than $3 at a time and come away with between 20-30 books!  Generally, the condition of the books is very good.  The hardbacks are library bindings, which hold up very well, and many of the paperbacks have been bound with a plastic coating.  I can generally remove any library stickers that are on the books, but I figure that the kids won't be that bothered if I don't.  

I also look here on PBS for deals.  I will usually try to find ones that are at least 3 for 1.  And, just recently, I used half.com's free shipping.  They will take off up to $25 in shipping fees from one order that is over $10.  I found many books that were between .75 and 1.50. Most of the shipping charges are $3.99, but do vary. I think I ended up buying 9 books.  Most of these books are specific books that I have been trying to find for a while.

I keep track of my books on LibraryThing.com.

Good luck building your library!  


Last Edited on: 5/24/12 2:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/29/2012 1:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 1,579
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I have taught for many many years and have 1000's of books in my room even though I have changed grades several times.  I have found a lot of the books at yard sales and flea markets.  A lot of times if you tell them you are a teacher getting books for your classroom, a good deal is offered.  I have gotten as many as 20 books for $1.00.  Just be sure to check out the books before you purchase them.

I also go to Goodwill on the markdown day, which is Sunday here.  The books are usually between 30 and 50 cents each. 

Parents of my students have also donated books that their family has outgrown throughout the years.

Good luck in your teaching career.

Date Posted: 5/31/2012 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2009
Posts: 35
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I don't know where you live but you might want to check for library book sales around you here http://www.booksalefinder.com/    I'm not a teacher but I buy books for the patients at the  hospital where I work. 

Usually on the second or third day of the sale you can get a bag of books for anywhere from $2-$5.  Last weekend I went to a booksale during the bag sale and bought three bags of books, one of paperback westerns, one of large print books, and one of children's books.  All the books were in very good condition and the cost to me was under $10 for well over 200 books.

The nice thing about the listings on the above link is that they tell you when the bag sales start (if the sale has one).  I've even seen some sales that give books away to teachers.

Date Posted: 6/4/2012 1:37 AM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2012
Posts: 3
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My library is slowing growing through Scholastics and used book stores. Scholastics Book Club offers great bonus programs to help teachers build a library. 



Date Posted: 6/4/2012 1:38 AM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2012
Posts: 3
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My library is slowing growing through Scholastics and used book stores. Scholastics Book Club offers great bonus programs to help teachers build a library. 



Date Posted: 6/10/2012 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2009
Posts: 2,371
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I wouldn't call myself a "veteran teacher" just yet (just finished 1th year) but my sources to keep my shelves stocked are

*thrift stores - I usually hit the "junkier" ones since books seem to be priced lower.  Also two I frequent have a "teacher discount" day

*yard sales

*swapmeets - at one there is a book lady who shows up and sells her books at 50 cents each.  Last time I went I left with 3 huge totes full of books.  

*Library - my local library has a nice FOL book store - I am signed up to recieve their emails.  Last time they had a 10 for $2 sale on children's books I had to have help to my car

*Scholastic - if the kids place orders I earn free books.  Also see if there is a Scholastic Warehouse Sale in your area.  I think the next one is around June 23rd.  I live by two locations that do "build a box" - you pay $25 for a box and you can stuff it with as many books as you can fit.  I was able to get some class sets this way and also books I give away as gifts.

Date Posted: 8/4/2012 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2006
Posts: 1,241
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I'm with the others: yard sales, Goodwill, etc. I joined Literary Guild and used my starter books to get some newer hardbacks that I wanted. I am just going in to my 2nd year teaching HS English. I told my students if they had books sitting in closets they wanted to clean out to let me know. I had one or two just donate  a really good book so in the front I put "Donated by ___ Class of __" They got a kick out that so some more said they were going to clean out over the summer and bring me some. We'll see.

Date Posted: 8/5/2012 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/29/2007
Posts: 1,820
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Friends of the Library bookstore at my local library!!  Also, look at scholastic book clubs. They have great deals for teachers, and they regularly have teacher book fairs set up in hotels!

Date Posted: 8/31/2012 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 63
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Our school does a PTA sponsered book drive every fall--it kicks off at the PTA ice cream social and continues for two weeks.  Collection bins are placed at the main entrances and everyone is encourged to donate gently used/new books appropriate for school.  This has been quite successful and most teachers end up with some new additions for the shelves.