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Building a Classroom Library

Let's face it, purchasing books for a classroom can be ex.pen.sive.  Most schools require the teacher to provide a majority of the books for their classroom.  We want quality books for our students to read, but they can cost up to $25 each!  Is it possible to create a classroom library on a budget?

You don’t need to break the bank to fill your classroom bookshelves with quality reading material for your students. These are some ideas for organizing your class library for cheap!

The answer is YES!  I just added over 100 books to my classroom library for less than $25 total.  Let me show you how.

Scholastic is a wonderful resource.  I send home book orders with my students every month, along with a parent letter.  Parents can order books online (with a credit card) or send in an order form (with a check).  I usually send a variety of three different book orders home with the students, depending on what Scholastic sends me that month.  Usually there is a combination of non-fiction, grade-level and seasonal orders.  

Every time a parent places an order, the teacher receives bonus points.  These points can be used to purchase books or materials for the classroom.  You can also earn book coupons when parents place an order online.  The student receives a coupon too!  Scholastic also offers specials each month, sometimes offering free books.  How awesome is that?  Even if you don't earn bonus points or free books, you can still get some pretty good deals from the company.

I received free books for ordering before the end of the month and also used bonus points and coupons.  I spent $0 on more than 40 brand new books!

Another place to purchase books for cheap are book sales.  I use Book Sale Finder to search for those happening in my state or nearby.  Most of the book sales near me are located at neighborhood libraries.  The books are gently used library books or books donated by the community.  More often than not, they are in very good shape.  The children's books are usually 25 cents each.  I always go the first day of the sale in order to choose from a wide variety of books.  I walked out with 35 books for only $8.00 this weekend!

Another great place to grab books is a yard sale.  Oftentimes, they are selling books that their grown kids don't read anymore.  Sometimes, you'll hit the jackpot and stumble upon a yard sale of a former teacher!  Once you find books at a yard sale, make sure they are in good condition and aren't smelly or moldy from being in a basement.  Also, don't be afraid to bargain!  Most people are willing to give you a better price if you explain that they are for a classroom.  I purchased over 40 hardcover books for less than $15.  This set is worth over $400!

Lastly, check your local thrift stores.  Not all stores sell books, but some have quite a collection!  I like to visit Savers.  Again, always make sure the books are not moldy or dusty.  In my experience, the thrift stores are a bit more expensive than a yard sale or library book sale.  The books range from 30 cents to $1 per book.  Still a lot cheaper than a book store!

I know how important it is to put books in our students' hands, but also how hard it can be to afford a classroom library.  Hopefully you can now fill yours up with wonderful books for your kids!


  1. I LOVE book club - I always buy up big with teacher resources, book gifts for friends as well as books for my classroom! Scholastic is amazing!

    Teaching Maths with Meaning

  2. Great ideas to get books into the classroom library. I got LOTS of my classroom books through Scholastic. When I moved from 4th to 2nd, I also bought several "lots" of books from Ebay. A lot of times it ended up being less than a quarter per book and I got some great titles and added several series to my library that way.

    One, Two, Three: Math Time


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