Building Class Libraries

Do you scroll through beautiful classroom library pictures on social media pages and think, "HOW did they purchase all of those books? "WHERE did they get all of them?" And my personal favorite, "HOW can they afford that?!"

I know I panicked when I went from kindergarten to second grade a few years ago. I had no idea how I was going to build a classroom library without going broke. The year I transferred into second was a crazy year. Now wait, before you think big deal let me explain.

The year I moved into second, I moved houses Labor Day weekend. I got pregnant with my second son and I am sick ALL NINE MONTHS. My district closed 2 elementary buildings and my building had to move halfway through the year. We were supposed to move at Christmas, so I packed. We didn't move until February so I taught from boxes for 2 months. Once we moved, I had 2 days to unpack and set up a new classroom.

Yep. Told ya it was a crazy year!!

Ok, back to that library business. That year I had a wonderful parent who had 10 boxes of books and magazines delivered to my classroom. I remember standing in the door when the custodian delivered them saying, "These are all for me?!"

What happened was this parent went to the thrift store frequently and kept finding books she thought I would enjoy. She said she knew I purchased most of my own things and she thought this would help build a library for the kids.

Can I tell you I sat down and cried? I couldn't believe it. I never had a parent show so much generosity to me in my career. She got it. She knew I worked hard to make my classroom the best I could for my students but did a lot out of my own pocket.

After finding out thrift stores were a hidden gem for school supplies, I am a frequent flier. This week alone I was there twice and in just those two trips I bought nearly 80 {Yes, I said EIGHTY} books. Today, I spent nearly $70 but I did buy a few other things also. Most books are marked between 0.25 -1.99. You just have to read the signs. You can tell how long the book has been there by the date on the sticker. Sometimes if the book has been there for a while, the store will clearance the item.

This particular trip I scored over 20 books, a puzzle, a dvd, and the crate that is in the background for under $20!!

Each time I go I'm not always lucky. Sometimes I find a bunch. Other times I walk out without buying a single item. The key is to go frequently, park yourself on the floor, and dig through piles of things. I have several hundred books for my kids to use and very few of them were purchased outside a thrift store.

Many retired teachers will donate their classroom libraries over the summer so be sure to check back EVERY WEEK!!

One of my favorites is Goodwill. They have great employment programs for kids with special needs which is one reason I support them. {I am simply stating my opinion and am not being paid/endorsed by Goodwill or any other thrift store.}

Sometimes you will find many books that are on the same theme. This trip I found so many non-fiction books that I plan on throwing into writing centers that were all around $0.50-1.00 each!!

So my question is, is there enough gas in the car to find the nearest thrift store?? Check back and let me know what you find!! I LOVE a good deal:)

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