I have a lot of bookshelves and a lot of books. I have a relationship with my classroom
library like many drivers have with their cars. I shine it up and keep it running smoothly. I love the new book smell.
Quite often someone asks about how I organize my library. Very carefully. When I know which shelves hold which books, I can more easily match books to readers. Shelf labels matter.
The labels on my shelves do a couple of things: They help me know what holds what, but more importantly, these labels serve to pique curiosity and press readers to explore.
When you get to know a lot of books, you realize that most books may sit comfortably on several shelves, especially if we sort them by topic or theme and not just genre. Sometimes I group the same copies of specific books together, and sometimes I break the sets a part to put on separate shelves.
When school returns in August, I will be in a new classroom. A different classroom. That means that my hundreds of books had to move down the stairs and down the hall. Now those boxes wait for when I have time. I’m going to need a lot of time.
I am thinking about how I want to organize my shelves in this new learning space — maybe two reading nooks instead of one, fewer books on the lowest shelves? more intriguing labels on more shelves with the hope of inviting more readers?
I’m thinking for sure on that last one: changing up the category labels on the shelves. I could use your help here. I think it would be fun to be clever, but clever is hard for me.
So far, I’ve read through a ton of quotes on books and reading, and pulled phrases for shelf labels I think will work for most of the books in my library.
Here’s what I have so far:
Born into Chaos
Clapping for the Wrong Reasons
Gracefully Insane (or Close to It)
Black Sheep Own the World
You Cant Just Get Over It
Holding Close My Secrets
Making Myself into a Hero
Stop Reminding Me I Need a Life
Do You Kiss with Eyes Open or Closed?
You Just Can’t Get Over It
The Present Hides the Past
History is Herstory, too
History: Echoes Heard & Unheard
The Edge of Possibility
Foul Play (and other sports stories)
A Likely Story
It’s Going to Break Your Heart
Using My Life as a Lesson
We are Magnificently Confused
What labels would you add?
And the question of the hour: What high-interest books would you put on these shelves?
Amy Rasmussen lives in north Texas and teaches AP English Language and English 4 (new prep in the fall). She loves talking books, daughters’ weddings (two this year), and grandbabies. She also loves facilitating PD for other teachers making the move into a workshop pedagogy because it keeps her focused on her own improvement. Amy adheres to the words of Emerson: “We aim above the mark to hit the mark,” and Jesus: “Love one another.” Imagine a world if we all aim higher. Follow Amy on Twitter @amyrass. And she’d love it if you follow this blog!