We are Magnificently Confused and other names for book shelves

I have a lot of bookshelves and a lot of books. I have a relationship with my classroom


some of my current shelves

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.


sports and war books need a taller shelf

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

Burning Bridges

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

Detecto Mysterioso

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!


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10 thoughts on “We are Magnificently Confused and other names for book shelves

  1. […] We are Magnificently Confused and Other Names for Bookshelves. […]


  2. englishbeat2 August 16, 2017 at 4:08 pm Reply

    I am so glad that I found this blog post!! I read it in June, and just spent the last hour…thinking WHERE did I see that amazing posts on creative ways to label the class library?? !!! Can’t wait to get started with this!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy Rasmussen August 16, 2017 at 4:16 pm Reply

      Yay! Glad you find the post helpful. I’ve had to change rooms, and thus, move all my books! Still working to sort and label myself. Makes me excited to share great books with kids again this year. Wishing you all the best in the coming school year!


  3. Amy Estersohn June 14, 2017 at 11:15 am Reply

    Do you kiss with eyes open or closed? = How I know you don’t teach middle school!

    I also micro genre my classroom library the way you do, but with much smaller bins.

    I would add shelf like, “So you think YOUR parents are bad?”

    My most popular shelf by far is the all-time favorites bin. I do try to make my library navigable for the kid who just wants to try *a* book and needs a little steering.


  4. Emily June 13, 2017 at 3:43 pm Reply

    A few of my shelf labels that I was particularly proud of were “Good Friends Are Hard to Find,” “So You Want to Be An Action Hero,” and “Being a Teenager is Good/Bad/Weird.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy Rasmussen June 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm Reply

      My students will love those. Thanks for the suggestions!


  5. Stephanie McCabe June 13, 2017 at 10:30 am Reply

    I’m packing up my books today and left the Realistic Fiction for last — I always have so much trouble categorizing them. So when I Googled my problem but couldn’t find what I was looking for, I came here. And, voila!! Just what I needed to get my juices flowing. Thanks!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy Rasmussen June 13, 2017 at 9:31 pm Reply

      Once you get settled, I hope you will share the categorizes you decide on.


  6. mrsturnerblog June 13, 2017 at 7:26 am Reply

    Now I want you to come and organize my books, too! That’s on my “to do” list this summer. I may steal some of your labels.

    “It’s Going to Break Your Heart”–
    Fault in Our Stars
    All the Bright Places
    This is Where It Ends
    Whale Talk

    “Making Myself Into a Hero”–
    North of Beautiful
    I’m Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl
    The Testing/Independent Study/Graduation Day
    The Hate U Give

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amy Rasmussen June 13, 2017 at 9:34 pm Reply

      Oh, no! I do not have all of these titles! My book buying habit is a really big problem. Haha.


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