Saturday, June 16, 2012

Classroom Library Company- my review, part 1

Well, I definitely feel like I've made it to the big time.

I posted a couple of weeks ago about organizing my classroom library, and within a day or two, I was contacted by the Classroom Library Company. (No, I don't have some big *secret*- not sure how he found my little corner of Internet!)

At first, I thought it was just spam. But, as I pointed out to my husband, it takes a pretty dedicated spammer if they take the time to create a company website and get 900 connections on LinkedIn.

Yup, that's my response to an offer for free stuff- get paranoid and become a stalker.

But don't worry- Classroom Library Company checked out!

When I opened the box... here's what I saw! (It was packed neater before I tore into it!)

First of all, you know how excited I was to get my book boxes a few months ago. But as cute as they look, I'm really worried that they're not going to hold up.
Thin cardboard has lasted well for two and a half months, and if I'm lucky, they'll make it through this coming year, but at some point, I'd love to invest in some nice, sturdy plastic book boxes for my students.

These would totally fit the bill.

Look at how much they can hold! I did open them at home, so my children's book supply here was limited. Still, this even fit my biggest book (a children's book by Donald Driver, my faaavorite Packers player!), so this would fit picture books as well as chapter books or leveled readers! It even easily fits a large notebook, so I know my students' reading workshop notebook would fit perfectly to keep all of their reading tools together.

And look at the design. Clean, simple, attractive, and yet- sturdy, thick plastic that kids won't ever be able to destroy will take a very long time to destroy. (Kids have amazing destructive powers. I'm not sure I trust ANYTHING to stand up to them forever!)

I'm excited to use this to hold my copies of guided reading books by my reading table! (At least until I save up a bit for a whole class set of book boxes!)

And I can group those books together using the book band they sent me.

The lens cap is there for a sense of scale. This thing is THICK.

So thick that it can tightly stretch over books without causing any damage to their edges. This will be perfect for keeping sets of books together so I don't lose them.

And in case you're looking for a basket, instead of a vertical book box, check out these.

 They are such a great book size- wonderful for setting up your library!- and look at these sturdy handles.

Holds plenty of books- even the big ones!

And that's not all- they also sent everything in this thick, double-layered cardboard box.

And check out the label:

This company has book collections, and-

wait for it-

they all come already sorted, labeled by level, and shipped in these boxes. So if you don't have the budget yet for their adorable baskets (or the other kinds of library storage you can find on their website), you will have nice cardboard boxes that match and are ready to slide onto your bookshelves.

 Oh, you don't have bookshelves? You can buy shelving meant to PERFECTLY fit these boxes.

After spending hours reorganizing my library, how could I not appreciate a company that makes a ready-to-use classroom library? *swoon*

Can you imagine the possibilities for a grade level or whole school to get a custom library that's easy to set up and share? They have a form just for "designing your own library," based on your needs... I can see the grant application already!

And for those books that you already have in your library, before you found the Classroom Library Company? They've got you covered. You can easily (and cheaply) print custom labels for the books you already have, using their Book Retriever website and app!

And, that app? I am so excited to have an iPhone or iPad and get to try it out, because it's good for more than just labels.

Look at these screenshots- doesn't it look easy to use? You can check books in and out, check on what individual students are reading, look for books that are the correct level for your group, and even see which books are most popular in your library right now.

How great would this be to let students check books out in your classroom library? I'd feel so much more comfortable letting kids borrow my books and take them home if I had this kind of easy record. Maybe I can even let my classroom librarian (after a little training) check books in and out for me with the iPad.

It's just 99 cents, and for me, anything that helps with classroom library organization... SO worth it!

Okay- as amazing as this stuff is, I still have more things to share about this company. I spent a ridiculous amount of time flipping through their catalog having Total Library Envy, and after a special Father's Day post tomorrow, I'll share some of my favorite catalog offerings (and a few more little things they sent me!)

If you just can't wait for the rest of my review, check out the Classroom Library Company website. They're a new company, so the website specifics aren't all quite there yet- but check out the interactive catalog and I am sure you will be as impressed as I am!

*For the record, Classroom Library Company did send me free products, but didn't require that I review them (although Ben did say he'd appreciate it!) I am posting this review (and the next one) because I really think the products and services are quality, and worth sharing to other teachers!


  1. How fabulous?!? A library makeover is my biggest project for this summer. I'm looping up with my kiddos so I need to get it ready for 2nd graders! :) As for the book boxes {from IKEA?} I have those now...and the cardboard is falling apart. They served their purpose for a few months but I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and spend a few bucks to get something sturdier for my kiddos. Thanks for sharing, I'll definately check out this website!

    The Learning Tree

    1. Yup, they're from IKEA! That's what I'm worried about- that they won't hold up long-term. This company also has a 30% discount off of the 'list price' for every order, so make sure you keep that in mind as you look!

  2. It looks like they have great stuff! Organizing my classroom library is my favorite thing to do!

    Sara :)
    Smiling In Second Grade

  3. Thanks for sharing this. It looks like this company has a lot a great items.


  4. Looks just like Christmas in your classroom with all of your goodies! What fun!
    Conversations in Literacy


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