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Friday, March 14, 2008

Resource: Library Book Sales

I'm sure most veteran teachers know this anyway, but libraries are a great way to build up your classroom library. Most libraries have a book sale at least once a year to refine their collection, and sell a lot of books for cheap.

My own library back home (linked here because I am so happy with them right now) has a couple of bookshelves with assorted books for sale throughout the year. The other day, I was browsing through them and found a book on tornadoes, a book on soccer, and two short young adult novels (one historical fiction, one goofy teen plot) for a total of $1.50. They also have a bottom shelf of magazines and sometimes books that are just free for the taking.

I ended up with a huge stack of science reference books. They look old, but in a year and a half, I'll be in my own classroom, and I'd love to have a decent classroom library. For the low cost of free, I couldn't pass these up. I also grabbed a ton of wildlife magazines for free. I can cut out the pictures, I can let the kids cut out the pictures, we can use them as reading material... I couldn't hardly pass them up, either.

Anyway, check with your local library to see if things like this are a possibility for you. And if you manage to make it to a library book sale, here are some tips:
  • Get there early.
    The selection is always better the earlier you get there.
  • Go there late.
    Sometimes at the end of a book sale, libraries will offer 'bag deals' on books that are left over.
  • Join the "Friends of the Library."
    For one, it's not a bad thing to help out an organization that can help you and the community so much. For another, sometimes "Friends" get to go in the sale early!
  • Be polite.
    Seriously, it's just nice- and you're more likely to have fellow patrons treat you with kindness if there happens to be a book scuffle. Bargain shoppers can get fierce.
  • Read through/look through all your books after you buy them.
    It's great to get new books, but there might be something inappropriate for school, or too out-of-date to really be useful. You don't want a kid to take home a novel and bring back a nasty parent letter.
  • Label all books as 'yours'!
    Most libraries will put a "discarded" stamp so that the books are hopefully not returned to the library, but you should also mark books in your classroom library so that parents and students know who the books belong to. After all, what's the use in getting new classroom books if they don't ever come back to the classroom?

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