Why Classroom Libraries Are Important

Classroom libraries are important because not all schools have a physical library space, students need frequent access to books and they provide a venue for book recommendations. Get the details on these 3 key reasons for creating and maintaining a classroom library space. Suggestions for classroom library set up, maintenance, classroom library organization and book recommendations are provided from the 2 Peas and a Dog blog.

 

Classroom libraries are important. I am one of the co-founders of a Grades 6-12 English Language Arts teachers Facebook group called #2ndaryELA. Several times now members have posted a question about if classroom libraries are still useful. The comment section fills up very quickly with teachers sharing their thoughts on the importance of classroom libraries.
 
I love my classroom library. I have spent a lot of time, energy and money to help make my classroom library as self-sufficient and student-friendly as possible. Classroom libraries are important because not all schools have a physical library space, students need immediate and frequent access to books to encourage reading as well as providing a venue where teachers and students can easily recommend books to each other.

 

With competition for school square footage at a premium today, not all schools have a fully functioning school library. Some libraries have lost their space to accommodate unexpected community growth resulting in classes needing to be held in the library. Other libraries have lost their librarians due to cost cutting measures, or the current educational push to make libraries into Makerspaces or Learning Commons. All of these ideas remove partial or full student access to books. Many of favourite childhood memories involve books. I cannot imagine a future where children are denied access to books.

 

To foster and encourage a love of reading, texts need to be readily accessible to students. Having students wait a week or two for their scheduled class library visit does not meet the needs of all students. Your faster readers will be done their books in days and have nothing new to read if this is the system at your school. Classroom libraries provide students with immediate access to books and keep reading as a class priority.

 

This year my students would actively recommend novels to each other. Sometimes this was done inadvertently when a student would read through lunch prompting other students to inquire why they were reading instead of talking to the group. Other times students openly shared their thoughts and feelings about their novels with the class during class work periods. I developed a classroom community where students felt free to come and ask me for personal book recommendations. I would walk over to my classroom library, ask the student what genre they wanted, and selected several books for them to try. These book recommendations would not have happened if my students did not have daily access to texts.

 

I strongly feel that classroom libraries are essential for all classrooms, not just for English classrooms. Students need to understand that literacy does not end once they walk out of their English classroom’s door. Where I teach in Ontario, Canada some schools do not have subject specialist teachers for middle school classrooms. This means that during my 10-year career I have taught: English, History, Geography, Drama, Dance, Physical Education, Art, Science and Health. I have tried to ensure my classroom library has non-fiction resources that cover most of these topics. Students need to see that books do not always have a story line, and that reading takes on many forms.

Classroom Library Resources

 

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  • Reply
    Unknown
    July 15, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    Wow! Thanks for such a great opportunity to win some books! I would add a few titles from this year's Global Read Aloud. Also, a few new titles for my more reluctant male readers.

  • Reply
    Erin
    July 16, 2017 at 1:10 am

    Classroom libraries are beyond important! My school doesn't have a library and most of my students have limited to no access to communities libraries, so my classroom is it. I've worked really hard to build my library up and it's amazing how much more my students are reading now!

  • Reply
    Laura Callen
    July 16, 2017 at 1:10 am

    So awesome!

  • Reply
    Jana Abston-Tubbs
    July 16, 2017 at 2:27 am

    Since I recent went from teaching 5th grade to teaching 8th grade, I am working to add young adult novel selections including fantasy, sci-for, and romance.

  • Reply
    Garden Full of Knowledge
    July 16, 2017 at 6:07 pm

    Wow, what a fantastic, generous giveaway! I would love to win some of Eric Walters books! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Mrs. Mathis' Homeroom
    July 16, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    What a fantastic blog post and amazing giveaway! I love my classroom library and my students do too. However, it does lack nonfiction material. I can't help myself, I love a good novel, so that's what I tend to buy. If I were to win, that's what I'd like to add to my library.

  • Reply
    Leah Picanco
    July 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    What a fun and generous idea! I would love to add stone John Green titles, get the new Kwame Alexander book and the entire Michael Vey series for my classroom library!

  • Reply
    Unknown
    July 18, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Classroom libraries are such an important part of the classroom setting. This is an awesome opportunity!

  • Reply
    Ursula Gamler
    July 21, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    I totally agree that a classroom library is so very important. I look for books EVERYWHERE!! I am looking to add some Florida State Sunshine Reader Award Books for the 2017-2018 school year. They seem to have a great list each year! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Reply
    Mrs. Gorley
    July 23, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    This is AWESOME! I would LOVE TO LOVE my classroom library. I have a pretty big one and organize it every year but it doesn't seem to matter how much I go through with the kids, my library ends up a mess and books are missing. Don't worry thought, I'm looking to continue this year and try a few new tips I've come across or that have been shared with me.

    I'd like to add more Canadian Authors and more Social Justice type books.

  • Reply
    Unknown
    July 26, 2017 at 12:45 am

    I love books ! I feel like I need a makeover because I need to be current with the times and really add more variety! Thank you for the opportunity

  • Reply
    Colt and Amanda Spezzano
    July 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

    This is such an amazing opportunity. I work in a juvenile detention center and I fought to get a bookcase in my room, had to rearrange an entire classroom to make room. I want to build a culture of reading for these kids who are disengaged from education. I would get high interest books of I were to win. Thank you for the opportunity

  • Reply
    Jana Abston-Tubbs
    July 29, 2017 at 8:30 pm

    Since I recently moved from 5th to 8th grade, I am working to build a young adult library. This summer I have purchased and read many titles ensuring that they are appropriate for my students. I have focused on Sci-fi/fantasy, realistic, and historical fiction.

  • Reply
    Teacher Talk
    July 29, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I want my kids to love reading as much as I do. The only way to do that is to connect them with the right author or right book. So excited about this opportunity.

  • Reply
    Megan
    July 29, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    I have so many books I would like to add to my classroom library, but the number one The Hate U Give. I know my students are going to respond.

  • Reply
    Justin Greene
    July 29, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Great giveaway! I want to diversify my library more so this would definitely help.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Avenir
    July 29, 2017 at 10:29 pm

    I need a lot of help building my classroom library! I've always taught primary grades and this is the first time I'll be teaching middle school (Grade 8). I feel a bit lost with building my classroom library because I'm trying to figure out books that are appropriate for this grade level. All of my books and resources are geared for younger students. This is a great opportunity for me to start building my Grade 8 classroom library and the tips you have on this website will also help me. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Dawn McLay
    July 29, 2017 at 11:23 pm

    I would add Gordon Korman and Andrew Clements to my library… and many more.

  • Reply
    Courtney H
    July 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    I am moving divisions this year and starting from scratch! I would add some high interest nonfiction as well as well as short informational texts!

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