Five Ways Teachers Can Get Free Books for the Classroom Library

HOW TO GET FREE CLASSROOM LIBRARY BOOKS

Does the idea of a huge collection of classroom library books all neatly sorted into colorful baskets with different labels make your heart skip a beat? The goal for most teachers is to build a large classroom library. Teachers want to offer budding readers a variety of genres, titles and topics to choose from….and that is a wonderful thing. The problem is that school budgets rarely provide enough classroom library books and the responsibility falls on the teacher to fill the shelves with books.
This post will share five tips on how to get free books for classroom libraries.



1. MAKE THE MOST OF BOOK CLUB ORDER CATALOGS:
Teachers can earn free books by accumulating points when their students order books from those colorful catalogs. They are a great opportunity to acquire new copies of recently published books as well as some classic titles as well. Because of the way the points typically multiply as your order total goes up (i.e. order $50.00 and get 2x the bonus points, order $75.00 and get 3X the bonus points) it is extremely beneficial to optimize your sales. 
While you do not want families to overextend their budgets, there are plenty of parents who aren’t ordering books simply because the catalog gets lost in the shuffle of all the papers that come home from school. With today’s busy lifestyles it is not uncommon for the order forms to land in the recycling bin.
You can solve this problem by attaching purposeful learning activities to the forms as homework. I’ve created a set of Book Order Activity Pages that greatly increase the amount of bonus points teachers earn. I regularly used them to practice math and writing skills using the book order catalogs. By encouraging the parents to put their eyes on the order form and providing students with an engaging activity that caused them to look beyond the plastic toys and current pop star posters that sometimes appear in the catalog the number of orders increased dramatically and I earned so many free classroom library books as a result.
{Click to Access and Download the Book Order Activity Pages}
2. ASK FORMER STUDENTS TO DONATE BOOKS
Reach out to your alumni and ask them to keep you in mind when they are cleaning out their rooms and bookshelves at home. Because these books are coming from their home libraries they will typically be recent titles in excellent condition. Be sure to mail a hand-written thank you card to any student who donates.
3. ASK FOR FREE CLASSROOM LIBRARY BOOKS ON SOCIAL MEDIA
I can guarantee there is at least one mom on your Facebook friends list that is overwhelmed with the clutter in her home and would love nothing more than to pass on a box full of books to you.
4. ASK FOR DONATIONS
Set up a wish list on Amazon so people can purchase books for you to use at school. Donors Choose is also a very popular option. Again take to social media to share your request and ask that even if people aren’t able to donate they help your students by spreading the word and sharing your post.
5. RESPOND TO YARD SALE POSTS ON CRAIGSLIST 
Stalk Craigslist or a similar site for yard sales in your area. Find the ones that mention children’s items because most likely if they are selling toys and games for the age level you teach they will also have books to get rid of. Explain that you are a teacher building your classroom library and ask simply that they consider you if there happen to be any left over books when the sale is over.
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By the way, if you are not already subscribed to The Clutter-Free Classroom newsletter I encourage you sign up. Subscribers receive weekly tips for organizing and managing a classroom as well as exclusive free printables. You can sign up here.


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