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The Teacher Tip

Designing Your Classroom Library

March 12, 2018

Adapted from It’s All About the Books by Tammy Mulligan & Clare Landrigan. 

Elementary classrooms are busy places! The design of the classroom library is critical to the flow of traffic in a classroom and the tone it sets for literacy. We want the classroom library to say, “Come on in—all readers are welcome here!” Ideally we want space for students to gather, talk, swap, and browse. We find it helpful to design the classroom library with sections to support this type of activity. 

When we design classroom libraries, we think about how we can support students in finding books they love and can meaningfully read. When we do this work with our particular readers in mind, and when we are set up to flexibly to meet their changing needs and preferences, the classroom library truly becomes the home of an active reading community. We consider:

  • the location within the classroom
  • traffic patterns in the classroom
  • space for adding or rotating books throughout the year 
  • sections to support instructional model

The size and shape of your classroom will clearly have a big influence on where you put your library. The library should be a central presence, but we also want this space to have a cozy, enclosed feeling. Some teachers like the classroom library to be right in the center, surrounding the meeting area. We love the message this sends when you walk into a classroom: this community is all about reading! 

To learn more about It’s All About the Books, visit 

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