Saturday, July 11, 2015

Library Building on a Budget!

Everyone that knows me, knows I love obsess over a good sale! Why pay more if you don't have too? I use a similar rationale with my school library. If I can get the books cheaper - I'm going to try and go for it because many of the "favorites" cease to return at the end of the year even with my record keeping and stellar accountability system. So, I thought I'd share my top ways to build a library on the cheap!

This seems a little silly but trust me, you need to make a list - favorite authors, genres, titles, etc. Anything you can get down on paper before you hit the store the better. This will help you control some of those impulses scream "Ermaghgerd Books!" and then proceed to buy all books! Here's an example of my list I made for a recent Half Price Book Trip. Before I sat down at thought about author's bins that are overflowing {Gordon Korman} and some that are a little less than flowing {Garth Nix} so I could try and come up with a shopping game plan.

Here's my list:

Make sure you have signed up for mobile coupons or check websites! Half Price Books and Barnes and Noble both offer email coupons to help you save even more. Also, don't forget that many book stores {Half Price and Barnes & Noble, included} offer teacher cards for EXTRA discounts!

Okay, so how do you actually stay on budget when you enter the glorious book store??? GIFT CARDS! This was a fabulous idea brought up by my blogging bestie Lisa from Fourth and Ten! You can buy a VISA giftcard to shop for all your Back to School needs or you can set a book budget. I know it's blasphemy but sometimes you just gotta stick to a budget. This year I saved all my Half Price Cards and Barnes and Noble cards from students and had a pretty decent stash set aside for new books.

Once you're at the store, don't forget to check for a clearance section. This is where I can find some great books for genres or authors on my list. If you have a Half Price Books near by the clearance kid's section is usually less than $3 dollars a book. Usually, the books are $1 a piece! 

Also, if you're an Amazon junkie don't discount the Market Place. I've scored some great books with free prime shipping with little to no damage! I've actually only had one negative Market Place experience in numerous purchases! Half Price Books and Barnes and Noble also have a similar resale market place on their sites!

My Half Price Clearance haul from Friday:
{All books were $1 except Amulet (used 40% off coupon) and Maze Runner $4}

We all have a favorite authors {James Dashner, Roald Smith, Sharon Creech, Kate DiCamillo, Sarah Weeks, Cynthia Lord, Wendy Mass, to name a few} but knowing what's "cool" and what kids are reading is also key. This year I kept track of what books my students were checking out through my reading running record and tracking my Scholastic Book Orders. I also tried to note authors making a comeback like Garth Nix who is now the author of one of the Spirit Animal books. So, finding some of his "other" books keeps kids interested in his work. I also grabbed some Gregor the Overlander books since Hunger Games is still so popular! Many students don't know that Suzanne Collins has other books too!

The Nerdy Book Club is also a great place to go find what other teachers and readers are currently reading and loving!
{My Classroom Library - Read more here}

Hope some of these tips and tricks help you build a stellar classroom library! Building a great library can take time. So, save those Scholastic points, wait for warehouse sales, and use the library as often as possible!

Also, if you're looking for great book bins, Walmart currently has $1 neon crates that make wonderful and sturdy book bins!

How do you build your book collection?


  1. And at Half Price Books, don't forget to use your teacher discount! You get 10% off each entire purchase, and a few times a year, you get 20% off! That discount stacks up nicely with their clearance!! This is one of my weaknesses. I love buying books for my students to read in my library!

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