The one about building your classroom library without breaking the bank

Image: pink piggy bank next to hammer, Text: Building a Classroom Library without breaking the bank!

I’m a bibliophile. I can’t help it. I love books and I’m constantly looking for new ones to add to my classroom library. When I first started teaching, I was given the leftover stack of books from teachers who retired or others who were cleaning out their stash. You know what that means. The books were older or falling apart. Granted, I did find some gems in there, but I knew I needed to build a better collection to inspire my students to become readers. These are my best tips for buying books on a budget.

  1. Thrift shops: Shop Goodwill or other thrift stores to find cheap used books. I once found the entire A Series of Unfortunate Events books! These books are usually only a couple dollars.
  2. Online (Thriftbooks or Ebay): When I was primarily using novels to teach, buying a class set of books would be expensive. I couldn’t afford 30 books at $5 each! Planning in advance, I would search online for lots of books on Ebay. I also found, which is my go to. They offer free shipping if you spend $10, which is easy to do!
  3. Scholastic Books: You’ve probably heard of this one, but Scholastic has the best deals for teachers. They have a lot of $1-2 books that work great for class sets. I bought Frindle and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief as one of their dollar deals. I wasn’t totally sure I wanted to teach them, but the deal was too good. Then I taught both books and loved them! Scholastic also gives you points with your purchases (and the purchases made by students!) which you can use toward more books. #winwin
  4. Public Library: Libraries will sell their older copies of books for cheap. Also, some public libraries have teacher loans. They’ll loan you certain books for double the normal time period (mine is 6 weeks!). This is a great way to snag some themed books or something for a specific topic so students can try them out. I’ve used this program mostly for our research topics, like biographies or animals.
  5. Amazon Wish List: Create a wish list and share with family and friends! Sharing on social media can help too. You never know who will send you a book! This is also a great way to just have a list of titles on hand. I’ve had parents and sometimes my PTA ask if I needed anything for my classroom and I won’t remember what I want. Having a wish list ready means you can request a specific book and you’re ready!

Where is your favorite place to shop for books without breaking the bank?

Looking for book ideas? Check out my Amazon shop or this blog post with must have picture books. I always have book ideas handy. 🙂

P.S. Are you working on building community this year? Try these free morning messages!

Print and Digital Morning Messages

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