Cheap (and free!) Ways to Build Your Classroom Library


Image of a Children's Library. To the left is the title: Cheap (and free!) Ways to Build Your Classroom Library

One of my most daunting tasks as a new teacher was finding books to fill my classroom. I was already footing the bill for SO MANY classroom supplies. Not to mention I was newly graduated, newly married, and paying for certification tests/fees. Oh and did I mention I hadn't started working or getting paid yet??

After all that, building my library was an expense for which I didn't have the money. If you are like me, you may be looking for FREE and CHEAP books for your classroom. In this list I've compiled some of the best ways to find quality texts!

Image of elementary level picture books in a classroom library book bin

1. Just ASK

My #1 tip for finding books is extremely simple. Just ASK for them. Make it known that you are a teacher looking for classroom books. There are many many people out there looking to de-clutter and help you at the same time. 

I would ask on social media, neighbors, local libraries, current/past parents of your students, family members, etc. You will be shocked by how many people give away books their children have outgrown. Make your needs known so you can receive help!

**Along the same lines, many teachers in your building are also looking to declutter their classrooms. Send out a building wide email with your need and fellow teachers will share!**

2. Public Library

Going along with the "just ask" idea, head to your local public library! Our libraries have stacks of discarded books that are $0.10-$0.25. I've gotten some great titles here! Plus, many of them are hardback library editions--these are durable and amazing to have in a classroom! Even though the price tag is really cheap, if you let the librarians know you are collecting books for your classroom many will donate the texts to you. 

3. Yard sales, Goodwill, Local Thrift stores 

These are great, CHEAP ways to find used texts. Many of them require a little patience and digging. But the hunt is fun!

4. Online used book stores

This concept is the same as buying used books at a thrift store--but you don't have to leave your house! I've found several online shops that I LOVE for their affordability, ease of use, and sustainability. 

5. Scholastic

Once the school year gets started, Scholastic is an amazing way to find free/cheap books. You can earn points for future orders when your students make purchases. Scholastic also runs monthly $1 specials and have inexpensive class sets. Be sure to sign up for Scholastic and send fliers home with your students! 

Image of a Children's Library. Above is the title: Cheap (and free!) Ways to Build Your Classroom Library           Image of a set of children's novels. On the top left is the title: 5 Cheap Ways to Build Your Classroom Library

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