A classroom library has books on shelves, but what else? This list of Classroom Library Decor Ideas will get you started with designing the perfect classroom library that is right for your space and your class. After you know your shelf style, you’ll want to ceate a reading nook and have some reading props. We’ll get more into those as you scroll down. For now, the classroom shelf is the first focus. You can find easy ways to have a classroom library shelf without having to use a hammer or wood. These ideas only require items that you may already have in your classroom.
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See my collection of classroom library labels here.
- Have bright eye-catching READ staning letters: This teacher did a DIY project with marquee letters (#ad) to create the beautiful READ letters for her classroom library. This is what she said about it: “I bought 4 letters to spell READ for my classroom library. I wanted to have them be more fun so I took each letter apart and spray painted it and put a scrapbook paper print on the front to give it a unique look. It was super easy and I’m not crafty at all.”
- Make a milk create library: Stack milk crates (#ad) together to make your classroom library. It is suitable for a small collection of books. Zip ties can be used to hold them together. See more milk crate classroom hacks here.
- Keep book series separate in mini milk crates: Mini milk creates (#ad) can also be used for small books. They are seen under the shelf in this picture.
- Divide book sections with clear shelf dividers: These are vertical shelf dividers that keep book sections upright. Just slide them into the shelf.
- Have reading bulletin boards and posters: Classroom Library Spring themed Bulletin Board Idea: Rooted in Reading. The tree (#ad) and butterflies (#ad) are from School Girl Style.
- Use trash bins for tall books: This teacher used narrow trash bins (#ad) as library bins for storing her large workbooks since most library bins would not have been tall enough to support them.
- Put sorters in shelves: For cube shelves, another tip is to place small metal file holders within each cubicle of your library bookcase. It you look closely at the picture above with the books in the shelf, you can see the white file holder keeping the books neat and upright. The metal file holders fit in the IKEA Kallax shelf unit perfectly.
- Make a showcase (if you have the space): Make a reading showcase like this if you have the space in your classroom. I like this bulletin board design. The first poster (#ad) reads ‘Today a Reader, Tomorrow a Leader’ and these book cut-outs (#ad) were used. The second poster can be found here (#ad).
- Use wall decals: I love this fantasy themed wall decal for libraries. Of course, it’s more for a school library but it looks so charming that I had to add it. See other wall decal ideas in this blog post.
- Have book character plush toys: These can be use to encourage students to read through the voices of characters, which is a lot of fun for them. Some book sets are boxed with plush toys like this one.
- Use sturdy bookends: Bookends are a must for keeping books upright and neat, especially if the shelves are only half filled. These metal bookends are of good quality because they are sturdy and have discs on the base to prevent sliding. They are also very decorative.
- Use a tent: This classroom reading nook is right next to the classroom library. The teepee tent is decorated with a rainbow pom-pom garland and throw pillows. Classroom reading nooks are fun to create and it is so worth it for your students to have a comfortable and inviting space to read. I love to see how teachers can take the tiniest space and turn it into a cozy spot for students.
- Pillows, rugs, and seating cushions: Make your reading nook inviting with a plush rug and some throw pillows to match your classroom theme. Even if your classroom is tiny, set up your reading corner to be as comfortable as possible and students will treasure it. The reading corner in the picture uses this wall decal here and this throw pillow here.
- Make a 2 in 1 library and reading nook in a small space: Go vertical! This reading nook is in a small corner along with the books on shelves above. The storage seat has seating cushions for students.
- Use strong plastic baskets as book bins: In the first picture, colorful book bins are used in the upper shelves, and for the lower shelves, durable white plastic baskets are used. The second picture used these gray plastic storage baskets for chapter books.
- Use a low and wide storage cubby unit: If you don’t have much space, have low level library shelves that will leave some wall space above it for your bulletin boards. A cubby shelf like this can hold storage baskets for books and the top of the shelf can be a work area or storage area.
- Add a tapestry to your classroom library: There are tapestries with messages on them that engourage students to read and love books. See examples of these types of classroom tapespries in this blog post.
- Label library book levels with stickers: Level your library books with circle labels which can be blank and labeled with an alphabet or number system.
Assorted colors can be used if you want to have a color coded system. This helps the students to know where to put back the books when they are done.
- Hide Your Classroom Bookshelf: If your bookshelf is really old or messy and you prefer to hide it until you can fix the issues, use colorful curtains to hide it from view. Use bright happy colors like pink or yellow, or any color to match your classroom theme.
Since we are talking about classroom library tips here, do you need book recommendations for your class level? I created a list of back to school books for each grade (blog post).