Classroom Library Essentials


Creating the perfect classroom library and reading center tends to be at the top of every teacher’s dream classroom. As fun as decorating and creating this spot can be, it can be overwhelming, and let’s not sugarcoat it…EXPENSIVE! When going back to the traditional classroom, this is one area of the room that exhausted most of my classroom budget.  However, I couldn’t be more excited about the final product.  Today, I’m going to show you around my classroom library and give you a few details so you can recreate a similar space in your room as well.

This post contains many links to outside stores where you can purchase the materials and items that I used in my classroom library.  The links to Amazon are affiliate links which means that while it is no additional charge to you, the buyer, I receive a small percentage to help with the up keep of this website.

For the Floor

Let’s start with the rug!  I know… all the heart eyes!  I get so many questions daily about where I found this fun polka dotted rug.  Want to know the honest truth…no, I would never lie to you…Goodwill.   It was originally sold at IKEA, but that was a few years back.  When I came across this pretty lady, I had to have her.  A few pressure washes later…she is sparkly and brand new.  She might have just changed my mind about how I feel about shopping at Goodwill (the stress of the searching through the piles).  Just saying…


9 Cubby Book Shelf

Finding the perfect book shelves are a little harder than you might think.  I went through three different other shelves before I finally decided to take my book bins (more about that later) to IKEA and find these amazing cubby shelves.  Many of the previous shelves that I tried weren’t deep enough, and my bins were hanging over the ends. Organization disaster waiting to happen!  Here is a link to similar shelves available from Amazon or the direct link to these shelves from IKEA.  I still don’t have enough room for all of my book bins.  I’ll need another shelf eventually, but I’ll wait until next year to invest in another one.


Seating Options

There is nothing like snuggling up with a book!  There are so many different options for seating in your classroom library that the choices can be overwhelming.  At first, I thought I wanted a futon, but then I also knew that an extra storage area is always a good thing.  When I came across these Trofast storage benches from IKEA, I knew it was meant to be.  I plan on having the students use the green cubbies to hold their Reader’s Workshop materials along with a couple of notebooks.  We have the same storage system at our house in my kids’ room, and they have lasted 7+ years.  To transform the storage system into seating, I added these pink cushions.  You can find them here from Amazon.  They are made out of outdoor material so it can be brushed and cleaned.  I hope they hold up for several years.  Luckily for me, we had two black saucer chairs stored away upstairs that no one was using.  After a little cleaning, they look perfect and offer students another space to relax and read.  Here is a link to similar chairs available on Amazon.



Y’all know a good light sets the mood!  Am I right?  You know I am.  On rainy days, I love to turn the lights down and read by lamp light.  This Pixar inspired yellow lamp just made my day.  I picked up another one a week ago… so this lonely little fellow will have a friend soon!  We love how it swivels and glides so that it can be used in many locations that need a little more light.  Here is the one that I purchased from IKEA, and here is a similar styled one from Amazon.


Book Storage

I don’t think I was ever aware of all of the different shapes of books.  Tall, wide, short, skinny…good heavens!  Finding bins for so many different sized books is nearly impossible.  After many suggestions from a few teacher friends, I decided to invest in the Multipurpose Bins from The Container Store.  At first, I told myself I would only order 10 to see how I really like then.  Then, I realized that it was free shipping if I ordered two more.  After they arrived, I realized just how perfectly the books sat in them and had to have a few more.  I ended up ordering mostly medium sized bins, but did get a couple of small and large sizes as well.  I’m not going to post anything similar from anywhere else because I honestly don’t think anything can compare to these bins.  You might have other bins that are amazing, but this flexible plastic and the double handles have me pretty smitten!  I don’t think life gets any better than these bad boys!


And the obvious…books!

Luckily for you, I’ve already written an entire blog post on how to stock up on amazing books for your classroom on a budget.  So, just click here to read that blog post too!


Decorate the Space

I love seeing these fun balloons for birthday parties, special events or announcements, so why not use them in the classroom too?  This is one of two displays that feature these metallic gold balloons, and I’m sure I will order more sayings eventually as well.  The tissue paper garland…that’s a totally different story.  I ordered the garland on Amazon and thought it would come ready to hang up…nope, didn’t happen; and yes, I had to twist those little boogers myself.  While it was difficult, it was also time consuming.  I have a another pack just like this, and I haven’t taken the time to make it yet.  Maybe eventually…when this one wears out???  Do you see the cute border around the display?  I used two borders from School Girl Style and paired them with a Tissue Paper Festooning??  I have no clue how they even came up with that name, but “do you boo…”


The Gang is All Here!

Have you ever, whole heartily, hated something for your own kids, but then you turn around and do that thing you hate in your classroom?  Hypocrite much??  Yep, that’s me!  I throw stuffed animals away when my children aren’t looking.  They love stuffed animals, and I’ve always viewed them as an allergy nightmare.  Well, someone posted an amazing idea of having Book Buddies, and letting their students read to their “buddy”.   I thought it was the cutest thing ever.  So, friends, it looks like I will be trying Book Buddies next year with a few of the gang from Kohl’s Cares. Metal trash can…of course…from IKEA.


Build a Classroom Library on s Budget - #classroom #elementary #classroomlibrary

Well, that’s it folks!  A quick look at some Classroom Library Essentials that you are sure to use and need in your elementary classroom.  I hope you enjoyed this post.  Be sure to follow my Pinterest Boards for more ideas, classroom tips, and organization tricks.  Click here!



  • Super cute classroom! But, my most important question wasn’t answered: What’s the letter sound endings on the board in back from? I need those.

  • Do you plan on leaving those “READ” balloons up all year?

    • Yes! Unless little hands won’t stay off of them. Then I’ll hang them higher up above the board

  • On my! What child would not LOVE this space – totally adorable! Thanks so much for the great ideas – I have definitely been inspired!

  • Oh, my gosh, who wouldn’t want to grab a book and cuddle up in this gorgeous space? You’ve inspired me to make my library as homey as I possibly can this year.

  • I am ridiculously jealous of your library space! 🙂 I also appreciate the breakdown of all the different components that help make it so appealing. You clearly value literacy as evidenced by the photos. You have given such great ideas for my own class library! Thank you!

  • Wow! Everything looks so great! I know your students will spend many happy moments reading there!

  • Love, love, LOVE how cheerful and inviting this reading space is. It’s definitely inspired some ideas for me as well.

  • I love your reading area! Can you share where we can find the posters for the ending sounds/rhyming words? Thanks

  • Where did you get the labels for your book boxes?

  • I was wondering where you got your word family posters from or if they are available in your store.

  • Awesome post! I was wondering where you got your bin labels.

  • Hi, I was wondering if you have your bin labels available to teachers? I just bought the IKEA shelf and the bins to start a class library of my own.

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