How to Organize a Preschool Library: Tips for Teachers on Setting Up a Library for Young Learners

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Preschool Libraries

We have all been to a library before and know how books are organized. Fiction books are organized in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, and non-fiction uses the Dewey Decimal System (or another similar library classification system), which assigns each book a number based on the subject matter. But, how do you organize a preschool library? Preschool students do not understand alphabetical order, and they certainly do not know author names! They are also unaware of the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Don’t worry: organizing a preschool classroom library is a piece of cake!

Categorizing Your Library

The first step to organizing a preschool classroom library is to categorize all of your books into groups that are recognizable to the students. There are several ways to do this!

What is one thing anyone who has ever been around preschool children knows? Children of this age LOVE characters! This is one easy way to categorize books. You can create a category for each different character. A few common preschool examples include:

  • Little Critter
  • Curious George
  • Berenstain Bears
  • Disney Princesses
  • Cars
  • Arthur
  • Franklin
  • Clifford
  • Froggy
  • Amelia Bedelia

But, what about stories that do not have famous characters? You can organize some books by authors that students recognize. This will also allow students to notice similarities in an author’s work. Some examples include:

Still don’t know what to do with a book? That’s okay! One great way to organize books is to put them in general categories. This allows you to group several books that do not fit anywhere else together. Some common examples of general categories include:

  • Alphabet books
  • Number books
  • Shape books
  • Color books
  • Holidays (Can each be put in their own group)
  • Famous People
  • Sports
  • Animals
  • Transportation
  • Nursery Rhymes
  • Fairy Tales

Setting Up Your Library

Your books are categorized into several groups. Now what? The solution is simple. Buy several plastic containers that are shoebox size. Each group of books will be placed in its own box. If your books are too wide, turn the box ninety degrees, and lay the books on their sides. Label each box with a large sign. On the label, place the name of the group of books along with a recognizable picture for that category. For example, if you are labeling a box on Franklin books, you would label it with “Franklin” in large letters and then a picture of Franklin. This will expose the students to the written word as well as providing them a picture to help them know where to find and replace the books.

Following these two easy steps will make setting up a preschool classroom library a breeze! An organized classroom library can help make your entire classroom run more efficiently. So, go out today, buy your shoeboxes, and get your classroom library up and running.