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June 21, 2014

12 Places to Get Free and Low Cost Books for the Classroom

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: The School Year
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X How to Get Free and Low Cost Books for the Classroom

How to Get Free and Low Cost Books for the Classroom

Providing a literature-rich classroom environment is important to ensuring student success.  Variety, in both genres and reading levels, is essential.  However, as all teachers know, the onus of stocking that classroom library is firmly on the teacher herself.  While families busily gather supplies the week before school starts, the average classroom teacher has been busy all summer gathering supplies – including the library books that will keep students engaged and excited about reading all year long.  The cost of stocking that library is no small expense and without some of the free and low cost ideas that follow, it would be nearly impossible to provide students with a classroom library that is well stocked.


How to Get Free and Low Cost Books for the Classroom Library

1.  Garage Sales

Summer is the perfect time to scout out yard and garage sales to supplement your classroom library.  Look for sales that advertise children’s items, as they frequently have children’s books on sale, as well.  Teacher Brandi Forman swears by yard sales: “When I would ask about buying all of the books at yard sales people would always ask why.  A lot of the time they just gave me the books or sold them to me very cheap when I said I was a teacher.”

2.  Library Sales

Call your local library and find out when they are having their next book sale.  Many libraries periodically sell off books in their collections to make room for new titles.

3.  Scholastic Book Orders

Scholastic Book Clubs give students and parents a chance to bring home new titles, but they also reward teachers with bonus points that can be used to purchase books for the classroom.  Those monthly book order points add up quickly, so browse the fliers and pick out the titles that you think will benefit your students the most.

4.  Thrift Stores and Goodwill

Most thrift stores get a ton of donated books.  In fact, most get so many that they have a designated day of the week when books are on sale.  Contact your local thrift store to see if they have sale days and if they offer teacher discounts.

5.  Donations

Teacher Reta Troxell suggests asking families for donations of books for the classroom library.  “Lots of times parents will send in books from their personal libraries that they are willing to donate. I got my whole collection of Dr. Seuss books that way,” she explains.  Make a request at the beginning of the school year and then throughout the year in monthly newsletters or on your class blog.

6. is a website that allows teachers to request items for their classroom.  Donors then decide which projects they want to fund.  Many teachers have had success in requesting books for their class libraries.  Teacher Dawn Hart agrees, “I’ve gotten sets of books free from generous donors and it was truly a blessing!”



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  • Brandi Jordan
    August 12, 2014

    Super! Glad it will be helpful! Thanks, Jennifer!

  • Astute Hoot
    August 11, 2014

    Great post!  I work with first year teachers and this will be so helpful.  I will share this with them for sure!  Thanks!
    Astute Hoot

  • KellyBeamBrown
    June 23, 2014

    I love all of your suggestions….I was book broke when I began teaching! I have a great collection now after 20 years.

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