Adventures in getting books for a classroom library

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All teachers want to have the best resources for their classrooms – and the resources they need – but there is always one pesky thing standing in the way… funding for classrooms and teachers. If there were limitless funds, teachers would have everything they needed and wanted – and we (hope we’d) see an increase in success for all students since all students would then have access to the materials they needed to be successful. But here we are. I’ve got 3 ways to share on how I built (and am still building!) my classroom library without using my own money.

1 – Grants. There is free money out there y’all. People / Companies WANT to give away money to you and to support your classroom and students. Did you know that a lot of grant money goes unused every year? Yep. Companies try to give it away and no one applies – or people apply but don’t use all the funds. I’ll be doing a LIVE class on Wednesday March 15th at 6pm MDT / 7pm CDT / 8pm EDT to go in depth about grant writing: where to find grants, how to apply for a grant, what to do once you get a grant to stay in good graces… and de-mystifying the biggest secret in the grant writing world: how to make your pitch. This LIVE class will be a $10 investment for you, and hopefully lead to much more in returns! To sign up: email me at with the subject “Grant Writing Class”. If you can’t make the live, the recording of the class will be available for purchase after.

2 – Legacy Status. Last year I decided that I wanted my students to have a way to “give back” not only to their school, but to future Spanish students. See, I currently teach Levels 1 – 3 of Spanish to 6th – 8th graders. We have the same students year after year, and their siblings, and their friends. I”m also very fortunate to be in a community that really cares about their school and their students’ education. So I launched a “Libros Legados” or “Legacy Books” campaign. We sent an email out to our parents and basically said, “hey – we’d love for your student to leave a lasting legacy when they leave the school. We’d love for that legacy to be in the form of a book that they wish they could have read in our library.” We attached a Google Spreadsheet with books and links to order from and “pick up” instructions. Shockingly, in a week, we had 45 new books. Now, you make be in a community that rises to that challenge and get 100, or you may get 5. But free is free and growth is growth.

3 – Amazon Wishlist. Towards the end of the summer you probably see your teacher friends posting on Facebook / Instagram their Amazon wishlists. I used to see them and think, “man, I’m so tired of people begging me for things.” Then I realized… why wasn’t I begging OTHER people for things?! There are LOTS of quality books available on Amazon by some amazing authors. Jennifer Degenhardt, Diego Ojeda, Margarita Perez Garcia, AC Quintero, Spanish Cuentos, John Sifert and more have most of their selections available on Amazon. *Currently Wayside does not allow their books to be sold on Amazon* So make your list and make your FREE Facebook post and see what happens! I got about 30 books for my library from my Amazon Wishlist this summer!

Biggest takeaway – you don’t ever get what you don’t ask for. Yes – you might not get anything anyway… but you definitely won’t get it unless you try! Not sure of what to add to your classroom library? Check out my list here.

ps. yes – you can always request that your school funds books instead of textbooks / allows you to use “textbook” funds for books… but many schools tend to make those funds disappear once they realize that you aren’t needing them / using them. So, definitely ask, but don’t be surprised if they’ve magically disappeared.

As always – comment or send me an email with questions –

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  1. I’ve really been enjoying the articles on how to build your class library. My library is pitiful! So excited to find these ways! I’m feeling kind of dumb, I have done grants for technology and other things in the classroom. Never thought about writing a grant for readers!