So I've been meaning to post this, but I couldn't get my labels finished. I just kept avoiding them. For the past 2 years I've struggled to find a way to organize my library that I really loved. I combined a bunch of different ideas I saw all over until I found one I really loved and that worked for my kiddos. Now 3rd graders I'm sure have a bit more of an ability to sort books than my firsties did, but I'm still going to keep my system.
I have the shoe box size bins from Walmart. I have this OCD likeness about me, so the idea of having different bins bugged me too much. These are oober cheap (especially when you find a deal on PT to get them for under a dollar)!
The labels have the chapter series/theme of that bin, a picture of a book that would fit into that category, and a number. Here's one of the labels:
Now each book has a thin label wrapped around the spin on the bottom left of the book. On the front is the number that matches with the corresponding bin as well as the level on the back. I will not level my books. I think it is key that students figure out how to find "just right" books. Students get so fixated on levels that they'll start competing and focusing on the level. The level is a way that they can check themselves later, or if a student is really having trouble finding a just right book. I've seen a very similar system to this. Here's what the spine looks like:
So that's pretty much it. It's actually the most simple I've ever encountered too. It does help that I had to buy 99% of my books this summer because I needed chapter books. I have most of the major chapter series in their own bins... I combined anything I didn't have a lot of or expect to collect a lot more of. I do plan on having a dozen or so bins of picture books.
I have to also say that I've had a lot of people outside of my school to tell me to keep the picture books out, but by the end of first grade a good majority of our kids are already reading Magic Tree House and starting to phase out of most chapter books. I talked to one of my future team members and she gave me suggestions based off of what she saw her kiddos doing these past 2 years, that's why the majority of my picture books will be hidden away in storage (with hopes of returning to a firsty library one day).
They're obviously very specific to my library, but if anyone has any interest I'd definitely consider making a generic set for more primary levels.