Book Bins

Book Bins, Book Leveling, Classroom Library
Book Bins Meacham

We have over 3,000 books in our classroom.  On top of those, we always have additional books from the school library and Door County Public libraries.  We love books!  We store the books in labeled tubs (of course!).

September Bins – In September we only select books from these six bins.  They contain books about early learning concepts including numbers, shapes, letters, and colors.  We also have word books and wordless books.  Each child’s book box also houses laminated word list sheets (colors, shapes, numbers, letters, sight words, classmate names).

September Book Bins Meacham

Chapter Book Read Alouds – This bin houses the many chapter books we read throughout the year.

Read Alouds First Grade Meacham

download-icon Click here for our Chapter Book Read Aloud List!

Leveled Take-Home Readers – Students self-select a book or two each day from these leveled readers.  They select books that are at their independent reading level.

Book Bins Meacham

Classroom Book Bins – These black bins are organized by topic/theme or genre.

20140322_113551 20140322_113540 20140322_113443 20140322_113517 Book Bins Grade Meacham 20140322_113438

On Mondays, students self-select books (beginning the first week of school).  They store their self-selected books in their browsing box.  These books are used during independent reading time.  The books are then returned to their book bin on Fridays.

Book Shopping Meacham

download-icon Download the Book Shopping SMARTboard File

Despite their best intentions, the books aren’t always put back correctly or appropriately (even after a lot of training!), so we have book box managers that fix book bins.  Everyone in the class is a book box manager.  If we notice a problem with a book box, the book box manager fixes it.  If we find a “wandering book” in the classroom, the book box manager takes care of it (bin 10 manager manages bin 10 books and so forth).  It’s a nifty system!

Book Box Managers


If the books belong to the classroom, they each get a name stamp, color-dot level sticker, genre/theme label, and a number sticker.  In 2013, I upgraded my book bin shelving.  The chrome, metal shelves are from Home Depot.  They’re available at Walmart and Target, too.  I really LOVE them!  The white shelves were OK, but started to show their wear after seven years of use.  They were also not easy to clean (textured top).

Book Bins Classroom Library Meacham

Book Bins Classroom Library Meacham

Each tub is labeled with a number sticker and genre/theme tag.  I also gave my book bin labels a “face lift” too.  Check them out!  When new books arrive in our classroom, I process them before adding them to the book bins.  This system seems pretty intense, and it is at times, but it helps us organize the books and easily find books when we need them. 

Book Bins Classroom Library Meacham Book Bins Classroom Library Meacham Book Bins Classroom Library Meacham


  • Level Book
  • Add Book to Catalog
  • Add Book Stickers (bin number dot, color level dot, book bin classification label)
  • Secure Dot Labels with Tape
  • Announce New Book Arrivals to Students
  • Add Books to Bins

The video above will give you and idea of how the system works.  You will notice our older white shelving as well as older bin labels in the video.

Book Leveling Meacham

One of the great debates is whether to “level books” or not.  To be honest, I can totally see the benefits and challenges of both sides of the argument.  I chose to level my classroom books.  Despite my choice to level, for a variety of reasons, I want to share that though my students know their levels, they don’t gloat, brag, bully, or tease.  They are taught that we are all on a journey.  We work toward helping one another on our journeys, whatever they might be (math, reading, writing, shoe tying, etc.).  In addition, my understanding of book leveling falls continues to grow.  Check out the following {inspiring} posts about book leveling:

Check out my post about classroom library apps!

Check out my book leveling pin board at Pinterest:

Book Leveling Meacham

Need additional ideas?  Check out these sites to help you decide how you’d like to go about the process of organizing and/or leveling your library:

Book Labels Meacham

One final thing, if you are interested in printing labels, I have several files that you can browse.  Feel free to download and edit as you need.  The labels print out on address sized labels (Avery #8160).  You can also buy store brand labels that are compatible to Avery 8160 address labels.  Larger sized labels are also available for printing (Avery #8163).

download-icon Click Here to Download Labels

The labels above were created by me and several web site visitors who have generously shared their creations.  The label contributors include Melanie, Stephanie C., Angela K., Ann-Marie R., Jeanna P., Debra M., Tessa S., Candace, Tara W., Susan E., Jennie S., Susan E., Michelle A., Melissa, Jo C., and Michele S.  If you have labels to share, feel free to send them my way!

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  • erin duros
    August 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    I love your book labels and have used them for several years. Do you by chance still have the small one for Disney books? Thanks!

    • Jessica Meacham
      August 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      I just made some for you! Check the (small book bin labels) folder link again and look for “disney” in the label titles! =)

  • Lori
    November 10, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    You previously had a fairy tale book label. Is that still available on the website?

    • Jessica Meacham
      January 2, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Yes! For some reason it is labeled as “tales” and not “fairy tales” (look under small book bin labels).

  • Nancy
    January 3, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I have tried copying and pasting the polar animals label to small labels and for some reason the only thing that will copy and paste is the text. It is not working to copy the graphics. Any suggestions?

    • admin
      January 4, 2016 at 12:11 pm

      Here’s a temporary link to the labels with images/text in every label. Did you try any other labels (copy and paste)? Thanks for letting me know and I hope this works for you! I’ll keep the temporary file for a couple of weeks and hopefully you’ll be able to save it to your own computer! Thanks!

  • Lari
    May 26, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    I was wondering where you got your wire book bins? Thanks, by the way, for your generosity in sharing your great ideas! I love your writer and reader workshop plans, and I also enjoy seeing the many way you use technology in your classroom.

    • Jessica Meacham
      June 4, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Hi, Lari – thanks for the message. The black, wire book bins were from Shopko, the back to college section (several years ago). I’m glad to hear from you, and hear what you like to read about. It has inspired me (among other things) to get back to blogging more frequently. Going to hopefully develop a new blogging mindset and habit this summer to continue throughout the school year! #fingerscrossed

      • Lari
        June 11, 2016 at 8:24 pm

        Thank you! I’m organizing my classroom library this summer and your Book Bin posts and links have been very helpful. Re: your blogging mindset–that would be awesome. Your blog is a wealth of useful information. 🙂 –Lari

  • Liz
    July 22, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Thank you so much! It’s making my organizing easier 🙂