Friday, August 22, 2014

Build a Library Book Shower

We've all been there. We get our first teaching job. Our first classroom. We can hardly contain our excitement about the upcoming year...and then we walk into that new classroom for the first time and reality hits us square in the face! If we're lucky, we are replacing a teacher and so we find furniture, teaching manuals, math manipulatives, textbooks, maybe even school supplies ordered by the previous teacher. For some of us, our position and classroom may be a new addition to the building to address an increase in enrollment. In that case, we *might* find furniture and that's about it. In either situation, one thing we are less likely to find is a well stocked classroom library. More often than not, the bulk of a classroom library is purchased with our own funds, maybe some Scholastic bonus points and various donations. But the bulk of the collection goes with us as we move on to another teaching  assignment.

The latter was the exact situation my friend, Katie, found herself in this summer. She has landed her first classroom and I'm so excited for her and the students who will be blessed to be in her classroom. I saw her one evening back in late June, right after she had made her first visit to see her new teaching space. Excitement was overshadowed by panic as she shared with me that she only found student desks, chairs, and a teacher desk in her new space. I remember the look on her face as she asked me, "What am I going to do about a classroom library? There are no books!"  The look on her face and those words kept replaying through my mind as I drove home that night.

The library has always been the heartbeat of my own classroom. It is essential to every single aspect of the learning environment. It is also always the MOST expensive part of the classroom to build. Right away I started brainstorming ways I might be able to help Katie build a library for her 3rd grade classroom. I knew I had some multiple copies of books that I could certainly donate, which got me thinking. Maybe other friends and family would like to help with some donations also. I'd seen a few pictures of "book" themed baby showers and an idea of a Build a Library Book Shower started forming in my mind. I called a mutual friend, Sarah, who is also a teacher, to ask if she would like to co-plan and host the event with me. The key was that we wanted it to be a surprise for Katie. 

The planning was SO much fun! I have to say, if I wasn't working in education, I think I would LOVE being a party planner. We planned a menu where each food item was tied to a picture book appropriate for 3rd grade. I created book banners for decorating and Sarah made adorable Book Worm goodie bags for the guests. In the invitation, we made suggestions for 3rd grade appropriate series, author studies, and read alouds to assist guests with ideas. We suggested that books could be new or gently used, and also welcomed gift cards to a local independent book store or Amazon. All the picture books we used on the Food Table were also given to her at the end of the evening.  We pulled off the surprise and Katie left with over three boxes of great books and several gift cards to grow her classroom library!
Coconut Curry Chicken Skewers 
Pasta Salad
BBQ Meatballs
Garden Veggies and Dip
Cheese and Crackers
Mini No-Bake Blueberry Cheesecakes
Southern Sweet Tea
Pink Lemonade
Super cute Book Worm Goodie Bags
Watching Katie go through the boxes was SO much fun! Of course I had to keep stopping her with book talks and gasps of "Oh I love that book (or series) SO much!"
The guest of honor with the party hosts! Love these two girls so much! Students in their classrooms are so, so blessed!
Wouldn't this be a lovely way to welcome a new staff member to your building? You can change up the menu based on the grade level the new staff member will be teaching. Add fun bookmarks or book plates as party favors. Another idea would be to have staff members had their favorite read alouds, favorite quotes, or words for wisdom in a nice journal. The teacher could use the journal to write daily reflections from their first year of teaching, or their first year in a new grade level, building, or district. The possibilities are endless...and the rewards are far reaching as we encourage our new staff members and support well stocked classroom libraries!


  1. Great idea! Thanks for sharing this cute and effective way to support new teachers.

  2. What a lovely idea! Best of luck to Katie in her first year in the best job ever!

  3. This warms my heart and gives me awesome ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a terrific idea! And what great friends you are!

  5. Love! Love! Love this idea!!!!! Thank you for sharing!!