Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Library Centers Organization

Hi friends!

I've had a few questions about how I organize my library center "stuff." It's an ongoing process, but here are a few strategies that work for me.

I use this monthly file folder organizer from Scholastic.

This organizer has a cute, colorful file folder for each month, and a sturdy cardboard box to hold them all. Mine are pretty full, as you can see, and I probably definitely need to throw out a few things.

I keep the signs and printables for centers that I know I'll only use in a certain month in the file folder for that month. For example, Halloween centers in the October file, Thanksgiving centers in the November file, and so forth.

You can order the organizer from Amazon.

Or you can buy it with your Scholastic dollars. Mine has lasted 4 years so far.

There are other centers I could use at any time during the year. I keep those signs in one big red folder on a shelf in my library closet. I also have the acrylic sign holders on this shelf.

After I print a sign on the color printer, I like to save it and re-use it. All of the signs are together in the big red folder. I glance through it as I'm setting up library centers on Friday afternoon for the following week.

I keep all the puzzles together on one shelf, with the puzzle center sign. If I have to grab a center in a hurry, the puzzle center takes about 2 seconds to set up.

I also have all of the supplies for the centers, like markers and pencils and glue. I keep those in plastic bins I ordered from Office Depot. My favorites are called Really Useful Boxes. And of course I labeled the bins with my trusty label maker.

Because everything is better with a label on it, right? Or am I alone in that obsession?

I can pull the items I need from a bin and put them in a small container (typically something colorful from Dollar Tree) for the center. If someone wants to be a library helper, I can have them go through the marker bin and throw out the dry ones, or sharpen all of the pencils.

I also have shelves in my closet labeled with months of the year, and I keep my larger seasonal items, like decorations and estimation stations, on those shelves.

Most of the fall decorations are out in the library right now. That folded up piece of muslin is our teepee, waiting for November. And yes, that is a solar dancing skeleton hanging out on the back of the shelf.

I think my system is pretty simple: put it in a bin or folder and label it.

I hope this helps for those of you just getting started with library centers. Please leave me a comment if you have more questions or if you have great ideas for organizing your library stuff!


  1. Please, Please, Please say that you will present at TLA this year! I had hoped to meet you this year, but you left the Bluebonnet lunch before I could say "hello". I am a second year librarian and have started setting up centers, but would love to hear you speak about getting it all together. I have your book and have used some of the activities...but could use a bit more guidance. I don't know why it is harder with library centers than with classroom centers. Hmmmm.

  2. Organizing your files, documents, and papers under control is a continuous process as these stuffs keep coming inside the house. Seeing to it that everything goes to their rightful places will help lessen your work. It's pretty psychological, actually. Once you see that things are organized, you would feel obliged to keep to it and stop the habit of putting things anywhere but your filing folders. Nice one!
    Ruby @ Williams Data Management