I threw away two gigantic trash bins filled with books tonight while working in my classroom. I feel terrible. I feel wasteful. I feel guilty. I feel free. And, I'm not done.
I've been reading, From Striving to Thriving this summer. The authors talk about updating the classroom library so that it is fresh and inviting and meets the needs of the striving and already thriving readers in our classrooms.
I had such a hard time following this advice. The authors give more guidance around discarding books through online resources made available to readers of their book. Are the pages yellow? Is the cover damaged? Are pages falling out? Are they stinky? Many books didn't make the cut. It was hard to just chuck books. Some of these old and smelly books held pretty fond memories. I found myself thumbing through them before they hit the bin. I'll add another piece of criteria. If you've been married for more than 15 years and the book has your maiden name in it, it should probably go. Here's another: if you wrote your name in it, in all capital letters, when you were six, it needs to go!
I get why these books shouldn't be donated to needy kids. They deserve better. My students have left these pitched books untouched for a few years (maybe more). I have zero reason to believe that any other child would want to pick up these books to read them. I feel bad not passing them on to newbie teachers just starting out. Guess what. Their students are not going to pick them up either. Kids are picky. They know what they like and they haven't liked these books for a long time now.
While vintage may be all the rage these days...not so much when it comes to fourth-grade classroom library books. But can you stand how cute this oldie but goodie is?
So, this book, along with all the stinky yellowed ones, hit the bin. I'll be cashing in some gift cards and breathing some fresh life into my library.
I'll be printing new, bright, and exciting labels for my book bins that will help the library to stay organized and will invite my students to try new authors and genres. I'm pretty fired up to share this new and improved library with my students. But first, there will be dish washing...and lots of it. Can't put shiny new labels on dusty, stinky, book bins. Truly. NOT fired up for this part. It will be worth it. Right?