Part 1: My Middle Grade Library…Shelves

This is the first of several posts on how I set up my middle grade library.

I think I paid $25 for this shelf.  It is super sturdy and will last forever!  Craigslist is a great place to find used business furniture that will last a long time in your classroom.

I think I paid $25 for this shelf. It is super sturdy and will last forever! Craigslist is a great place to find used business furniture that will last a long time in your classroom.

When teachers stop by my room, I’m often asked about shelf space and where I get all my shelves.  When I first started teaching, I would buy them at Wal-mart or Target and the shelves were great.  But after a few years of heavy book tubs, they just weren’t lasting.  Then, I discovered Craigslist!  Yes, fellow teachers, Craigslist is my favorite place for teacher furniture.   For the same (or lower) price as a particle board shelving set, I can get a sturdy metal shelf that is light and easy to move around.  Here are a few of my finds.  I have about 10 or so in the room right now that I have acquired over the last few years.

I actually have 5 of these.  One has a little rust.  A business got them in bulk at an auction and sold them for $20 each because we were teachers.  I went with a teacher friend who bought several for her room, also.  Two husbands were very happy to haul around teacher furniture that day.  Yippee!

I actually have 5 of these. One has a little rust. A business got them in bulk at an auction and sold them for $20 each because we were teachers. I went with a teacher friend who bought several for her room, also. Two husbands were very happy to haul around teacher furniture that day. Yippee!

3 Things I’ve Learned From Shopping on Craigslist for Teaching Furniture

1.  Be nice to your husband.  He has the muscles and vehicle for transporting shelves and carrying them to your classroom.  Plus, you need him because it is NEVER ok to go Craigslisting alone.  Ever.   I usually bribe mine by taking him to dinner afterwards or bringing him home some froyo.

2.  When searching for items on Craigslist, use synonyms, plurals, and misspellings to find what you need.  It is ok to search for “medal shelves,” metal bookcases, metal bookcase, “steel shelfs,” and more. Be creative!

3.  Do share that you are a teacher.  I usually start with  “Hi, I’m a teacher looking for shelves for my classroom library and saw your ad…”  Sometimes you will get a discount.

Love these shelves!  They are a mess right now, but this is where we keep some reference books.  When we don't have the tech cart, those red encyclopedias come in handy.

Love these shelves! They are a mess right now, but this is where we keep some reference books. When we don’t have the tech cart, those red encyclopedias come in handy.

NOTE:  Please follow all Craigslist safety precautions and clean and inspect all furniture before adding it to your classroom.

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2 comments

  1. Oh my gosh, I have to laugh at your bit about Craig’s List….so true. Whenever I want something on there, I turn into Super Sweet Beth. This way my boyfriend will A) help me with potentially heavy items that I can’t lift and B) deal with the potential creepers that made the ad. 🙂

    Those white Sterilite bins are the best for library books!

    1. Craigslist is kind of my hero! I have found novel sets, manipulatives, furniture, class pets, and so much more for free or almost free. This afternoon I was glancing at an old wooden bookcase I inherited when I moved into my classroom that simply must go. It is impossible to move and blocks an entire wall. Perhaps when this testing business is over I will Craigslist a few new shelves. Thanks for stopping by!

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