How to Get Free or Cheap Books for Your Classroom Library

You don't have to spend a lot of money to keep your classroom library stocked with great titles.

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Having a well-stocked classroom library is so important.

You can inspire a love of reading in your students by surrounding them with a wide variety of books at all different levels. Unfortunately, books are expensive! On a teaching salary, we don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on books, but there are ways you can get free and cheap books for your classroom.

well-stocked classroom library full of books

1. Scholastic

If you don’t already use Scholastic Book Clubs in your classroom, you need to start now! Every time your students buy books, you will earn points for your classroom. You can then use those points to get free books. I’ve added hundreds of dollars worth of brand new books to my classroom library through Scholastic.

2. Your Local Library

When I first started teaching, I didn’t have many children’s books, but I did have a job at my local library. People constantly brought in book donations. The books the library already had or didn’t want were sold at an annual book sale where all of the paperback children’s books were only twenty-five cents.

Check with your local library to see when they are having their next book sale. You'ill have to go through boxes or tables of books to pick out the best ones, but it’s completely worth it. You will end up with lots of gently used books for only a few dollars.

3. Garage Sales

Another way to get good quality used books is by going to garage sales. Many families sell books after their children read them just a few times, so you can often get practically brand-new books for only ten cents at yard sales.

Plus, make sure you mention that you’re a teacher. Some families will give you books for free once they know they're being put to good use.

4. Classroom Donations

In my school district, students aren’t allowed to bring birthday treats anymore. Instead, we ask them to donate a book or board game to the classroom. The kids are always excited to write their names in the front of the books and add them to our classroom library.

You can also send a newsletter home to your students’ families asking them to consider donating any books they have laying around at home. Most families are happy to get rid of books they no longer want to read and to help you build up your classroom library.

5. Get Free Books Online

Getting all of these free and cheap books is great, but then you have to find places to store them and ways to organize your classroom library.

Once all my library shelves were full, I started looking for other ways to get books for my students.

E-books are a great solution! They don’t take up any space, and if your school district is 1:1 with technology, your students can access thousands of amazing books. My favorite source of e-books is Epic! Your students will have access to over 25,000 books, and the best part is that it’s completely free for educators.

We all know that students only get better at reading by practicing and spending more time reading.

With a library that is fully stocked with free and cheap books, every child in your classroom will be able to find something interesting, and their love of reading will grow. As a teacher, this is magical to watch, and knowing you didn’t spend a fortune on the books makes it even better.


What are your favorite ways to get free or cheap books? Share with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Want more from this author? Check out Tara's tips for managing a chatty class and her money-saving ideas for teachers.
Author Bio:

Tara Dusko is a 3rd-grade teacher and mom of two. She blogs about ways to have a fun, low-stress year as a teacher at Teach Without Tears and about time and money-saving tips for moms at Flavors, Fashion, and Fun.

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