Organizing Books in Preschool

Organizing Books: This task can be daunting because, as time goes on, we preschool teachers add endlessly to our collection of preschool books!

Like you, I have tried a few ways to organize my preschool books. You will need to choose the way that works best for your classroom. Below are three ways in which I have handled our classroom books:

Theme Filing; Alphabetical; and Computerized

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Organizing Books

Theme Filing

Organizing books by theme can be very handy if you tend to plan similar themes each year.

  1. Gather some manila folders, one for each theme that you use.
  2. Label one folder for each theme name.
  3. Place these folders, alphabetically, on the shelves you will be storing your books on.
  4. Sort your books by these themes. Then, alphabetize the books by title within each theme.
  5. Place the books for each theme to the right of its corresponding folder.

You will find that some of the books you have may go well with several themes. You could purchase multiple books, however this is costly! Instead, file the book with the theme that is primary for this book.

Then go to the other theme labeled folders that the book would also go with and print the name of the book on that folder and where you have it filed. Now you will know where to find other books you may need for multiple themes.

Here is an example. Let's consider this book by Leo Lionni.  

This book can be used in many themes such as a Friends Theme, a Frogs Theme, a Pond Life Theme or in a Circle Time discussion about fighting with each other!

 I primarily think of a Friends Theme for this book. Therefore I place it in the "Friends" theme section of my books.

I now go to my folder next to my "Frogs" section an print "It's Mine by Leo Lionni--filed under Friends. I do the same thing on the folders for "fighting" and "pond life".

Organizing Preschool Library

Alphabetical By Title

You can also shelve all of your books alphabetical by title (I avoid by author because there are so many and I do not know all the authors by heart!).

In addition to this, you will need a book list printed out so that you can scan the list each time to plan a theme.

Computerized Listing

Preschool Organizing Books

Once I figured out how to use databases and spreadsheets on the computer, organizing books and finding them became much easier.

Many databases or spreadsheet programs allow for you to sort each column alphabetically.

You therefore set up several columns on the spread sheet. I had columns for Title; Author; Theme; subtheme 1; subtheme 2; etc.

I then list each book with this information. For example:

The first row across might be the book It's Mine under the Title Column.

The next column, author, will list Leo Lioni.

The next Column, theme, will list friends

The next column, subtheme 1, will list frogs.

The next column, subtheme 2, will list fighting.

The next column, subtheme 3, will list pond life.

Add as many columns as you need to list each subtheme.

Now, when you go into your spreadsheet, you can sort each column alphabetically and find the books you want for a specific theme, author or title.

Teacher Submitted Ideas

So many different ways of organizing books!

Thanks Narelle A for this suggestion: 

Having been a Children's Librarian and a Teacher Librarian before going into childcare. I have found this app at to be quite good.

Are there other ways that you handle organizing books? Send me the details by contacting me here.  I'll add your suggestion (and your name!) to this article to share with your cyber-colleagues!

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