Later, as my collection of teacher stuff (it's a technical term!) grew, I needed to find better ways to organize it. I tried a filing cabinet, but had too many papers for each file. Binders were an improvement - but what to do with all the other 'bits' like manipulatives and toys and... stuff? I moved on to plastic totes, which were marvelous as they could hold the binders of papers, the books AND stuff. I became a regular at Target, collecting an impressive collection of plastic totes to store my ever expanding teacher stuff.
I had a tote for each season, and for all the themes I taught: apples, circus, fall, farms... not to mention major (and minor) holidays. I was really fortunate to have a lot of storage in my house... a lot of which was filled with shelves of totes.
It began with The Hat, a popular book by Jan Brett. I needed it for a lesson. So I looked in my winter tote. Not there. Okay, maybe the farm tote, there are a lot of farm animals in the story. Nope. Clothing? No. I looked and looked, knowing full well that I had the book... somewhere.
After many totes and several muttered naughty words, I went to my husband. I told him something that was really hard for me to say, or even to think. I said, "I have too many books. I can't find them."
It's a testament to the kind of husband he is, that he did not jump and cheer and tell me he was glad I had finally figured it out and could he please have a little of the closet space those books and stuff were taking up? I am so very grateful that he told me that I didn't have too many books, I just needed a better organization system, library software. Then he researched what was available, how much it cost, and downloaded it for me! (No teachers, you can't have him, I'm keeping him!)
The solution was ReaderWare. I'm still using it and loving it ten years down the road! For a whopping $39.95, it does everything I can think of except put the books on the shelf.
I type in the ISBN# from the back of the book, and Readerware searches the internet for all the information I could possibly want, and organizes it. Within a few seconds of entering a book, Readerware pulls a picture of the cover, title, author, publishing date, book reviews...
I can search by 27 features: author, title, category, and KEYWORDS. So now, when I want a book on lets say, apples, I search by keyword and get...
The most difficult part of organizing my books was not adding them into Readerware, it was putting them up on my shelves. I decided to alphabetize by author, which makes finding them super easy - especially with my list from Readerware. I can print it out if I need, or more often pull it up on the computer then walk over to my shelves and grab what I need. No more searching for a book, no more trying to remember who the author is, or even which books I have for each theme. Many times since I got this, teacher friends have come to me and asked if I have anything they could use for a lesson on xyz - and I can find it in less than a minute! Did I mention that Readerware also lets you track books you've loaned out? Yes, no more forgetting to get your books back, or who borrowed which one.
There are so many great things about Readerware, I can't begin to tell you everything I love about it. If you have ever had to search for a book, and think this might be a solution for you, they offer a 30 day free trial, but purchase, as of the time I'm writing, is still only $39.95. Need to know more? http://www.readerware.com/index.php/products/details/books_details
Happy reading to you!