I began my collection during my later years of high school and throughout college. Yard Sales were the best place to look...and sometimes still are! When I started teaching I used Scholastic as much as I could for multiple copies of picture books and big books. Then, when I got into grant writing, I was able to purchase multiple sets of books by specific author, genre, and topic.
I have my books organized in several ways. As you can see, I am NOT a fancy label making teacher. Give me an index card and a permanent marker and I am good to go. I always put a matching label on the back of each book so the children will know exactly where each book lives.
So my question is, how and when do you introduce these baskets to your students? In the past I have had them all out on shelves when the students start school. They are off limits and we "open" one basket at a time as we discuss it. I've never had a problem with this. The children understand very well which baskets they can choose from and which ones they can't.
This year, I actually have the closet space to store them all away from plain sight. I can physically bring them out one at a time. I feel like this would build excitement like a big surprise!
I think I will "hide" them away for now. It might make for some empty shelf space in my classroom, but the excitement will be worth it when I bring out a new basket of books for little hands to hold and little eyes to read.