I was pleasantly surprised when I came across a list of 15 ways to get free (or cheap) books from weareteachers.com. Since I search for books at garage sales, thrift stores, and Half Priced Books, I left those off of my list and made a short list of 5 ways.
1. First Book (description from weareteachers.com)
"If at least 70% of the students in your class come from low-income families, check out First Book. First Book offers a marketplace where teachers can find new books at 50 to 90 percent off retail prices. Additionally First Book has a National Book Bank offering free books. The only catch is that you pay the shipping of $0.35 to $0.50 per book. First Book has a huge selection with Spanish language titles, music and arts books, global stories, STEM books as well as ordinary fiction and nonfiction."
2. Kids Need to Read (description from weareteachers.com)
"Kids Need to Read is another program that provides free books and literary resources to schools and libraries. To be eligible for the program your school must serve at least 50% of children living at or below the national poverty line. There is no guarantee of acceptance. However, unlike some programs that only target early readers, Kids Need to Read serves middle readers and young adults as well."
3. Grants (description from weareteachers.com)
"There are also a number of grant opportunities available that provide funding for the purchase of Children’s books. Some of these include the National Home Library Foundation, Snapdragon Book Foundation, Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation, The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. Work together with other teachers at your school to write a killer grant and let your classroom libraries reap the benefits."
4. Library Sales (description from weareteachers.com)
"Public libraries receive book donations on a regular basis. Most of these titles do not actually land on library shelves but instead are saved for book sales. The majority of these sales are sponsored by Friends of the Library volunteer groups. You will typically find books priced from $0.25 to $1 in a wide range of subjects and genres.These sales are a win/win since your money goes back to supporting public library programs. Call your local library to find out when they will hold their next sale. You can also check Book Sale Finder to find sales in your state."
5. Scholastic Warehouse Events (description from weareteachers.com)
"Periodically Scholastic Book Fairs hosts warehouse sales. This is a great way to purchase books and activity sets for your classroom or library up to 80% off the published price. Most books are at least 50% off and there are hundreds of items priced at $2 or less. Some locations even offer a Build-A-Box option! Grab a box, pack it with books from a selected collection of clearance items and pay only $24.95. To find a warehouse sale in your state, just enter your zip code. Also, once you find your local event be sure you register online to receive a special coupon for $10 off a $50 purchase or $25 off a $100 purchase."