One of the most popular questions of rookie and veteran teachers alike, is “Is there anywhere I can get free books/materials?” The answer is YES! THERE IS! There are several established organizations that donate many materials to educators. Unfortunately, the news does not spread as fast as the events come and go. The key to getting free resources is to talk to colleagues and get on email lists as soon as possible, and then visit the websites periodically for upcoming news.
One exciting source for free books is Project Cicero. It is exciting because it is literally a free-for-all book rally for educators.You sign up on their email list, you receive an email notice, sign up for a specific date and time to participate, and you go to the location WITH AS MANY SUITCASES, BOOKBAGS, AND PURSES, as you can carry to your car (or cab or public transportation). Let’s just say my girlfriend and I always leave with a total of three suitcases and two gym bags between us, FULL OF BOOKS (ouch for my car’s leather seats)! The event is usually held at one of the ballrooms in the Hotel Pennsylvania, at 34th Street across from Madison Square Garden. In the ballroom the books are arranged on table by genres and you are able to grab as many as you can, there is a minimum number for popular sets. See you there in 2015!
Another great source for finding books at a reduces cost is First Book. This organization allows educators to receive books at a low cost and with ability to receive multiple copies of the same book. This is a great site if you’re looking ways to provide your students with free books.
Many of the classics are available for reduced prices between $1.00-$4.00 a book at Dover Publications and Townsend Press. Many times our schools do not have enough money to buy several copies of a book, but through searching we find that the school has more than enough to buy a cheaper edition. I once bought 30 copies of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House for $15.00 on a special sale. In an age where one book can cost between $10-$15 to replace, we should be aware of less expensive alternatives that do an equal job of serving our students.
In order to serve all our students we must also consider their learning styles. Sync YA is an additional source that allows students and teachers to download audiobooks. This program usually starts off towards the end of the school year and pairs classic with new and more current YA books. Past downloads have included Code Name Verity, Julius Caesar, and Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice among many other great titles.They are free, all you have to do is sign up!