Laura, a beginning teacher, writes:

“I would love to use some of your books and start some FVR, How do I do that if the school doesn’t have extra money to buy books for FVR and books to read together?”

Good question, and one that I get asked a lot. There is more than one way to skin a cat, as they say. You just need some models. Well, here are a few. I personally know teachers that have done these fund-raising ideas. I have done the ones in red print for my classroom. Here are…

Ways to Finance Your Classroom Library


  • Ask. Just ask. It is often the case that you have not because you ask not. Ask.
  • Do a fund raiser. Have your school World Language Club sell something or do a car wash to get money to buy books.
  • Ask your school Honor Society to help buy books for your program.
  • Restructure your program’s budget to include funds for regular classroom library expansion.
  • Do a community-wide fund-raiser. Dustin Lee, of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, did this and raised $88,000 in fall 2022. Some of it was for his girls basketball team, some for a Disc Golf course, but some went to his Spanish classroom library.
  • Ask your school librarian to buy target language titles. Put them on a cart and wheel them down to your classroom.
  • Ask your local public library to buy target language titles. In many public libraries you can check out 50 books at a time for up to 6 weeks.
  • Get discarded target language books from your local public library.
  • Go to Friends of the Library used book sales and stock up. There are two such sales in our community every year. Thousands show up and hundreds of thousands of dollars are made for the library. If there is not one in your community, start one.
  • Ask an embassy. There are embassies of countries that speak your target language that are happy to send you books. Mexico is particularly good at this.
  • Search for target language books at Goodwill or other thrift stores.
  • Ask Go Fund Me, Donors Choose, Give Send Go, etc.
  • Put out a request on social media – there are retiring teachers with classroom libraries who would love to donate to enthusiastic teachers that need books.
  • Ask parents to donate money. Back-to-School night is a good time to do this. Not every parent can or should donate, but some can. I have always had donations when I asked parents for money. Sometimes it’s $10, sometimes $500. If it is for a good cause and for their children, people will donate.
  • Ask your PTA for funds.
  • Ask a local service organization for money to buy books for your classroom. Those groups often have money to give, but don’t know where to give it.
  • Write a grant. There are organizations that exist to give you money.
  • Make a deal with your administrator: Vocabulary-controlled readers instead of textbooks. Because… They’re cheaper. They’re more effective. They’re self-differentiating. They can engage a greater variety of students. They’re easier to update.
  • Charge a class fee. Obviously not everyone is allowed to do this, but you won’t know unless you ask. They charge a fee for art classes in many schools. why not World Language?
  • Find or create your own Weekly Reader-type program where students can buy books — and then donate them to the school / World Language program / your classroom when they’re done reading.
  • Have upper-level students create books for lower-level students. See this template for student-made books. If you haven’t done this it is a great end-or-the-year project.
  • Buy them yourself.  Disadvantage: Cost to you. Advantages: You have control. You choose the titles. Faster delivery. No bureaucratic red tape or paperwork. You can take those books with you, or donate them, when you move on to another school or retire.

Please comment and add other ideas that have worked for you.