Building A Family Library

How to create a family library on a budget and without an extra room. Included are tips for creating the space and suggested essential titles to include in your adult, young adult and children's book collection.

Do you love books? Are your kids avid readers? If you have a family full of book lovers, you may want to consider creating a space for a library within your home. The library will allow you to house all of your books in one area, while providing your family with a quiet space devoted to reading.

No room and no money?

If you don't have the space to dedicate an entire room as your library, pick a corner or a nook in your family room, living room, or bedroom to use as your library space. There should preferably be no television in the room.

Your family library does not have to cost you a fortune. If you can't afford to buy a wall full of bookcases, go to a discount store and purchase a small bookshelf unit that you can assemble yourself. Ready made bookcases come in a wide variety of sizes and colors, so you will be able to find something affordable that matches the current d├ęcor of your home.

Where to get books

If you love books enough to consider creating a home library space, then you likely already own many of your favorite titles. If you are looking to expand your current book collection, there are many ways to find books at affordable prices:

-- Check yard sales. Yard sales are great places to find old books. Most people sell their old books for just a few dollars. If someone is selling several books that you want, make them an offer to buy the lot of them at a reduced price. Most people that have yard sales just want to get rid of the stuff-- the last thing they want to do is a lug a carton full of unsold books back into the house at the end of the day!

-- Join a book club. Book clubs offer you the chance to get several books (usually 4 or 5) for a reduced price with the stipulation that you must buy more books within the next year or two. This is a good way to get hot, current titles that are still selling for full price at bookstores. Make sure you order the most expensive books on your list during your introductory offer. Order the cheaper books later-- when you have to fulfill your enrollment commitment.

-- Check online auction sites. Many online dealers sell bulk lots of books at very affordable prices. Before you bid, make sure that the shipping charges are reasonable.

-- Check your local library for used book sales. In addition, many libraries periodically offer old books for free. Check with your local librarian for information on programs offered at your library.

-- Join savings clubs at your local bookstore. Bookstores are great, but they can be overwhelming if you are looking for a specific title amidst the thousands of books they have. If you do shop at a large chain bookstore, inquire about their savings club offers. If you plan to buy a lot of books, it may be worth the enrollment fee.

-- Buy books online if they offer free shipping. Popular online bookstores often offer the same (or better) sale prices as the large chain retailers. In addition, you won't have to rifle through the stacks of books-- just search on your computer and add the books you want to your shopping cart. Only purchase books online if they offer free shipping.

Tips for organizing your library

If you are a librarian at heart, you can organize your books alphabetically by author and/or subject. You may want to have a nonfiction section and a separate section for your children's books. You may want to offer each of your children their own library shelf that they can arrange as they wish. However you decide to organize your library, make sure you use a system that works for you and your family. You want to be able to find what you are looking for when you need it.

Must- Own Titles

If you are starting out with only a few books and need recommendations on titles to add to your collection, keep in mind that reading is a highly personal hobby and you should go with authors and subjects that you and your family love. It is not recommended that you buy classic titles that you will never read just for the sake of owning them. Make sure that you only buy books that you truly want to own. You may even want to skim through a book at your local library or bookstore before you commit to buying it. That said, if you are looking for some book selections that have remained popular over the years, here are some books you may want to consider adding to your collection:

Adult Fiction

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk

A Christmas Story by Jean Shephard

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Adult Non Fiction

Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Steven Covey

Teaching Your Children Responsibility by Linda and Richard Eyre

Preschool Children

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr.

The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Young Adult

Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

The Harry Potter book series by J.K. Rowling

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