Collecting Books For A Home Library

Building a home library can be fun and meaningful for the entire family. Here's how to get started on increasing your family's literacy.

If you're going to collect something for a hobby, why not make it books? Then you can start a home library, with an ever-growing assortment of texts that you can even lend to friends and neighbors. Here are some tips for getting started:

1. Browse used book sales. Thrift stores, churches, online book dealers (like and garage sales make great places to shop for books that can start your collection. You can also look for newspaper and magazine advertisements for used books, and keep your eyes open for moving sales, tag sales, and other types of selling events when you may be able to pick up some bargains. When you find a two-for-one sale or books with prices that are marked very low, get a few that you may not even particularly want so you can trade them for others that are more desirable if you find other traders.

2. Visit readers' and books' chat rooms and discussion groups. There you can meet people who are eager to sell or trade great books. An added advantage is that you can discuss them first to find out if a certain book is one you really want to add to your collection. Get the word out to your hobby groups as well, like an exercise class, knitting group, or mothers' club. Some people may have stacks of old books sitting around at home that they haven't had time to take to the thrift store yet. For a modest fee, you may be able to pick up some bargains.

3. Look for community book sales. Schools and libraries often feature such events as fund raisers and to get rid of older holdings to make way for newer ones. Call around to find out when the next sale will be held so you can get there early.

4. Create a special niche in your home for the soon-to-be-born library. It may be nothing more than a bookshelf in a corner. Then again, you may be able to devote an entire room to the purpose of reading and reflecting on ideas. Wherever your book nook is located, if space permits, consider adding a globe for finding referenced geographical locations, a dictionary for difficult or new words, a comfortable chair for reading, and adequate lighting either overhead or alongside the reading area. Be sure to keep this section of the house cool and dry, as heat and moisture can damage books' pages or binding.

5. Add other resources, too. As space and funds permit, include science kits, videos, audiotapes, and other materials that family or friends will enjoy and possibly learn from. Music CD's or DVD's can round out your collection. But don't expand the area into an entertainment room. Keep the emphasis on books and reading, and set a good example for the kids by spending lots of time there yourself.

Creating a home library is one of the best things a parent can do for the family. Besides providing a healthy, convenient, and inexpensive entertainment option, you are giving your kids the gift of knowledge that can last a lifetime, along with supporting their reading habit, which will help them continue to absorb new information through the latest books and magazines.

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