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If you love books, it’s likely that creating a home library on a budget is something you’ll need to do unless you have unlimited funds and can just add books with wild abandon. (Dream come true!)When there are just so many good books what is a book lover to do?
Well, with some intention and thought, creating a home library on a budget that everyone in your home can enjoy can be fun, not break the bank and leave you some walking room too.
Keeping good books around is a vital part of encouraging kids to read. The better stocked your library, the more likely they are to pick them up and want to read them. The more they want to read them, the better readers they’ll be. They are the stories that help them fall asleep, and the books they reach for at story time. But it isn’t just the quantity of books–the quality of the books matters too.
Our home libraries are usually a combination of books we enjoy, books that show off what we aspire to be, and books that project what we want others to think about us as well. Building it can also reflect who you are at a given time, what your interests are and what phase of life you’re in.
When you get the right books in your library, they can become the books you treasure and go back to again and again.
Simon Sinek is famous for helping entrepreneurs discover why they are in business and why they exist. It helps you figure out what you’re doing and move forward.
Well, the same can be said for your home library. These are a few questions you can ask yourself:
Why do you want one?
Why are you building it?
Who is it for?
What purpose will it serve?
The answers don’t need to be too deep. There isn’t a department of home libraries giving out permits or licenses. This is your thing, and it can be whatever you want, for whatever reasons you want. But, having an idea of what you do want, will help you not go crazy and buy everything you see just because it’s there.
My library of books has been a work in progress for most of my life. I’ve always loved books and had a large collection. But, when I left home for college I left most of them behind, as many people do. Then my parents moved, and most of them were “lost.” So, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life building my collection back up, adding favorites and finding new ones.
I want to have a home library filled with books from my childhood and teen years that I want my kids to read too. Maybe to pass on to them or my grandchildren some day. I want to be able to pick up a book at any time and be reasonably sure I’ll like it. It is for me and my family–perhaps my kids even more than myself–because I want them to love reading and have a varied collection.
See, not too difficult or deep. Once you know why you’re building a library, it’s easier to know what to add and be more selective about the books you’re choosing. This helps you save money by not wasting it on books you’re unlikely to enjoy.
When building my library, now I often go for quality over quantity. But, that has not always been the case. When my kids were little we were reading so many stories all of the time that I would often pick up anything that looked interesting or thought they may like just to give us more variety. Especially inexpensive ones. My goal was to have as many books as possible.
But, now my goal is to be a bit more careful in choosing and think about what my kids and I will enjoy rather than just adding a book because it was $2. Which is fine, because libraries aren’t stagnant. They should be constantly changing and growing depending on what stage of life you’re in, what the purpose of your library is, and what your current needs are.
When it comes to choosing books for your library, go back to your purpose and what types of books you like.
Are you a fan of mysteries? Of fiction, non-fiction, classics or romance? Do you want a large, varied collection, or a smaller more specialized one? All of these choices are up to you and what you want because your library is yours!
So, now you know what kind of books you want, and why you want to go about creating a home library. But, how do you do it without breaking the bank?
There are lots ways to go about it, but I’ll talk about just a few.
Remember when I said up there that I used to get LOTS of kids books? That was mostly through Scholastic Book Clubs. They have such great deals on books that it can be hard NOT to go crazy and get everything. Just remember your why. (Which, if it is to have as many books as possible, go as crazy as you want!) They’re a great budget-friendly option!
The books I am most likely to get are classics, award winners and popular series for my kids. That way I know they’ll be good quality, and they’re books I really want my kids to read. We are currently getting a monthly subscription box of books that I, and my girls LOVE, which helps us diversify and get books we wouldn’t normally find for ourselves too–but can return if they aren’t something we want to keep.
For myself, I rarely buy a book that I’m unsure of. I’ve either read it before, or I’ve read a sample and was intrigued by the story, or I’ve read a book by the same author and can reasonably assume I’ll like their other books too. I do pick up classic works that I haven’t read, but want in my collection because I feel like they should be there. I’ve gone through several of them during the past six months, so I’m happy I had them.
It isn’t very often that I buy a book at full price either. I love discount and second hand book sellers. They keep great books in circulation, and I get to add more books that I really want to my library for a great price.
Also, you don’t have to get everything at once either. Sometimes I forget this little fact and want sooooooo many. That’s why I keep a list in the notes app on my phone. I can search for books I want and add them when I have a bit extra in my book budget that month.
Once you’re creating your library, space is definitely a factor. Even when you’re careful, adding too many books can be a problem if you have a small area. Having many different places for books can help with this. A bookcase in multiple rooms, shelves on the walls, or even in a basket.
And if they really are getting too unmanageable, it could be time for a book culling. Go through your books and pull out any that you just really don’t want anymore. Maybe you read it and didn’t love it. Or can’t even remember why or where you got it in the first place. Donating your books to the library or a charity is a great option. Or selling them to a secondhand book store can be even better.
As you create your home library, just remember the two most important things to think about are why you want a library at home and the types of books you want in it. With the answers to these questions in mind, you’ll be able to create an awesome home library over time that you and your family will love.
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