Creating A Home Library on a Budget

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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.

Why is a home library important?

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.

Knowing your why

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.

Choosing books for your home library

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!

How to build a library on a budget

childrens books

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.

Finding Space for Your Books

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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  1. Anisa | 17th Sep 20

    Thank you so much for many ideas about how to create a home library on a budget. I love reading, and I haven’t updated my library in years! Its time to change it. 🙂 It was a very inspirational post.

  2. Leeandra | 21st Sep 20

    I love reading physical books and would love to create a home library someday! Thanks for the tips!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 21st Sep 20

      Me too. Physical books are by far my favorite. It’s only been in the last couple of years that I got an actually “library.” Brit it’s always just been in several different bookshelves, boxes and stacks all over the place.

  3. Mariah French | 21st Sep 20

    This is great advice! I’ve recently looked into subscription boxes to get books in Spanish for my son. I’m hoping it will be cheaper!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 21st Sep 20

      Oh, that’s a great idea! They can be hard to find, but scholastic has a pretty good selection for younger kids.

  4. Holly | 21st Sep 20

    What a great idea! A home library would be great especially with these money saving tips!

  5. Megan | 21st Sep 20

    I have no self control when my kids bring home a Scholastic book order form from school!

    • Kirsten Reeder | 21st Sep 20

      Oh goodness, agreed! It was even worse because I was the book order person for the preschool and so got extra rewards!

  6. Lisa | 21st Sep 20

    I have a lot of recipe books. This is a great way to start a library of them. Thanks

    • Kirsten Reeder | 21st Sep 20

      Lol, I totally hear that one!

  7. Jill DeMasi | 21st Sep 20

    Such great ideas for building a library in your home. I like going to discount book stores and book fairs to stock up!

  8. Tiffany Smith | 21st Sep 20

    I love reading! Home library all the way!!!

  9. Beth | 21st Sep 20

    We were told once that we had more books than anyone they’d ever known. Both my husband and I are bookworms but a lot of those books were from our childhood or were books we used in teaching. Now we are weeding it out but we use the public library a lot and buy only what we will read more than once.

  10. Brianna | 21st Sep 20

    We highly value books in this house. Thank you for this information I think it’s a great idea to have a home library

  11. Sabrina DeWalt | 21st Sep 20

    We are preparing to move cross-country, so getting rid of a lot of stuff. My husband (a bit of a hoarder) offered to get rid of a large portion of his library to help with the downsizing effort. I refused. While it is so easy and convenient to get books online and audiobooks, there is just something special about actually picking up a book to read.

  12. Ashley Pacheco | 21st Sep 20

    I love the treasure hunt of good books! And curating your library is so fun! Great tips.

  13. Chelsea | 22nd Sep 20

    I love physical books and one day hope to have one of those libraries with a ladder on wheels so I can just roll along to the book I want LOL! I shop at our $5 or less used book store in town to get a lot the books we want to read.

  14. Sydney Delong | 22nd Sep 20

    I love this! I have so many books, but never thought of it as a home library. I would love to have a dedicated spot in our home we are building for my home library now!

  15. Alyssa | 22nd Sep 20

    Great ideas! Thank you for sharing!

  16. Debbie | 22nd Sep 20

    Home libraries add such warmth!!

  17. Lisa Manderino | 22nd Sep 20

    We love books and I got so mad at my library because they would want to charge me $25 if a kid accidently tore a page that I said I wouldn’t go back and just starting buying books and making my own library!

  18. Kristin | 22nd Sep 20

    We love books! And a lot of people will give you stacks of great books for free as they’re just trying to get them out of their house. Being around a lot of books is an excellent way to encourage kids to become readers.

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  20. Elaina | 22nd Sep 20

    These are great resources! We love reading at our house. The problem now is finding space for them all.

  21. Maria Gustafsson | 23rd Sep 20

    I love books. Building a library is a wonderful idea!

  22. Ramae | 23rd Sep 20

    I have found most of my home library books at garage sales and thrift stores. I also buy them online secondhand. It’s hard to beat garage sales though … 25 cents a book usually!

  23. Barbara | 23rd Sep 20

    Great resources! My love of reading has never escaped me!

  24. Marianne | 24th Sep 20

    Amazing resources! I have passed on my love of books to 3 out of 4 children (the last one takes after Hubby who can’t seem to get into a book – weirdos!). We also have the problem of now figuring out where to store all the books we accumulate!

  25. Jessica | 24th Sep 20

    Never enough books in my opinion, but it can really really expensive. These are great tips!

  26. Cindy Mailhot | 25th Sep 20

    I love books! I will admit that I am trying to weed out the library though.

  27. Alice | 27th Sep 20

    I have a ton of books both from my childhood and from college and grad school. Right now most are in boxes which I’ve hauled from place to place since my divorce. Once again I’m packing up my books for another move. Maybe this time I will unpack them.

  28. Cindy Moore | 27th Sep 20

    Great ideas for creating your own personal library! I love books. I don’t have as much time to read now as I used to but I still love my books.

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