This is part 2 of this series. To read the first post on the importance of building a family library, click here.
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Creating a family library is easy. You don't need to live in a Victorian manor with a separate room devoted to floor-to-ceiling shelves, although that would be nice.
Something like this, perhaps?
For those of us who, sadly, do not live in Victorian manor houses, we must find a space for our libraries. Pinterest is replete with images and ideas. Here are some of my top picks.
I love how Catz in the Kitchen repurposes wall space in a main living area with these awesome built-ins. The cabinets would be the perfect place to store crafting and school supplies! She even has a great tutorial with lots of images.
Although not as "pretty" as some ideas, the practicality of these under-the-stairs bookshelves makes me truly happy. Having a small living space, I love economical use of space.
Turn unused closet space into a library / book nook combined. Or, for the confirmed bibliophile, don't put in the bench seating for a walk-in library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
If I actually had an unused closet, I'd do this.
I have been dreaming of recessed shelving for several years, but so far no luck with hubby and I'm not brave enough to try it alone. But, just imagine the possibilities! I mean, there are walls literally in every room of my house. Do you know how many books we could own?! I would no longer need to practice any restraint when it comes to buying books!
Hmmm...maybe hubby knows me all too well and, thus, his lack of excitement about this idea.
Whatever space you can use, make it appealing and accessible.
When I first started collecting books and we didn't own many, I used sturdy plastic baskets kept on the floor of the living room and kids' rooms for all of our picture books. This was ideal at that time because all of my children were young and either non-readers or emergent readers. It certainly made the books accessible to them!
Our family library has grown and we own too many books to keep in baskets. Currently we use our downstairs hallway. It's lined with bookshelves that are labeled: Historical fiction (subdivided by time period), classics, fiction, biographies, science, history, DIY/reference/cookbooks, Biblical instruction, picture books, library materials. Picture books are always kept at toddlers' eye level.
We keep floor pillows handy so that a a comfy reading space can be created anywhere.
Once you've re-purposed a space, you can begin to fill it. You will be amazed, once you start looking, how easy it is to build a library. And it doesn't have to be expensive. Here are some places you can look:
Although it's not always the least expensive place to grow our library, homeschool conferences, such as the Teach Them Diligently Conference, are the best places to find new faith-based literature, whether fiction or non-fiction. This is how our family discovered Chuck Black's Kingdom series (this is, hands down, the best series for teenage boys!), as well as Lamplighter fiction and audio dramas.
Another great way to build your library is through gifts. Easter, Christmas and birthdays are all great opportunities to increase your child's exposure to books.
We started the tradition many years ago of giving books for Christmas and have continued it to this day. Sometimes it is a book or series the child has enjoyed and wants to own so they can read and re-read it; other times it is the first book in a new series that I think they might enjoy based on past series they have liked; sometimes it is nonfiction on a topic in which they are interested. These LEGO books have always been a big hit for my Master Builders and provided much inspiration and hours of enjoyment!
Do you have a family library? I would love to hear how you build your family library!
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