7 Ways to Grow Your Home Library on a Budget

a little free library stands open for browsing

We have read the research and we know how important it is to raise our children in a print-rich environment. The number of books a family has in their home is linked to academic achievement. But building a library can be an expensive venture. No one can afford to go out and buy several hundred books at once.

With planning and patience, you can slowly grow your library over time. Before you buy, know what to look for so that you spend wisely. The following books have helpful book lists:

  • The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
  • Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt
  • Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin
  • Reading Magic by Mem Fox

Create a wish list of the titles you would like to add to your library, and then start your book hunt!

1. Borrow from the Public Library

Do not overlook the obvious. One simple way to surround your children with fantastic books is to visit your public library weekly. Put a book basket in the playroom, family room, and your child's bedroom and fill them with library books. Voila! A free and ever-changing library.

2. Swap with Friends

A simple way to refresh your library at no cost is to get all of your mom friends together and hold a book swap. Donate a book, take a book, and chat about raising readers with your friends. 

3. Give Books as Gifts

Tired of noisy, plastic toys? You are not alone. Why not suggest a family book-giving tradition? Ask grandparents, aunts, and uncles to give a beloved book with an inscription for each holiday and birthday. You'll be building your bookshelf and making memories!

4. Shop Library Book Sales

7 Ways to Grow Your Home Library on a BudgetMost libraries hold semi-annual book sales. The savings are incredible, and you will be supporting the community. Libraries know the best books to buy, but they ultimately run out of shelf space or discard books that are somewhat damaged. You can trust that the books at library sales are good ones!

5. Browse Used Book Stores

Used bookstores are often overlooked, but they are fantastic. Build your library with gently used books at a fraction of the cost. Many used bookstores offer a discount if you donate your own unwanted books.

Don't have a used bookstore nearby? Check out Better World Books online. You'll be saving money and helping to support global literacy.

6. Invest in Homeschool Curriculum that Builds Your Library

Instead of buying a curriculum that relies heavily on textbooks, workbooks, and computer programs, choose a literature-based program with dozens of living books. Not only can you enjoy them for homeschool lessons, but they will enrich your home library for years of reading enjoyment.

7. Go Thrifting

Thrift stores and yard sales often have more books than they know what to do with. It is wonderful when you stumble upon a yard sale where books are being sold for under a dollar!

Building your library takes planning and patience. Keep your eye on the prize; you will get there slowly but surely! Books are an investment that will pay off later. Giving your child the gift of books will help her to grow socially, emotionally, and cognitively. A strong reading foundation will help your child academically and will encourage a love of learning. That is priceless!

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