September 12, 2011


When a library closes it is always a sad thing, don't you think?  Our city used to have two branches, but decided to close one because of budget issues.  They had a book sale several weeks back and I kicked myself at the time because I found out about it literally 20 minutes after the sale had ended.  Apparently though, there were still many books remaining and this past Friday and Saturday they had another sale; 25 cents for all children's books.  Seriously, 25 cents.

I hate that the library closed, but since we homeschool I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and see if there was still anything left worth purchasing.  I'm happy to report that I had pretty good luck and managed to come home with a few treasures.  Truthfully, the children's section was pretty well picked over.  I'll mention that the library had allowed all the school teachers in the area first pick of books when the library closure was initially announced.  I'm glad for that.  With all the budget cuts, schools here are hurting and it seems fair that they should get first pick.  I still managed to find 29 books to bring home, almost all hardcovers.  Here are just a few of the books I found:

Plus, no little boy's library would be complete without a book about Giant Earth-Moving Equipment:

I also found, and this was not in the children's section, a set of encyclopedias on the earth and physical sciences.  Cost?  Only $15.  Honestly, I could not believe they were still there.  They are brand new and in absolutely beautiful condition.  When I really think about that, it makes me sad.  I don't think anyone ever used them.  As soon as I came home I did a search to see what they might be worth.  It turns out that this particular set goes for around $100.  It is hard to find a complete set though, and most of the listings I found had the individual volumes sold separately.  The set I purchased is the first edition and was published in 1998, but still completely relevant.  Most of what is covered in these books is information that will not be changing over time.  The newest edition, which was published in 2005, goes for anywhere between $650 to $715, which is certainly out of our price range.  At least, I would not consider buying encyclopedias at that price, not at this time.  Gabe loves them already:

and I know they will be well-used in the coming years.

We are just starting to build our home library.  While we love to visit the library and check-out books, I also want our children to grow up around books and to be able to pull a story from the shelf whenever they feel.  I don't mind buying books new, but I don't mind them used either.  The ones I purchased this past weekend were in varying conditions.  Mostly it was the covers of the books that were worn (but a lot of the books have those clear covers common to library books; I plan on keeping them on for protection). The pages of the books themselves were all in excellent condition, no rips and very little writing in any of the pages.  Even though I didn't find as much as I had hoped, I am so happy for what I did find.

Do you have a home library?  How have you gone about building it?  Any tips would be appreciated.  I'll share my tip, you can search for library sales in your area by visiting this website, Book Sale Finder.  I plan on keeping my eyes open for future sales, but I wonder if there are any other secrets to be had... if you have any, please share!


  1. I LOVE book sales! As a homeschooling mom, we have TONS of books! I have already outgrown my space and am trying to figure out where the next book location is going to be in my home! Seeing as we are only on year three of homeschooling . . . I have a long way to go and need to make more room! I can't part with a good book! The homeschool group I am involved in at church put on a used book sale for the first time this past summer. Moms that were done homeschooling or done with the younger children's books sold their stuff at rock bottom prices. I got Draw Write Now books for under a dollar and tons of Scholastic books for 25 cents each! It was an exciting day for me! I came home with 50 books! Maybe you and a few friends could organize one for all of the homeschool support groups in your area next summer. We invited other churches homeschool groups and various charter school groups--we had a great turnout!

  2. We aren't homeschoolers, but we do have several thousand pounds of books (they regularly get us in trouble with the TMO office when we move to a new base). We also check out about 25-30 picture books a week, so I know where you're coming from : ) Because our families are all book people (teachers, librarians, etc.) we have grown our library through the years receiving books as gifts; there are other places that sell discounted books (Daedulus Books is one) that you can stock up on interesting titles.

    I read a lot of book review blogs, and I am a passionate advocate for where I get/give all sorts of very specific recommendations to both check out of the library and buy. We also follow awards lists very carefully—Caldecott and Newbery winners are the top awards, but there are so many others, too—love to buy award books because they are usually worthy of them, which translates into timeless and wonderful.

    Does your mom save your books from when you were little? Both Matt and I have a lot of our childhood books in our home library, and those came to us for free : )

  3. Brenda, I haven't been able to make good contact with homeschoolers in my area. It's something I'm working on, but honestly I'm having a bit of a hard time with it (not giving up though). The type of book sale you attended is a great idea though, a win-win for both the sellers and buyers.

    Sadly, we didn't have too many books growing up. I honestly don't know why that is. I do remember my parents taking us to the library often, but then as we entered school that tapered off. What I did have though, yes, my parents have sent to me.

    And 25-30 picture books per week! You know, Gabe is not so much into reading lots and lots of stories. He seems to like to read the same ones over and over again, like he's studying them. Also, right now he is very much into the Wright brothers and space travel. The books we've been reading lately are a little more in-depth and detailed (and probably over his head), but he enjoys reading about these subjects and so we indulge him. =) I'm sure the day will come though when he plows through books and I suppose I'm just trying to prepare for those days. :)

  4. Library book sales are amazing. I used to get TONS of stuff. I'd keep some, and donate some to the preschool where I work, and my synagogue. My kids are basically past picture book stage, so I've had to water down our collection to make room for chapter books. But some will stay forever in our library.


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