Monday, May 21, 2007

Building a home library

Three words say it all: Library Book Sales. Here in Massachusetts these sales are abundant. Libraries or library societies sell used books that are either donated or withdrawn from the library stacks (the so-called ex-library books.) Children’s books are usually lowest in price—typically $.25 - $1.00 per book, paperback at the lower end, hardcover at the upper end. Sometimes books are priced by hand, or nice old books are sold separately at higher prices (book dealers frequent these sales as well.) At these prices, building a large library is quite affordable.

Of course you get whatever happens to be there. For non-fiction, I don’t find this to be much of a problem for younger children. (As for fiction, skip the abundance of twaddle you’ll find; classics are common at these sales.) Non-fiction twaddle still contains facts, even if it is not literary and not as engaging. You might just pick up a vintage ex-library that you would never have looked at otherwise and find it to be a real gem. It might even be part of a series, and then you’re on the hunt for others in the series at subsequent book sales. You might even start looking at used book sites, like The next thing you know, you’re a bibliophile in need of more bookshelves!

As the At Home Science catalogue grows I will be entering more ratings and reviews. Anything with 5 stars is something for which I would pay full price (though I rarely do!) It’s the kind of book that will remain permanently on our shelves; the kind of book that would make me gasp loudly for joy should I ever see it at a library book sale (I did that when I dug into an unopened box under a table and about three books down I found Holling C. Holling’s Pagoo. I gave it to one of the other moms I was with that did not have that title yet.) Some of the books have wonderful pictures, others great activities, still others good facts if never read aloud.

And there’s twaddle, too, I admit it. I’ll donate those to my local library when my kids have outgrown them. They’ll have 1 star beside them.

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