You don’t need to have the Beast’s palace library to make a home library. When you make reading a priority for your children, a home library is essential. Plus, a home library helps kids become lifelong readers!
I’m taking off my teacher hat and putting on my parent hat today and sharing our family’s experience with small spaces, book organization, book storage, book curation, and decor. I’ll share how you can make a cozy, useful home library for kids that will get them to read more books more often.
How to Build a Home Library
When children have access to books, research proves that they’ll be better readers. They’ll also be more successful at school. You don’t have to own a lot of books, you just need to set up your home library up for success with systems that work for your space and family.
That being said, there are studies like this one from 42 countries and this study in Science Direct that say the bigger a family’s home library, the more educated the child will be. I know we can all agree that a home filled with books makes a positive difference in the life of a child.
It’s interesting to note that owning books seems to make a difference. That isn’t realistic for most of us for space and financial reasons, but it is worth making sure your children have books of their own. That’s why I support reading nonprofits like Reach Out and Reach and Reading Is Fundamental, an organization that gives kids books at their doctor’s appointments.
What are the Benefits of a Home Library?
- Encourages reading
- Encourages discussions about books
- Improves literacy
- Builds vocabulary
- Helps children’s performance academically (and test scores and grades)
- Boosts adult skills
What’s the Best Way to Organize Your Home Library?
I recommend that you have more than one mini home library. Yes, libraries. Multiple spots with books. Then, you can have manageable areas for kids. Kids can see the books and move around the house. Consider having a mini-library in a shared living space and in a child’s bedroom.
Always put library books in the same spot. Then you won’t be like me and lose track of them and pay fines for overdue books. (Which many libraries aren’t charging anymore– phew!)
Rotate books by season and holiday. This means you may need a place to store books you aren’t using. Make sure they’re clearly labeled.
Group books by topic and type or reading level. Picture books in one area. Chapter books in another. Animal books in one area. Mystery books in another.
Keep books in a series together in one area. And I like to keep books by one author grouped together, also.
Some people like to arrange books by color. It looks pretty. But for me, I find it hard to find whatever book I’m looking for. Do what works for you, though.
Provide a variety of books. You’ll want your readers to read lots of books, both fiction and nonfiction, and picture books for as long as possible. (I highly recommend not starting chapter books too young because often kids drop reading picture books. Which are so valuable and can be read even when children are reading chapter books.)
Occasionally, leave book piles lying around. It works! Your kids, even your older kids, will pick up the books and start reading. (Mwhahahaha!)
Consider Decor and Furniture
Provide cozy reading seating. Whether a bean bag, chair, or big pillow, kids love curling up with a good book in a comfortable spot.
Add in cozy decor, too. Lamps are my favorite for a cozy feel. Little tables are great. Posters are fun. Kids love it when their reading areas are cute and playful.
What Are the Best Book Storage Options?
If you’re like me and you don’t have the Beast’s library with a moving ladder and sky-high shelves, you need to get creative about your furniture. Especially if you don’t live in a house with built-in bookshelves. (One can dream!)
Finding bookshelves at a child’s height is very important. Kids can’t reach tall bookshelves — and you need to be sure that tall bookshelves are attached to the wall and won’t fall.
Consider if the child can see the book covers. It helps books get picked! Don’t pack the books in so tight that kids can’t see the book covers.
- Bookshelves (short)
- Plastic tubs
- Canvas Storage Bins
- Wooden crates (careful for splinters!)
- IKEA spice rack shelves
- Montessori book display shelf
Where Can You Find Books for Your Home Library?
Where can you find books for your home library?
- Library (+ library sales, which are my favorite!)
- Yard sales (be cautious you’re not buying dated books your kids won’t like)
- Thrift stores (again, be careful of old books because of mold which can be toxic)
- Holiday gifts
- School book orders (these are THE BEST) and school book fairs
- Summer reading programs
- Dolly Parton Imagination Library
- Little Free Libraries
- Giveaways from book bloggers
- Facebook Marketplace
Curating Good Books
I have book lists for all ages, genres, and most topics! I never recommend a book that I haven’t read and don’t endorse. Read the reviews to help you start picking out books to share with your children.
Kids will have their own opinions. Just like us. They’ll love some books and think others are “meh.” All this to say, go with your child’s preferences. Choice means more reading.
Printable Home Library Checklist
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