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Seasoned homeschoolers who have amassed a large home library


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Are you glad you have? I'm talking reading books here, not curriculum.

 

Do you find your DC re-reading many of the books? Is it worth the investment of money and space? Or do they turn into clutter that needs dusting and you wish that you had just depended on the library?

 

I am HSing just one at this point and the books are starting to accumulate! We are nearing the end of our bookshelf space and are contemplating built-ins. I strongly dislike clutter and "stuff" but books are one thing I am willing to collect. I just want to know that a large library is worth the investment!

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Worth it for us, and it eventually tapers off. Sort of.

 

At least it did for us (and, I'll admit, this is largely because we have just the one kid). Over the last ten years or so, I've collected hundreds and hundreds of books that might be useful in our studies. And so many of them have. I'll confess to feeling a bit smug when I compiled my list of books for our Ancient Literature class and discovered that we owned every single one. And I got 90% of them at the Friends of the Library used book sales for a dollar each at most.

 

But now that the kid is high-school age, we can start winnowing the collection a bit. I have a pretty good feel for what he'll study and what he'll pay less attention to, so I can be a bit more selective. In our case, for instance, all the math books stay, but I can safely cut back the collection of art history. Waaaay back.

 

And if by reading books you meant books just for pleasure? Then I'd be the biggest hypocrite on the planet if I said to cut down. I wouldn't say I'm veering too close to Burgess Meredith territory, but many might...

Edited by Belacqua
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Some are worth it and some aren't. I have a lot of DK books and many Usborne books and those are worth it. I have a LOT of reading books, and because we live in a country where there isn't a library we can use, it's worth it to us. In the US, we used the library extensively. I have certain books that I will always own--classics, Little House, Anne of Green Gables series, things like that. But, I don't worry too much about others. If there is a book that my dc read that they particularly like, we buy it and find others by the same author and get those as well. Almost all of my books have been bought used for greatly reduced prices online or from sales at the library in the US that we used and homeschool sales.

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Are you glad you have? I'm talking reading books here, not curriculum.

 

Do you find your DC re-reading many of the books? Is it worth the investment of money and space? Or do they turn into clutter that needs dusting and you wish that you had just depended on the library?

 

I am HSing just one at this point and the books are starting to accumulate! We are nearing the end of our bookshelf space and are contemplating built-ins. I strongly dislike clutter and "stuff" but books are one thing I am willing to collect. I just want to know that a large library is worth the investment!

 

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

No.

 

It's worth it because it makes my life easier all the way around. Having the books instead of having to go to the library really helps us. I buy a lot used, so cost really isn't an issue. Since we are schooling several, it seems silly to check out the book over and over.

 

Having lots of books around teaches my kids books are important.

 

Having them on hand means they always have access to great books.

 

Having them on hand means they reread certain books.

 

I don't buy every book they read because some aren't worth having, but I buy the ones that all my kids will read, the classics, the ones worth rereading etc. We love having a vast library of books on hand. It gets a bit hard to keep up with, but it's worth it in my opinion.

 

But yes having the books have been worth it. We did a year of depending only on the library. And I will never do that again. Keeping up with library books for me is more work.And when I figured out I would be doing that same thing every year and keeping up with everyone's books. And we'd be checking out the same book over and over and over. It just seemed too much work.

 

And I found they read more and more often when we owned the books.

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Thrilled. I love my library. I have not nothing that is not worth having. People comment on my collection all the time. I have a good book for every occasion. Books are not clutter for us. We have beautiful built-- in book shelves that are the focus of our home. We do not have a TV in the main living area (there is one in the unfinished basement, and small one in my room). Our main living area is home to a floor- to- ceiling wall of bookshelves. (There are many books in every room, including the kitchen). My ILL program is fabulous, but I still want to have lots of books in our home. (My dh loves books as well, so thankfully there is not a conflict of interest here. :))

Edited by LibraryLover
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I guess I wouldn't say we have a large library but we have a lot of books. I do not regret purchasing the ones we have. My dd reads and reads and reads again. We use our library and she will check out as many as 15 and 4 days later be asking when we will be going again. She will then start reading some that are ours again.:001_smile:

I love books and love to read. Never have enough books.:D

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I used to use the library extensively when we lived in the U.S., and that worked out well. But when we moved overseas, I had to start buying. And I haven't stopped!

 

If I were in America, I would go back to just using the library. I really love the library system in our hometown. But some people really love owning books, or don't have access to a good library system, so I guess it's an individual call.

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We just added two more book cases last month and they're already full. I love my books and have always had quite the personal library. Our base library isn't as useful as those in the states so I really don't have much option other than to buy. that said, there are so many books that I have collected over the years that I often wondered about that are just now starting to get read by the kids. They are pretty much able to go to the shelves and find books on any subject they're curious about. I agree, books aren't "clutter." We all read a lot and have read many of the books several times. Depending on the state in life, they take on a different meaning when read again. I say go for it!

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Totally totally worth it!!! My kids have reread so many books, and read many of the books we never got to. No question it has been worth it. Also, I've been able to bless many friends by loaning boxes of books of different time periods for a year at a time. I love being able to do that. We did lots of Sonlight, so have collected LOTS of books over the years. My girls have each dibsed parts of the library when they have kids of their own :o).

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I do not regret it at all! I hardly find any good books at our libraries ..... they've turned from promoting education to supplying entertainment (don't get me started ..:D) .... so I needed to buy if I wanted any of the Sonlight, VP books or any other books on reading lists recommended by homeschoolers. My dd will re-read books and, while I try not to think of the investment :001_smile:, I don't regret that either.

 

The only books I bought that I found I ended up selling were non-fiction books. I've found very few non-fiction 'classics' and I usually can find this type of book at the library or, if not the exact book I want, an acceptable substitute.

 

I have a Mac and keep all my books catalogued on Bookpedia. It allows me to keep track of the books I loan out, and prevents me from buying something I already have (I'm ashamed to admit it, but it's happened much more than once! :tongue_smilie:)

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I have a decent amount of books. I don't regret them at all. Then again, I don't tend to buy them new. I tend to look for good books at thrift stores, yard sales, used book sales and so on. Sometimes I will buy on Amazon if there are ones I really want for our collection. I don't think you can ever go wrong with books :)

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We have a large home library of books. These are mostly out of print and/orclassics. The 1940's -1960's were the golden age of children's literature. Children used to be fascinated by history and biography series. I find it kind of sad how tastes have changed. So, we collect those types of books along with several anthologies and fun out of print series. We are heavy library users for in print readers we don't believe are pass down worthy. Lots of non-fiction picture books and history books. I use literature rich curriculum though and couldn't teach history without lots of books!

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I love having all of our books. My oldest daughter reads extensively and I cannot keep up with her using solely the library. If she needs a new book, she will peruse what I have on the shelves and read. I recently found her reading Julie of the Wolves of her own accord. I just wish I had room for more.

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I come from a family of book collectors, so there was never a question that I wouldn't collect them. Some of my happiest memories are going into my father's library, starting on a subject and ending up, hours later, in a pile of books. I want my kids to be able to do that too.

 

I am always shocked when I visit someone who has a big house, big income (presumably), even a room that is a "library", and no/very few books. Odd.

Edited by Alessandra
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I have a decent amount of books. I don't regret them at all. Then again, I don't tend to buy them new. I tend to look for good books at thrift stores, yard sales, used book sales and so on. Sometimes I will buy on Amazon if there are ones I really want for our collection. I don't think you can ever go wrong with books :)

 

:iagree:

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I'm going through this right now. We are hoping to move, and are purging with a vengeance. Yesterday we were in the basement, with shelves and shelves and shelves of books. I was near tears. The memories attached to all those silly children's books are so strong. My daughters were helping a lot since they don't have the same attachment, and were putting aside the *keepers*. But still, I see myself in the future...having a house twice this big, with lots of empty bookshelves, and it breaks my heart.

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I love the library that I'm building.

 

I need more shelves and space for shelves though. :lol:

 

I don't think Wolf is going to love my library when it comes time to move though...cause not ONE of them is going bye bye...Diva is 7 yrs older than Tazzie, and Princess is less than 2 yrs younger than Tazzie...so many of these books will come in handy over the years...and I'm not about to get rid of any.

 

Heaven help our moving!! :lol:

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Are you glad you have? I'm talking reading books here, not curriculum.

 

Do you find your DC re-reading many of the books? Is it worth the investment of money and space? Or do they turn into clutter that needs dusting and you wish that you had just depended on the library?

 

I am HSing just one at this point and the books are starting to accumulate! We are nearing the end of our bookshelf space and are contemplating built-ins. I strongly dislike clutter and "stuff" but books are one thing I am willing to collect. I just want to know that a large library is worth the investment!

I notice you have a three year old and a baby. Invest in child-proofing. If you can't stand clutter, I recommend some type of baby-proofed cabinets to store the books. I have many, many books AND a toddler who loves to pull them off our bookshelves. I enjoy having both the toddler and the home library, but together they make a big mess.

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YES!! My kids love that they have plenty of books to choose from if we cannot make it to the library (or it's closed, ours has very limited hours). I have tons of classics on hand that I got at the Goodwill and years of other really great non-twaddle books to choose from. I don't completely ban twaddle from the house but it doesn't stay here long. If they are going to re-read I would rather it's good literature or at the very least well written.

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I notice you have a three year old and a baby. Invest in child-proofing. If you can't stand clutter, I recommend some type of baby-proofed cabinets to store the books. I have many, many books AND a toddler who loves to pull them off our bookshelves. I enjoy having both the toddler and the home library, but together they make a big mess.

 

yes!

 

I have all of the good books on the higher shelves and baskets below to put the 'chubby' books. Of course at 5 she's not ripping pages anymore, but she still looks through them.

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Are you glad you have? I'm talking reading books here, not curriculum.

 

Do you find your DC re-reading many of the books? Is it worth the investment of money and space? Or do they turn into clutter that needs dusting and you wish that you had just depended on the library?

 

I am HSing just one at this point and the books are starting to accumulate! We are nearing the end of our bookshelf space and are contemplating built-ins. I strongly dislike clutter and "stuff" but books are one thing I am willing to collect. I just want to know that a large library is worth the investment!

 

The books many of us love are not always available at the library so yes, it has been worth it to us. I love being able to lend them to friends and love having them around. I do purge them every year or so and give away or sell what I am no longer using. In fact, last year I gave away 6 boxes. It felt great to do that and to also bless those I love. My children are growing and we no longer needed all the little children books. I still have some, but nothing like what we had.

 

I don't buy nearly as many as I once did - I think I felt I had to own everything at one time. :D I now buy what we cannot find elsewhere easily or those books that I think are highly valuable and worth keeping.

 

I think there are seasons for everything. I will likely have many of these books even when my children are grown and on their own. Perhaps they will want them and perhaps they will not, but they make a wonderful wall of education, fantasy, excitement, and wonder in my office. :001_smile:

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I had thousands of books collected over 20+ years of public school teaching and homeschooling. I had tub after tub of books on particulr themes that I used in early education. In October we moved to a home half the size and I have kept only a small fraction. It has been difficult but the realization has been a good one. My son has had a very difficult time learning to read and just is not a book lover. I hope some day he will be but right now it isn't happening. The books that do interest him I have kept or will buy later. For my dd3 I kept some books, but many many more I gave away. There were just more than we could cover and read. She has multiple therapies and we just don't spend hours reading like I did with ds10. It was overwhelming to have so many books to chose from as well. I kept a few favorites but that is it. As she grows I hope she will build her own library otherwise we will just use the public library.

 

I gave away many of the classics. Those our library has multiple copies available for checkout and I can frequently find them in thrift stores and such. Easy to replace. I kept our religious books because religion is of utmost importance to us. I also kept many of our history books about minorities and special groups because those are so difficult to find.

 

Would I amass a large library again? If I had space I could, and most likely would again for myself. But after purging so many books, I don't know if I will ever amass so many again. I feel books are to be read and enjoyed. If they have been on my shelf for many years gathering dust they aren't living the life they were made to live. :) If I was teaching publicly again, I would need those books and would collect them again. Too many people trying to use the same books at the same time makes that a necessity :001_smile:

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Yes and No.

 

I have collected quite a few books in the name of education. Many of which have not attracted the interest of my children, so there they sit gathering dust.

 

At this point in time I follow a few rules:

 

*cheap only, unless there is a direct need for it

*if they don't attract attention after 3-5 years it's time to trade, donate, or gift them

 

I don't regret the books I've bought in the past, but it took me awhile to see that what I find is interesting (almost everything) is not the same as what my children think is interesting (and that doesn't always mean sustained interest). I now see my bookshelves as less permanent places then I did before, and that's been a good thing.

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Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

No.

 

It's worth it because it makes my life easier all the way around. Having the books instead of having to go to the library really helps us. I buy a lot used, so cost really isn't an issue. Since we are schooling several, it seems silly to check out the book over and over.

 

Having lots of books around teaches my kids books are important.

 

Having them on hand means they always have access to great books.

 

Having them on hand means they reread certain books.

 

I don't buy every book they read because some aren't worth having, but I buy the ones that all my kids will read, the classics, the ones worth rereading etc. We love having a vast library of books on hand. It gets a bit hard to keep up with, but it's worth it in my opinion.

 

But yes having the books have been worth it. We did a year of depending only on the library. And I will never do that again. Keeping up with library books for me is more work.And when I figured out I would be doing that same thing every year and keeping up with everyone's books. And we'd be checking out the same book over and over and over. It just seemed too much work.

 

And I found they read more and more often when we owned the books.

 

Ditto this.:001_smile:

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Our home library is the best thing we have ever done for our dc's education. You can search and find studies done on the effect of books in the home. It is an important factor in literacy.

 

I built our library through gifts, library book sales, used book stores (often seashellbooks.com,) and our curriculum budget. Most of the books in our library cost under $1.00.

 

I made a list of all the classic books I wanted in our home many years ago. I update it and carry it with me to book sales. I have pretty much every classic book on every book list we use, which makes it very easy. We already check so much non-fiction out of the library, so it's nice to already have our reference works and our literature here.

 

My dc re-read many books. The home library also alleviates the issues of them reading books I don't want them to or twaddle. They can choose whatever book they want for free reading, but I know that what they choose will be of value, because that's all we have here.

 

The one drawback was moving them all to our new home. :D If I moved often and didn't get relocation help, I wouldn't have such a big library, I don't think.

 

The only funny thing is when we have new people over who aren't homeschoolers, and I forget how odd a home library is around here until I see them staring. :D

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I have no regrets about having a large home library. I have a small collection compared to some other posters. Ironically, my ds is not a big reader, but he needs something I can find it on my shelves. We just moved and most of my books are still in storage. I find myself missing them. I have several things I've been wanting to look up in the last few weeks and alas my books are 900 miles away.

 

I'm not sure how all the books are going to fit in our new house, but I'll work it out. :lol:

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I cannot imagine having a house that is not filled with books. There are bookshelves in our schoolroom, in our great room, in each bedroom, and soon there will be some in our dining room that we are converting to a sitting room. They are all full, and ds is even asking for another bookshelf. My kids LOVE books (as do I), and I vowed I would do all I could when they were younger to get them to this point. :) I'm so grateful they have both caught on to the book bug!

 

Like others, we buy almost all our books used, so the investment has not been as substantial as it could be. Ds1 is starting to re-read some of his books, but he's also amassing his own library of fiction and NF (with my approval as I don't want twaddle everywhere).

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Are you glad you have? I'm talking reading books here, not curriculum.

 

Do you find your DC re-reading many of the books? Is it worth the investment of money and space? Or do they turn into clutter that needs dusting and you wish that you had just depended on the library?

 

 

 

Totally worth it for us! My dc will read and re-read favorite books and it's wonderful that they only have to go downstairs to browse through the books to find something they want to read.

 

It hasn't turned into clutter here (now, their toys are a totally 'nother story!) but only because we have a devoted library room and they're only allowed 4 books out a a time so we don't end up w/ books all over the house, or lost in their rooms, etc. If we didn't have that rule, I can't imagine what things would look like. . .

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We have a large library and love it. I shipped all my books when we moved to the US from Europe; a large part stems from when I was a high school/college student and had lots of time to read.

The kids have their own collections, both love to read and re-read favorites.

We definitely need more shelves!

Since the books are accumulating over time, they are not a major financial issue. I buy mostly used these days (library sales are great!), with exceptions for must-haves and presents - most of the packages under out Christmas tree were books this year.

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Yes, I think it's very worth it and I love having all of these books available. Our kids read most of them and even if they don't, perhaps my grandchildren will! I like to read children's books myself, though. I would do it again and be as choosy about what I buy and keep as I am right now. I'm in a good, particular, and frugal place right now when it comes to books. LOL

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I *adore* books, but wish I hadn't amassed so many. My kids didn't re-read any except their favorites. And lots of the history or science books I got in advance - for whenever we got around to doing that topic - didn't apply to what we wanted to do, so we ended up at the library anyway.

 

We move a lot, too. Perhaps if we had stayed in the house we were in when I began our hs library I would feel differently. But we've moved 3 times in the last 5 years. I have sold, donated, or given to friends, well over 1000 books in the last 5 years. I finally feel we have a manageable number of books - I actually have empty space on my shelves. Yay.

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I *adore* books, but wish I hadn't amassed so many. My kids didn't re-read any except their favorites. And lots of the history or science books I got in advance - for whenever we got around to doing that topic - didn't apply to what we wanted to do, so we ended up at the library anyway.

 

We move a lot, too. Perhaps if we had stayed in the house we were in when I began our hs library I would feel differently. But we've moved 3 times in the last 5 years. I have sold, donated, or given to friends, well over 1000 books in the last 5 years. I finally feel we have a manageable number of books - I actually have empty space on my shelves. Yay.

:iagree:

This is me! We move a lot... our books were weighing us down. (I can't believe I just said that - LOL). We gave away at least 1000 books in the last couple of years, and now we're only keeping the ones that really mean something to us. My husband and I both got Kindles this year, and this Christmas we bought e-readers for the girls. There just isn't enough room for everything we want to read.

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I love books, too! We have a jillion books but the kids don't really do much re-reading.

 

We use to use the library a lot - the librarians loved us. But we moved to a different state in a teeny tiny town with a teeny tiny library and my dh said, just buy the books honey.

 

So I went a little crazy and bought books that we wanted, needed, or might need. Now we have too many books (wow, can't believe I actually wrote that).

 

I have joined Paperback Swap and gotten rid of many books that I didn't want anymore but I seem to have harder time letting go of the children's books that are gathering dust on 6 tall bookshelves. We could probably be just fine with half of them.

 

Sometimes I think that I have ruined the "specialness" of books because we have so many lying around, does that make sense? When I was a kid, we had two bookshelves at home. I owned maybe six of those books. And I read and re-read and re-read those books and I loved it. I don't really see my own kids doing that.

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Thanks for all the replies! What I'm getting here is most are happy with their large libraries unless:

 

1. They move a lot

2. Their children aren't big readers

 

We don't plan on moving much (just did last year) and my oldest is a voracious reader. So according to that, a big library would be a good idea for us. I guess we'll start planning those built-ins. :001_smile: Any recommendations for the ideal shelves? Maybe that should be its own thread.

 

Also appreciated the point a couple made that their fiction got read a lot more than non-fiction. Would another way to say this is that living books get read more?

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Are you glad you have?
Not really. :tongue_smilie: I am a book addict, and the amount of books around here has become a clutter issue. My kids do not routinely go looking through all the great books to decide to read about Trees or Caterpillars or the Vikings. They are more likely to choose those out of the public library, especially since while there, I can say, "Choose at least one science book and at least one history book." I've tried a few techniques to try and get more reading happening with all those books, but have not hit upon a method that works well. If I lay them out, I get tired of them looking messy. If I set them up so their covers face out, they still get ignored.

 

If we were moving, I would probably cut 75% of my non-fiction schooly books, much as it would hurt to consider it.

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Also appreciated the point a couple made that their fiction got read a lot more than non-fiction. Would another way to say this is that living books get read more?

 

This might be the key to the variety of opinions. Most of our library is fiction, with just a few key non-fiction books on each subject. I can't see my dc re-reading most non-fiction books that we read from the library, so I don't stock those here. They do use the non-fiction books we have constantly, though, as they are more reference books or overviews of topics.

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Any recommendations for the ideal shelves? Maybe that should be its own thread.

 

 

 

What worked for us was shelving boards from Lowe's or Home Depot (they're white melamine with a rounded front edge and come in 8 ft or 10 ft sections I think). We cut those to length and used white L shelf brackets. We made the spacing between the shelves high enough to accommodate the tallest books and then just put as many as would fit on the wall. They're not beautiful, but for the space we had, it was the easiest and most cost effective way to put up a lot of shelves.

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I don't think I'm really seasoned yet, but we have a lot of books. For one thing, we have a lot of kids, so if ea one only reads ea book once, that's four reads/book.

 

But also, I don't see books as merely a source of information for the curious. I also see them as a source of curiosity--iow, they can sate an appetite, but they can also whet it.

 

My kids learn more when they have more books to look through on a subject. The early 20th c leads to the bio of a particular inventor which leads to a science book about static electricity which leads to how copy machines work.

 

And any time I pack or reorganize my books, when they get pulled off the shelf en masse, all. four. of my kids will spend hours swimming in the piles, exclaiming delightedly over their "finds."

 

If reading is a treasure hunt & a discovery, well, there have to be enough books to create that sense of searching & adventure, kwim?

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They are worth every bit of space and every penny. I'm glad we have them. That said we are getting brutal about what is truly worth keeping and what we can live without. Give to friends, donate to charities, library, garage sales etc. Of course the collection is still in the thousands. It is our one big group vice.

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I have a 6 year gap between my older and younger sons. I kept books and was glad that I did because not only did a lot of good books go out of print, but our library culled a lot of books that were written pre-1980's and most of them were OOP, making it hard for me to find them online to purchase when I wanted to use them again. There's always ILL, but you can't always rely on getting a book that way, don't know how long it will take, etc., etc.

 

While our library may have replaced the books they culled with newer books that are just as good, they also replaced their online card catalog with one that is so bad even the librarians don't use it when trying to find books. So there are tons of books on their shelves now that never get checked out because you can't find them in doing searches of their catalog, no matter what sort of search you try. It's just a very flawed system.

 

So I would have had to start completely over again from scratch if I had not had a base of books for my younger son.

 

Additionally now, there are growing concerns at libraries all over with things such as bed bugs in the books. I certainly have not stopped using my library, but I can envision that if a problem developed here there might be a period of time when we might not have access to books and I'd not like to be held hostage like that. Budget cuts in some cities have also meant closure of some library systems or curtailing of hours, etc. and I just wouldn't want to be in the middle of a school year and find my style cramped by something like that.

 

Now that my younger son is getting older, I am beginning to cull books as we go through them one more time, but I still have plenty! I may go through them and continue to cull as he gets older; I don't know. Some of those that are OOP I have trouble thinking of letting go.....

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