Do you have a home reference library for children?
Although we tend to ask Google when we want the answer to a question nowadays, information books offer a wealth of learning for children. Even if your kids are not reading yet, reference books full of interesting pictures are fascinating for children to browse. The illustrations can spark interests, new passions and a desire to learn even more.
Setting up an in home library for reference material is a great way to encourage reading, wondering and investigating, and is easy – and affordable – to create a library for children.
Here are my tips on how to set up a home reference library – for free!
Library for Children
- Start with what you already have. We initially set up our in home library for zero cost, simply by gathering together what we already had. Think wider than just encyclopedia and include all different kinds of reference material that you already have at home: old college books, DIY manuals, recipe books, car and appliance manuals, maps, gardening books and leaflets from places you’ve visited all provide a rich and varied source of information for your children to dip into.
- Be a borrower. The library is of course the perfect place to get books on loan, especially when your children get a sudden interest on one specific topic, but think about where else you can borrow books for free. Grandparents are always good to ask, but you could also set up your own book loan system amongst friends, to circulate the books you have. And try asking professionals you know, such as your doctor, car mechanic or plumber, if they have books you could borrow.
- Shop carefully. Lots of our reference books come from thrift stores. Yard sales, school fairs, and the second-hand section on Amazon are other good places to pick up great books inexpensively.
In Home Library
Here are some ways to encourage kids to use your newly created library for children:
Make it a special place. Even though most of the books in our reference library are ones we already had around the home, gathering them together on a special library shelf made them much more interesting and accessible to my kids.
Make it inviting. Make sure there is somewhere cosy to sit awhile once you’ve picked your book. A book nook, a sofa or just some cushions invite library visitors settle down for lots more reading. I also open up one of the books every couple of days to display the illustrations inside – which always catches the children’s eyes and entices them to come for a closer look.
Make it fun. Adding play to your library can make the reading much more fun. Make the Best of Things have a DIY library kit you could use. And Rebecca has some great ideas for setting up a home book club.
What’s your top tip to encourage reading in your home?
Here are some more kids activities to make your library for children even more interactive and fun: