Thursday, September 29, 2011

Building a Children's Library on a Budget

One of the things Peanut simply loves is her books. She will sit down and go through the pages, intensely studying the pictures and interacting with the different elements on the page. We have made it a nightly ritual to begin reading 2 or 3 books to her before she goes to bed, and she loves walking over to her bookshelf and picking out which book to read. She tends to want to read the same books over and over, and although it does get a bit repetitive, it is so wonderful to watch her enjoyment over it that we continue to read them to her.

From the beginning, it has been important to us to have plenty of children's books on hand to provide opportunity for learning as well as to help cultivate the love of reading in our children. However, collecting a large assortment of children's books can be quite pricey. Have you ever gone inside a bookstore and looked for a cheap children's book? Unless you dig hard in the bargain bin, you likely won't find one for less than $5-8. Baby board books cost even more due to the durable construction.

The following places are wonderful sources of discounted or cheap children's books that we always take advantage of:

Library Book Sales
This is perhaps the best place to find children's books for next to nothing! While I was pregnant with Peanut, we went to a local library book sale. We were able to fill a grocery bag full of books for just $4. Although they might have some wear, a lot of them are still in great condition or can be mended with a little elbow grease. Some of Peanut's favorite books came from this sale, and I love that because we did not pay much for them there is no worry over the terrible abuse they have and will continue to experience in the hands of a busy toddler.

Garage Sales
This is the second best place to find children's books. During garage sale season, keep your eyes open for board books in particular, as they can be hard to find. Baby and toddler books are not as common either, so just be on the lookout and you will likely find some great deals. Collecting books for when children are older is a great thing to begin as well. Usually, books at garage sales run anywhere from 10 to 50 cents. I have never seen a children's book priced any higher than that!

Family and Friends
Another great source of children's books is family and friends. Ask around and there are bound to be plenty of people willing to pass on books no longer read or in use. For birthdays and holidays, consider asking for books instead of toys. This is a wonderful way to get quality new books for your child too.

Although we do enjoy building our own children's library, nothing beats the real library for fresh, new books when those you own have been read to death. Be warned, however, not to let them become overdue, or you will quickly defeat the purpose of reading for free. We try not to check out more than 3 children's books at a time so that they are not as likely to become lost and are easier to keep track of. Renewing favorite books online is a great way to get more use out of them as well. Do take care to ensure these books do not get damaged as well, since they do not belong to you and you will be charged if they become severely ripped or abused. I try to only get board books for playtime and then the paper-paged books are kept out of reach until I can read them with my daughter.

Do you have a favorite place to buy children's books? Share in the comments below!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

I bought many/most of my family's books at used book stores and donation re-sell stores.
I like your suggestion to ask family and friends. I just gave a bunch of gently used board books to my cousin who had a baby.
Nice post. Your baby is very lucky. Reading to babies is something all parents should do. I don't know how many parents know how important it is or how much fun it can be.