real encouragement for real homeschooling moms

homeschooling mom’s library

A few weeks ago, awesome homeschooling mom, Carol, wrote a blog piece about homeschooling libraries and where in the world do you put your books anyway?  She remembered that I said I have nearly 5000 books and counting and wondered how we keep track of all of them. So I promised pictures and here they are:

library two

and here:

library three

We call this the library but we have similar shelves in the kitchen, living room, one bedroom upstairs, and another one for towels in the upstairs bathroom.

We are not wood purists.  What you see in these pictures is scrap lumber, new lumber, defunct kitchen cabinets, molding, and paneling held together with LOTS of caulking and paint!  Also, we have found many great used books, including a set of Great Books that I bought, never used, at a garage sale for $10.00!  We also had a school janitor friend who, before he retired, brought us at least a dozen orange crate size boxes of books every spring when the schools threw theirs away, his best gift being my favorite book from grade school called  The Pink Motel!

Everyone in the family enjoys using this room, including my 87 year old mother who especially loves the biographies and history books.  Clay and I love having great resources right at our fingertips for Bible study, research, and even instructions for building even more bookshelves!

* I just came cross this picture of the shelves in the kitchen and added it on 05-09-09:




  Anne wrote @

Oh, my gosh, Karen, that’s gorgeous!

  susan t wrote @

That’s the dream room I want for our home! Not another bedroom or bathroom and we’re on the small side here, but a library.

How wonderful to have most of your books all in one room. 🙂

  Moorea wrote @

Oh, this room is just beautiful! I dream of having built-ins. I agree with you- I’d take scrap wood any old day! I have to settle for the heavy duty metal garage racks from Costco. It works, but it is not pretty! Plus is keeps me from adding more books- I definitely have a limit. there are 6 of us in a two bedroom 1,000sq foot home. :o)

  Carol wrote @

OH MY WORD! I’m glad I asked! I love that you built them right to the ceiling. BEAUTIFUL!!

(Note: If you get this comment more than once, please delete… I commented earlier, and even clicked “subscribe to the comments”, but my comment never showed up, but I did got notice of the other three comments.)

  Crystal Laine Miller wrote @

This is my dream room/house. I love loveLOVE it. Thanks for sharing it.

  Lin wrote @

This room is awesome. Just fabulous. I could spend all day in such a room.

One reason I bought my current home is because of the built in bookshelves. I just love it. It had a built in place for a large TV and I hate TV so I bought a French Vitrene for some of my more fragile family heirlooms.

  TulipGirl wrote @

Another mom, green with envy. *grin*

Seriously, though. . . Over the years we’ve gotten RID of so many books (a necessity for us, with our many moves), and STILL we have a generous library. I’m thankful for that.

One of the things I appreciated reading by Mary Pride when I was very young and impressionable, was how buying books was in effect investing in ourselves (assuming we read and reference them.) Until then, I never understood why one would buy a book (unless it was a favorite) instead of just using the local library.

Among “investing in ourselves” and marrying an avid reader and bibliophile, and having kids and realizing I can keep track of kids but not books, we no longer use the local library. (Sacrilege to many, I know!) For me and my library-fine-prone-family, buying at the local used bookstore or even on amazon is more affordable than using the library!

  Carol wrote @

It would be my dream come true! I would love a room with shelves to the ceiling that is a library. I would happily live in such a room!

  Momma Knows wrote @

Oh MY GOODNESS! Is there such a thing as bookshelf envy? I think, if there is, that I have it. What an amazing home library you have!! Bookshelves are something my husband despises (the look of), therefore what few books we do own are scattered on various shelves. After our youngest son graduates in June, he is planning on moving out. His room will become our schoolroom and therefore, MY LIBRARY. 😀 I must say, I love yours!!!

  thatmom wrote @

Momma, I had to giggle when I read your comment.

Last fall when one of our sons moved out, his brother took his room, leaving an available bedroom, something we haven’t had in 34 years!

During this past winter, we painted the room and turned it into my sewing/craft room. It has become a great place for me to work on projects I haven’t looked at in years and I am loving it.

  Jill wrote @

Do you have a stool handy to get to those top shelves? I have to agree that a room like this full of books is one of the most beautiful sights! I like the track lighting as well. Bravo!

  thatmom wrote @

Hi Jill,

I do have a folding ladder that I keep handy for reaching the upper shelves. The lights are sconce type lights and we have replaced them since that picture was taken. We actually hung them upside down so the light reflects off of the ceiling. My husband wired the room so that one switch turns on one section of lights so we don’t have to have the entire room lit up at once.

  thatmom wrote @

I just learned something interesting this morning…..When President John Adams died, it was in his library, surrounded by his beloved books!

  thatmom wrote @

Jill, I thought I would also mention that behind the camera angle is our living room that is open to this room and we put shelves over that doorway, too, which is about 10 feet wide. The house is about 110 years old and is a sturdy old gal.

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