Easy, Inexpensive Ways to Build a Child’s Library

Most parents know that the more time we can spend reading to our kids and the more access they have to books the better off they will be academically.

A 2014 study found that having books at home was a strong predictor of children’s academic success across 42 countries studied. The presence of more books was particularly important in lower-income households.

A library of 100 books was found to boost grade-level reading performance by about one and a half years, while a library of around 500 books gave kids a 2.2-year boost in grade-level reading, the study found.

Of course, it takes a lot of time and money to build up a large library for your kids or yourself, but there are some ways to add books to your collection without breaking the bank.

Shop Your Library

Your local library is a great place to check out books to temporarily boost the numbers on your shelves. Go as often as you can, and let your child check out as many books as he or she wants or is allowed to (our library’s limit is 50 at a time, but my daughter and I both have cards now after she hit the limit a couple of times).

Your library may also have a store, where some donated books and library books taken out of circulation are sold. You can get really inexpensive books here, especially if you don’t mind books that have already had some wear and tear.

Our library has big book sales a couple of times a year where paperbacks are 50 cents and hardbacks a dollar, so you can build up a library really quickly at times like that.

Little Free Libraries

Look online or pay attention when you’re out and about to see if there are any Little Free Libraries in your area. These small kiosks allow people to take and leave books, and there are often children’s books in them.

My daughter loves checking out the libraries we pass often (one in our neighborhood, the other at a nearby park), leaving books she’s outgrown and taking things that interest her.

If your local free library is well stocked this can be a good source for books, just remember to pay it forward by adding books back when you can.

Rhea Lana Events

Did you know you can buy and sell books at Rhea Lana sales? The selection varies, naturally, but there are usually lots of baby books, picture books and books for older kids, too.

Shop the half-price sale for even better deals, or look for book bundles, where people have collected a few books on a theme together, to add to your collection more quickly.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

Communities throughout the United States (and now Canada, Australia and England as well) take part in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a service that sends free books to kids every month from birth to age 5.

There’s no income eligibility requirement to receive books, but you do have to live in a participating community where the program is funded, which you can find on the website (click the link that says “find my program” and search by zip code).

Ask for Books for Gifts

My grandmother always included a book as a gift for Christmas, and that’s a tradition I try to continue. My daughter loves getting books and we give a lot of them as gifts throughout the year. When people ask what your child wants for a holiday, ask for books.

It’s fun to see the books other people choose for our kids, because they’re often books that were that person’s favorites when they were younger.

Do you have any other ways of building a library inexpensively? We’d love to hear them!

Post by The Women Bloggers/Rhea Lana Blogger Sarah E. White