Over the years, building a solid home library has been important to me. While we do have access to a good library now, that hasn’t always been the case. I know that building our own library of books that are familiar is really important. I also want to have a big enough selection that there is likely something (even if it’s only a section of a page of a book) in our library for them to read about any topic that might cross their minds. Just as a jump-off point.
I do want to make clear that this library has been slowly built over the years. We began with one bookshelf, then grew to two, and so on. Most of these books were purchased second-hand or on a big sale. Some were given to me, and some came from my mom when she retired (she was a classroom teacher).
All of the books on my shelf have been carefully selected. They are all there because I feel fairly confident they will be picked up and read and re-read. Some are no longer in print, some have been super hard to track down. Some are simply well-loved stories.
When our library first started, I didn’t really need a way to keep track of them, but as our library grew and the kids began accessing books independently, an organizational system became essential.
I honestly considered using the Dewey Decimal System. However, the way they classify books isn’t always intuitive to me or our family needs. I also didn’t want something that might be difficult for young children. I wanted something easy, straight forward, and flexible.
Enter the washi tape and dot sticker system! (Catchy, I know. 😉 )
These are the categories we have currently. I’m thinking at some point here I will have to divide our US history books more thoroughly, but that’s the beauty of the system. It’s super adaptable. I especially like the wash tape for that, but the dots are pretty easy to take off and move if needed as well.
- General History – Pre Historic and Ancient (Creation – 476 BC)
- Middle Ages (477 BC – 1300)
- Renaissance (1300s – 1700)
- Industrial Revolution (1700s – 1900)
- Modern History (1900s – Present)
- US History
Geography and World Cultures
- General Geography
- North America
- South America
- Australia and Antarctica
- General Science
- Machines and Technology
- Things that Go
- Human Body
- Earth Science
- General Animals
- Aquatic Animals
- Pets and Farm Animals
- Reptiles and Amphibians
- Hobbies and Art
- Teachers/Learning to Read
- Basic Concepts (Math, grammar, etc)
It was important to get a system for storing the books on the shelf, but I also wanted to be able to find books I might need for homeschool or based on a particular instance. For example, if we’re doing a unit on dogs, of course I would look on the “Pets and Farm Animals” shelf. But if I only look there, I would miss the Solider Dogs series I have stored in “Modern History” or the Pup Patrol series I have on my “Australia” shelf.
Sometimes books are also stored incorrectly and this helps me on the right path. I can also check to make sure I don’t already own any books I’m not sure about before purchasing.
There are actually many library database systems out there, but I like to use Libib. You can enter books manually, with the ISBN code, or you can scan the bar code with the app.
Ultimately I have found that having our home library organized and cataloged helps us use it more, and makes keeping up with our books so much easier
I would love to know how you keep your homeschool books organized in the comments below!