The Library

Teach your kids the basics of locating good books. Make certain they can use the library card catalog to find material on favorite subjects and by favorite authors. Most kids discover that if they like a certain book, a second book by the same author will probably appeal to them just as much. But often kids overlook asking the librarian or friends for recommendations of similar authors: “I like Roald Dahl’s books; who writes similar fiction?” – Cafi Cohen

I am a huge fan of my local public library. I’ve been a patron since I was six and I’ve always enjoyed visiting the quaint century home that is a part of our city’s historic district. Our library was said to be the first one established west of the Alleghenies. All the librarians from my youth have long ago retired, but the spirit of helping visitors find resources lives on in our wonderful librarians.

You’ll find many great library articles and resources below.


How I Learned to Balance a Checkbook – Lia Mastropolo

I sometimes wish I was still sixteen and could spend four hours combing the library shelves for the perfect novel. I might have turned out much the same if I’d gone to school, but I know for certain that I wouldn’t have had as much free time to spend reading as I had through homeschooling. I would have been copying out multiplication tables instead of hunting through stacks, and memorizing dates rather than reading historical novels. Impossible to weigh the merit of one against another, but I for one am happy to have learned about the world through novels and outdoor explorations rather than fact lists.

Messy Homeschoolers – Mary Kenyon

The ready availability of books and magazines gives me that same sense of satisfaction. I never owned books as a child and thought only a rich household would have shelves of books. Now, I have my own shelf of books, two shelves of educational books in our playroom, and each of my children have a shelf of books to call their own. We attend a dozen library book sales a year, paying for our own habit with the extra books we buy to re-sell on eBay.

Older Kids – Cafi Cohen

Encouraging Reading

Accumulate a lot of reading material. Build a good home library by frequenting garage sales (books for pennies), library sales, school give-aways. We found that large school districts, especially, scrap great stuff. They do not know what to do with a book like Little House On The Prairie because it lacks a study guide. Call your district and ask what they do with discards.

Finding Volunteer Opportunities – Laura Weldon

Many homeschoolers have found the library to be a good place to volunteer; some already have homeschool volunteer programs or junior friends of the library programs in place.

An Interview with Cafi Cohen – Marsha Ransom

I used many of the library resources mentioned in the July/Aug ’97 article, “Less Is More.” Since you asked, I think that – while many homeschoolers visit libraries regularly – they tend to under-utilize the resources there.

We were living in Colorado when my teenage daughter got very interested in old movies. First it was Bette Davis flicks, then Katherine Hepburn, then a certain director, and so on. She started reading books on film-making. Eventually, after a couple of years, we called all this a course: The History of Film. Our daughter eventually saw hundreds of old movies for free because of the marvelous collection in the Denver Public Library.

A Visit with Mary Hood – Janine Calsbeek

Her guidelines include providing a few well-chosen library books and other old favorites. Get rid of the beat-up books with covers ripped off, or at least stick them in the attic. Keep the good books in a clean, well-lit and somewhat organized place. If there are fewer books, orderliness is easier. These days, she frequents the library more often than bookstores, and she really does use the “throw it on the couch” method of getting kids to read a certain book.

Get Started with a Little Help from Your Friends – Carol Narigon

Get it at the library.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, don’t buy a bunch of stuff right off the bat. I know all those companies with their curricula and books and kits and CDs and DVDs are singing their siren song, tempting you to fill your house with “product,” inspiring dreams of that picture-perfect homeschool family who builds a nuclear reactor together, promising your child’s acceptance into an Ivy League school by the time he’s 16.

Closer Look: Libraries # 1

Homeschool Information Library

Horn Book
Publications about books for children and young adults include a bimonthly magazine, and a guide to new titles published twice a year.

The Free Library
3,457,369 articles and books

Paperback Swap

Young Adult Library Services Association Book List

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do you have a question?
We have several answers!

Search HEM's 10,000+ page knowledge base.

Home Education Magazine

Home Education Magazine is available by subscription in either print, digital, or a combined format.

(Preview a digital sample.)

Subscribe Today

Print - One Year Sub $26.00
Print - Two Year Sub $48.00
Digital - One Year Sub $13.00
Digital & Print - One Year Sub $36.00
Print US domestic only. HEM is no longer accepting print subs to foreign addresses.

Since 1983 Home Education Magazine has been a trusted name in homeschooling.

RSS Home Education Magazine

  • Class Dismissed: A Film About Learning Outside the Classroom
    An HEM Interview between filmmaker Jeremy Stuart and HEM’s editor, Barb Lundgren, published in HEM’s September-October 2014 issue From home study and kitchen table math, to perpetual recess and park days, Class Dismissed follows the story of an ordinary American family in their quest to educate their children outside the school system. As they struggle […]


RSS News & Commentary

  • Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements
    Wisconsin Virtual Academy Must Adhere to Public School Requirements Over the years, there has been intentional word mixing by some officials in order to draw independent homeschoolers back into the public schools.  Across the board, confusion often reigns as to who or who is not a homeschooler.  It usually lies on the homeschool community’s back […]

RSS HEM Resources

  • Hands On Science Kits
    Hands On Science Kits Tumblehome Learning, helps kids imagine themselves as young scientists or engineers and encourages them to experience science through adventure and self-guided discovery. Exciting mystery Adventure Fun experiments Hands On Science Kits All carefully designed to engage students. Learn more about how to engage and satisfy your kids scientific curiosity GO to […]

RSS HEM Closer Look

  • Unschooling, what is it?
    Unschooling, what is it? Unschooling, Un schooling what is it? Defining unschooling is a little like describing a color, and every bit as elusive. You can rely on commonly-held descriptions; for example, we generally all agree what blue looks like, but what about cobalt, aqua, navy, cyan, sapphire, azure, indigo, cerulean, turquoise or cornflower? It’s […]