Last week we posted the first part of a series on Where to Find Good Books. Today we are going to take a look at the public library system. As I mentioned in last week’s post, when our children were younger, we found it pretty easy to find acceptable books in traditional locations: the library, the local bookstore, the bookshelves of friends and family. We had a fantastic library in the city in which we lived. The children’s section was a beautiful, separate room with large windows and plenty of choice. Too much choice, actually, at times. The children would quickly choose books from the shelves and begin flipping through the pages while I scanned the text looking for anything that would obviously rule out a book for our family. We took home stacks of books each week and I did weed out some of them once we got home, but we found plenty to keep us occupied.
We have moved since then to a rural property near a small town. Our library is located in the local high school; great for the high school students, not so great for families passing through the “books of the week” display with some not-so-family-friendly selections.
At first I got around this by reserving my books online and picking them up myself. But as our children got older, we found there was just not much available that we would want to read. Especially scarce were books that included a biblical world view and upheld the beliefs we were trying to instill. We quickly went through the books that we were interested in.
Quite by accident, I stumbled upon the inter-library loan system. There was a specific book that I was looking for and our library didn’t have it. Our librarian suggested we put in an inter-library loan request and sure enough we had the book in our hands within a couple of weeks. In our system, we are able to make the requests ourselves online and we have found dozens of books that our local library didn’t have; fiction and non-fiction alike. We also have the world’s best librarian in charge of our inter-library loan department. She has been able to get us books from half way across the country as well as books as old as the 1800’s. She also introduced us to online digital archives for older books that she couldn’t get access to.
If you have a list of books that you are interested in, I recommend that you check out the inter-library loan service in your town or city. This is especially helpful for recommended reading lists that come with many homeschool curricula. I was able to preview many books using this method and then if I really wanted to purchase any, I could do so at a later time.
What if you don’t have a list of books you are interested in? How do you find those books that will encourage you in your Christian walk without exposing you to thoughts and ideas you would rather avoid? Join us next week as we explore some options for sourcing just such works.
- The Ideal Book
- The Ideal Book – Part Two