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How to Manage Library Books in Your Homeschool

The library is one of my favorite places in the world.  America's library system is a thing of beauty. We have so much wrong with our country, but our library system is a reason to feel to patriotic.  Free books.  To everyone.  It is truly awe inspiring.

As a homeschooler on a budget, the library saves us thousands of dollars a year, enabling us to us to study any subjects we want, without any added book expenses.

One of our favorite parts of My Father's World curriculum is the book basket!  Load of pretty pretty books, but at the price of a free library membership!

While I love the library, it can also be overwhelming. The giant book lists in our curriculum is a pro in my opinion, but it can also become a con if the sheer amount of books overwhelms you, or worse, you start adding up fines. Don't let this amazing tool become a burden in your family!

Online Library Holds
Almost all libraries now allow you to put books on hold ONLINE before visiting the library.  Our library has a limit of 10 books for a hold. I get around this sometimes by using my son's library cards to reserve books online, so we can get 30 books with 3 library cards.  This can be done on your phone from the convenience of your couch, after your kids go to bed.

I pick up the holds at the front of the library, instead of going all the way to the kid's section.  When we are busy with life, this can really help you get at least some books in that book basket!

 Online Renewals & Text/Email Alerts
I am the queens of library renewals.   Whenever I get an email that a book is coming due, I go online to renew those books.  No matter what. This way I can take back books on my own schedule, and not the library's. Check out your library policy and take advantage of it!  It will save you a small fortune in fines!

Signing up for email alerts & online renewals are the best things I have ever done at my library, it has almost eliminated my fines.

Library Basket 
This is where all library books live in our house.  They sleep here. Library Books DO NOT LEAVE the room of the library basket.  Period.   I wish I could let my kids read all over the house, but the fines are not worth it.  The library basket stays in the living room, where I can see it at all times.
There are a very few times where I allow my kids to take a book out of the living room, MAYBE in the car on a long trip.  But  all books must come back to sleep every night in this basket.

Bi-Weekly Trips
Never just get one week of books at a time, unless you want to live at the library (which honestly doesn't sound that bad to me).   Because of renewals, I have been known to get THREE weeks at a time.

If I haven't gotten around to reserving all the books I need online, I take my whole teacher's manual with me to the library, and stock up with as many books as my rolling cart can carry (below).

As we finish books, I put them in a bag by the door.  Our library as a drive through drop off box, and we drop off the books when we're out and about.  No need for a special trip, and because of renewals, I can do it on my own schedule.

Make your kids responsible  for the fines if they lose a book.  My boys have paid a lost book fine out of their own money because they lost a book at a park, and it never happened again. They had to split the fine because they couldn't agree on who took it to the park, and who left it there.

If you lose a book, of course you as the mom pays for it.  But I firmly believe as homeschoolers, they need to learn responsibility of keeping track of their school items, especially if they are older than 2nd grade.  A public school child must keep track of their backpack, books, coat, boots, etc.  Our kids need to learn to keep track of  book inside their own home.

Library Cart
With the amount of  books we get, it is easy to hurt your back, shoulder, or any part of you that is over 30 years old!  I have a lovely rolling cart that lives in the back of my back of my van!  I LOVE IT!  Every library as an elevator, and this cart gives me an excuse to use it! I keep a few small bags in the cart, so that I can carry the books into my house, but this saves my back from injury.

Rolling Library Cart saves my back!

I hope this helps someone who is feeling overwhelmed with library books!  Remember the library is your friend!

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