Creating a Nature Library
Dr. Seuss once said, “Fill your house with stacks of BOOKS, in all the crannies and all the nooks.” While we might not need to fill all the nooks and crannies, having access to great nature books enhances our nature study. Here are several ways to add to a home nature library.
Use the library to preview books. The library is a great place to check out books for the first time. Once I realize I check a book out many times, I usually buy the book to have as part of our nature library.
Join a book club. I organize a monthly nature book group at our local nature center. Each month I get a new book to read and add it to our nature library. If it’s not a “keeper”, I can sell it back or pass it along to someone else who might like it.
Find favorite authors. I love nature books for preschoolers by April Pulley-Sayre and Denise Fleming. I always check out new books by these authors. April’s most recent book, Woodpecker Wham! certainly delivered!
Become a Master Naturalist. When I attended our local Indiana Master Naturalist program, I received a new nature book each week that I came to class. These basic reference books pertinent to our local area have been valuable resources as I learn more about nature. As I volunteer locally as an Indiana Master Naturalist, I ask for other suggestions and preview books others have. We also host a book swap at least annually where we can preview books and swap with another.
Check out the used section. Once I know I want to purchase a book, I will often look at the used options online at places like amazon.com, abebooks.com, or betterworldbooks.com. I can usually get the book for at least half price including shipping.
Visit garage, library, and warehouse sales. I keep my eyes open while stopping by garage, library, and warehouse sales for anything related to nature. While there, I let the attendants and others looking at the books know that I’m interested in nature books. They usually help me find related books for a fraction of the price.
Let others know your interests. By sharing your interests, others can be on the look out for books that might be good for your library. My children and I have received nature related books that might not have been on our radar otherwise.
Supplement a basic home library by using the public library. Check out seasonal and other in-depth books at the library to add to a basic reference library.
Check out book reviews and recommendations. I often look for book suggestions on blogs and in curriculum guides. In particular, Growing Up Wild and Project Learning Tree have a good list of recommended books for extension activities. With the rise of nature bloggers, many blog posts will have suggestions for great books.
Adding to your library over time will give tools and resources to explore and learn more about the natural world! This was shared with Handbook of Nature Study.