Introducing the Homestead Reference Library

By , September 14, 2011

Recently, a reader asked me to suggest a list of books I would recommend as homesteading resources. This request took me a bit aback, as I’ve been slowly presenting a series of posts about our home reference library on the other blog I used to contribute to, Self Reliance Works. I forget that just because I split my time between this blog and that one, that doesn’t mean that my readers do as well. I tend to focus my “homestead how to” type articles over there, and use this blog for reporting and reflection on homestead living. Perhaps I should bring some of that focus here, where my readers are?

With that in mind, I will be blogging in the future on the contents of our “homestead reference library,” focusing on specific titles that we’ve found useful, and explaining why.

The topic deserves careful consideration, and perhaps a bit of back story.

cabin library

Your humble blogger, surrounded by some of the family’s many books (Photo: Michelle Zeiger).

Changing my attitude toward books represents one of the most significant personal steps I took toward a more frugal lifestyle. I love books, and take pride in owning the ones that I really like. I wanted them on my shelf so that visitors would see them, and know that I had read them.

Eventually I realized that we didn’t have very many visitors in our home, and what visitors we received rarely, if ever, spent time perusing our bookshelves. Our shelf space could never begin to hold all the books I wanted, and this vanity represented a serious drain on my discretionary income. I resolved to dismiss my desire, to make the library my first resource, and try to restrict my book buying to only those titles that I needed.

I recognized, though, that certain books served better when immediately available. I began to think of books in terms of a home reference library, identifying titles that would be better to have on the shelf. These cover a wide variety of topics, including first aid, home health and medical encyclopedias, survival manuals, carpentry and other construction, and fish and wildlife identification.

This became far more critical once we moved to the homestead. Even as we adjusted to far more limited shelf space, library resources became harder to access. Now, a major portion of the books we own belong in the homestead reference library category.

In occasional future posts I’ll try to come up with a list of essential titles. I’ll point you toward books we find helpful that I’ve blogged about in the past. I’ll also try to categorize them in a way you’ll hopefully find useful.

If you can’t wait, you’ll find a sneak preview of the books we like and use on our Book List page.

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