"Long before children are introduced to the public library, books should be a part of their home lives. Begin a home library as soon as the child is born." - Jim Trelease (The Read Aloud Handbook, 2001)
If you don't have a home library for you child, I strongly encourage you to start one. It doesn't have to be expensive. Want some awesome, inexpensive bookshelves? Craigslist is a great place to search. I think we paid $30 for a nice all-wood shelf for my son's room, but you can find shelves even cheaper than that on there. If you're lucky enough to have an IKEA near you, that's a great place to look too. Or make these shelves. I plan on putting some of these up once my son gets a little bigger and is able to explore books on his own a little more.
Need some books on the cheap? That's even easier than finding inexpensive bookshelves. Visit garage sales, thrift stores, consignment stores, consignment sales, and library book sales. I get amazing deals at these places all the time (Read about it here and here). But I would also encourage you to spend some money on new books when you can. There's a special feeling that comes with having your very own, brand-new, shiny book! You can always request these at birthdays and holidays too, if your family and friends are wanting gift ideas for your little one. (You can check out the Literacy Launchpad Store in the sidebar for some great book-buying!)
I have been working on my child's home library for years now, because as a literacy teacher, I'm always buying books! And as it turns out, this has created a bit of a dilemma for me. I don't know which books are his and which books are mine!
He does have a some books that are definitely his. And I let him chew on these, drool on these, and crumple the pages as he explores them. But there are many books that I consider mine, and I guess I'm just not a good sharer. I know he would enjoy many of my picture books as he gets older, and I want him to have the freedom to look at and explore them on his own. But I'm fearful of what may happen to my precious books!
So what do I do? Do I need to just let it go and share? Books are meant to be enjoyed, right? Hopefully, if I teach him how to properly care for books, he'll treat my books kindly.
... Or do I leave my books put up somewhere for special reading times only? What would you do?