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How to create a library

Updated on December 13, 2014

Change your passion into wood and paper - create your own library

Books are wonderful, for last two thousand of years they collect knowledge and help to share it each day. Owning your own library made of few hundred books is not just a symbol of status, but a pure pleasure only a true lover can understand. But you don't have to be book lover in order to create your own library. Maybe you're a designer who learns new techniques from books, or maybe you're a business man collecting books on the subject. This page has been created to help you in creating your own library by organising each step in creation process.

Decide what you want to create

First step in creating your own library (or book collection) is deciding what you really want to create. Will it be collection of classical literature, or collection of books related to your hobbies or field of interest, business, work?

When I decided I want to create a library, I knew it will contain books about occult and parapsychology. Within days I decided that I will not collect paranormal fiction, yet I will collect scientific, new age, spiritual, occult and esoteric books at the same time. Few days later I knew I also need dictionaries of different sort, encyclopedias and and mythology/religion section as well. And for pure pleasure I picked up a list of novels, from Moby Dick to Jekyll & Hyde, to Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie.

The subjects and categories within my library begun to expand quickly - a special Taoism/Zen section appeared, and another section for resources about blogging and online business found its way to my bookshelf. For now, my personal library grows, but I know that all the sections from novels to Taoism/Zen to blogging and online business will one day become my very personal library, while all the occult and mythology/religion section will create European Public Parapsychology Library.

So, the first step in creating your library is deciding what you want it to be about.

  1. Make a list of subjects that interests you.
  2. Make a list of subjects that could be useful supporting resources for subjects of 1st point.

Set your budget

Creating a library takes money, sometimes a lot of money. Your budget will go for:

  • Acquiring new books.
  • Repairing older books.
  • Buying bookshelves.

Budget of public or scientific libraries is set for entire year, but since you're just a private collector you can set your monthly budget only. Depending on your needs, you can spend $20 per month, or $200 per month, or even $2000. It doesn't matter how big budget you will have. What matters is how you will spend your money. Once you have decided how much can you spend for library each month, you have to decide how much from that you will spend on new books, how much on repairing books you already have, how much you will save up for bookshelves or storage boxes etc.

The reason for organising budget is simple - you never know when the unexpected will happen and your library will require fast money. Always have an emergency fund for your library.

Write down what you have

Many of you might already have collection of books - it might contain few dozens or few hundreds of volumes. Next step in creating your library is writing down what you already have. So take a piece of paper, a pencil and write down everything.

Now take a look at your list and decide what you don't need from it - create new list with books you want to get rid of. But don't worry, you won't be throwing these books away, they are precious and they will be used for two ways.

  • For exchange - you can exchange books with other collectors or with friends, either offline or via online websites.
  • For sale - you can also sell books you don't need, and for money earned you will be able to buy new books that interests you.

Make a list of books you want

Now create a list - long or short - enlist all books and magazine you want. Write down titles of books that will create a core foundation of your library. Decide what you want to buy and what magazines you want to subscribe. Use a computer or a notebook (for library purposes I recommend moleskines) to create that list. You will keep updating it with time.

Or, you can just skip that step and collect new books as you go :).

Ways to get the books


Shopping for books is the primary way you can get new books. Here is a small list of places where you can acquire new and used books and textbooks.

  • Amazon - Amazon is the biggest online shop on this planet, from which you can buy almost every book you want.
  • Book Depository - meant mainly for European-based customers, it's one of the biggest online repository of cheap books.
  • AbeBooks - another huge repository of books from all around the world.


Exchanging books is another way to acquire new volumes for your library. The website for this is called BookMooch - and it's friendly for every user. The use of it is simple - you're adding books you want to give away, people are requesting them from you and when you send books to them, you receive points. For these points you can request books for yourself, from other users.

Use social networks

Finally, to explore new books, you should join social networks of book readers. Within the following websites, you can network with other readers and get recommendation for further reading and shopping.

Manage your library

Now that your library is slowly beginning to grow, you have to manage it somehow. But don't worry, I already wrote a hub explaining how to manage personal library so be sure to check it out.

And that's it - step by step, you're on good way to creating your own library.


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    • glassvisage profile image

      glassvisage 7 years ago from Northern California

      These tips seem helpful enough! I think that the elementary school that I work at would benefit from improving their library, and these ideas are applicable. Thank you!

    • Nathan_U profile image

      Nathaniel 7 years ago from Poland


      Thanks :)

    • Smireles profile image

      Sandra Mireles 7 years ago from Texas

      I have a large collection of books and did not have a plan. I started with cook books and romance novels I could not part with years ago. I have since narrowed the scope of my romance novels to only the authors I really love. You have great suggestions for creating a library collection.