Avid readers are well aware of the importance of books, but now there is some science to back up the impulse to line our homes with bookshelves. Research shows that having lots of books at home has huge benefits—and not just improving literacy.
A recent study published in the journal Social Science Research shows that home libraries have a positive impact on people’s academic growth and job attainment. They also noted that a book-filled home encourages a culture of reading for enjoyment and talking about literature.
So, exactly how many books are we talking about?
The tipping point seems to be about 80 books, at which point the researchers saw a surge in literacy levels. At this point, the books seemed to help people build vocabulary, increase awareness, and improve overall subject comprehension. Cognitive results continued to increase with the number of books, leveling off at around 350. That’s an impressive home library!
If you’re not up to 350 (or even 80) yet, don’t worry. Building a robust and relevant home library can take time. Below, we’ve gathered some tips to help you choose books you will pick up again and again and keep everyone in the house reading.
Include books you loved when you were younger
If you have kids at home, why not share a book you loved from your own childhood? Maybe you have fond memories of classics like "Charlotte's Web," "The Giving Tree," or "James and the Giant Peach." Revisiting and sharing books that were important during your formative years will not only bring back memories, but can also reinvigorate a love of reading.
Find books that match your interests
Look for books about topics you or your family enjoy or you want to learn more about—anything from space to true crime to fantasy fiction. Aim for variety and include multiple genres, both fiction and non-fiction, to make sure your home library remains interesting over time. And if you just bought a new home, you can learn the tips of the trade with expert books on everything from home organization to home improvement projects.
Give or collect books to celebrate
Mark important moments in your life with a specially chosen book, or give them to familiar members when they reach important milestones. Write a quick note inside to remind yourself of what the event meant to you. Then, when you recall your memories about these events, you can connect a meaningful book to that time.
Explore yard sales and Little Free Libraries
Building a library of new books can be expensive, so keep an eye out for used books to add to your collection. In the spring and early summer, yard sales are a great way to score deals on previously-loved books. Most people are spring cleaning, making space for new books and making sure their old ones go to a good home. For an even better deal, look for a Little Free Library in your neighborhood. These little boxes of books are everywhere, such as a family's front yard or a public playground. Visit the Little Free Library website to find one in your neighborhood. The idea is to leave one of your old books in the box and take one you want to enjoy.
Small or large, a home library is a great way to make a house feel like a home. Pick up a great read and start yours today!