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Activity: Turn bookshelf into mini Library

My boys’ book collection grew over the holidays thanks to the generosity of a second cousin cleaning out her teenage sons’ outgrown book collection and because books are a popular gift in our house any time of year. Although we find it difficult to part with any book in our home, we had no choice since our bookshelves and floor were now overflowing with books.


My boys made a project of sorting all the new and old books to create their own mini library. We cleared the bookshelves and divided the books into piles–to keep, to save (somewhere other than their bookcase), to give to their younger cousin and to donate to their school or a local shelter.

The “keep pile” includes age appropriate books for a 7 year old (e.g. books the boys can read on their own like Magic Tree House and books we read together like Stuart Little), toddler and preschool books that the boys love and still want to save (Frog and Toad and anything by Eric Carle), and books the boys read with us or will read on their own someday (like Huckleberry Finn and Harry Potter VI). Once we made our “keep pile”, the boys had fun sorting these books and creating their own categories; chapter, big chapter, storybooks, reference (including encyclopedia, nature, science, etc.), fantasy, music and sound and a rather large and popular category in our home–Star Wars. The boys made labels for the shelves and are still deciding whether they will also make library slips (using post-it notes) for the books every time one is removed from the shelf.

make a mini library

For now we have a tidier bookshelf and a pile of books the boys are happy to donate to their school and their younger cousin. And all of those Star Wars books? Well they required their own mini bookshelf.

Once you sort your books you may discover you need some new titles on your shelves, peruse the
Kidoinfo book archives.

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  • So smart–and now that you have mentioned and described it, it’s really a no-brainer. Of course our books should be organized by topic. Of course!

  • Such a brilliant idea! My goal is usually nothing more than fitting all my daughter’s books on her bookshelves, but actually organizing them by category? Even if doesn’t last forever (and what does?), it’s a worthy exercise.

    Question: other than Good Will, and I wonder if donated goods are treated well there, is it possible to donate quality books to the public library? What other places could use and appreciate barely used but outgrown titles?