How to Build a Children's Library for a New Baby


Most people don't have an already blooming collection of picture books before they are expecting their first baby (unless you are a teacher, then you might!)

The theme of building a children's library for me was... CHEAP! I'm a teacher, I know books get ruined, and I didn't want to spend tons of money on books that would be "very well loved" in a few years... but I also wanted a BIG collection!

So, here's how I did it.

*this post contains some affiliate links. See my full disclosure HERE.

1. Thrift Stores & Garage Sales

Thrift stores are amazing places to find picture books! They are usually a decent price (like $2-$3 tops... usually less depending on the store), and if you take the time you can find great books in pretty good condition (or even new books!)

There is a time commitment to this one though. I probably go once a month and spend a good hour going through the racks of picture books at my local thrift store. It's best if you can take the time to look through each book ( you find the hidden gems that way).

 My latest thrift store haul

Garage sales are usually better for children's chapter books. Almost every garage sale I go to has a pile of Magic Treehouse or other chapter book series books. Garage sales are usually even better price than thrift stores for these books! But you have to be willing to get out of your car, look through their books, and risk not finding anything you want.

TIP: pay attention to quality! Make sure the binding is still good, and that there is no writing in the actual book (sometimes I still buy it if it is a good price and there is writing on the title page or something... but never in the actual book). Also make sure the cover is in decent shape (not folded in half).

Another TIP: Make a list of your favorite kids books on Amazon and then keep those in mind as you look through books at thrift stores and garage sales! That way you know the good books right when you see them... instead of having to read through each one to see if you like it. How do you know the good books? Well... I have 6 GREAT ones listed in the post My Favorite Picture Books for New Baby, and I will be sharing a BUNCH more worthwhile children's books in upcoming posts for you to keep in mind as you bargain shop!


I've found Amazon to be a great and easy way to get cheaper books to build your baby's library! Plus, it's super easy to use! Search for the book you want and then search the used books section to find a price you like.

As shown above, a book that new would be $10 on Amazon can be found for $2 used (plus like $3 in shipping!)
TIP: pay attention to quality here too!

When you look at the used books the seller lists the condition of the book. I always pick a "good" or "very good" book over an "acceptable" one if they are similar in price.

Even though you want a to build a library for less $$ you still want the books to last through a lot of love!

3. Put books on your Baby Registry!

This is a great way to let someone who wants to get you a book know which books you want to get for your baby shower. Amazon Baby Registry is a great registry to use if you're going to be adding books to your list!

Books are great lower priced items to put on your registry for those who want to get you something but live far away (and don't want to spend a lot in shipping) or don't have a lot of money to spend.

4. Build a Library Baby Shower

I'm sure you've seen this idea on Pinterest... the bring a book instead of a card? Well I think it is an adorable idea, and if I didn't already have a decent sized library for Mini Hall I would totally do it! I'm not having this kind of baby shower because I already have a lot of the classic baby books, and worry about doubles... but if your library is very sparse, or EMPTY you should consider this idea!

The Dating Divas have really cute printables for this kind of shower in their Baby Shower Bundle * . It comes with invitations (and the note that asks guests to bring a book), as well as printable decorations, games, and thank you notes all in a cute library theme! A great and super cute way to build your Mini's Library!

The Build a Library Shower was put together by 30 Handmade Days.

5. Hit up your Parents and In-Laws

Chances are your parents and in-laws both have a box (if not boxes) of books that you and your significant other had when you were kids. My mother-in-law had boxes like that, which she let my husband and I go through to pick out what we wanted for our own collection. This way, you help your parents clean out the attic and get free books for your baby! Plus you may even score books with you or your spouse's name written in them! Or a whole bunch of themed books! (my husband was obsessed with Sesame Street when he was little, so we got bunches of Sesame Street books from my mother-in-law!)

And there you have it! 5 ways to build your baby's library... on the cheap!

Have any other ways you get cheap children's books? Or great books you've scored at even greater discounts? I would love to hear about it! Comment below to share!

I linked-up with this post on Living Well Spending Less Thrifty Thursday!



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