The Library

Living Books Library is a private lending library for Christian homeschool families in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee. Though we have over 17,000 books for readers of all ages and interests, we specialize in out-of-print children’s literature primarily published prior to 1970.

How LBL Began

Ten years ago we belonged to a wonderful library in Traverse City, Michigan. Housed in a friend’s basement were over 20,000 lovely books, books full of stories and information that made us even more curious learners. Most of the books were written before 1970, and were about nearly every topic under the sun. Eleven years ago our family re-located to southwestern Virginia. One of the saddest things to leave behind was all those books! We had used Children’s Preservation Library for all of our homeschooling needs. We read books for history, literature, science, art, music, math, and pleasure. The public library in our new town had very few of the delightful living books we had relied on. We began to collect as many of the old, out-of-print gems we loved as possible, scouring library sales, thrift stores, antique shops–anywhere we could find them! Soon our bookshelves were overflowing and we began to think that other homeschooling families in our area would like to share them, just as we had been privileged to do back in Michigan. God put many events into motion that led us to open our library doors to twelve families in the summer of 2006.

LBL Today

From our humble 3,000 book collection of ten years ago, the library has grown to OVER 17,000 books, we now have 50 families checking them out. We have vintage books from the Golden Age of Children’s Literature in all subjects, arranged by Dewey Decimal Number–with a few “tweaks” to accommodate our homeschooling patrons. For example, we include historical fiction in the non-fiction chronological history section with a colored label to denote a book’s fictional content. We have books for science, math, the arts, biography, history, fiction, social sciences, literature and more. We don’t separate books based on age-level but include easy readers on a topic right next to the older reader’s books–making it simple for a mom with multiple children to find age-appropriate books for her whole family. If you live in our neck of the woods and would like to apply to join our library please fill out this application and mail it to the address listed at the bottom.

LBL Application

If you are interested in starting your own homeschool lending library, please visit this page for a practical help you may enjoy. If you would like to join a Yahoo Group for people interested in homeschool lending libraries send an email to:

What Are Living Books?

In April 2013, Liz was interviewed by Jeanne Dennis to explain what living books are and why we have a library devoted to their preservation and circulation. Here’s the video of that interview:

Homeschool Librarians Conference Package

We have produced a collection of 6 Audio Recordings and 2 Videos from our 2012 Homeschool Librarians Conference, everything you need to know to begin your own homeschool lending library! Please see this post for more information and product details.

2012 Homeschool Librarians Conference Package includes six audio CD’s and two DVD’s
Session 1: A New Vision for Old Books
Session 2. Book Acquisition: Building a Homeschool Library
Session 3: Books Lost and Found: Organizing a Homeschool Library
Session 4: Book Hospital: Repairing and Preserving Books – DVD
Session 5: Conference Q&A with 4 Librarians
Session 6: Books Coming and Going: Running a Homeschool Library
Session 7: Bookkeeping: Financing a Homeschool Library
Bonus: Living Books Library: A Unique Place for Books – DVD

A Testimonial From One of Our Patrons:

I have always loved to read. What really irks me though is picking up a book, and invariably, after a few pages or chapters you find that it….stinks. That would happen at the public library often enough. When I first joined Living Books Library I still used the public library because I was afraid to miss any good books. It took me awhile to realize it, but every book we loved came from Living Books Library. Every book we check out from you is inviting and wonderful to read. Those old tomes… can feel the many who have rubbed their covers touching them reverently. The words in them are ageless and they speak to you like a grandparent is telling the story.

I feel like Living Books Library has helped me so much with our homeschool. If I didn’t use the library I would be doing a less than adequate job of teaching my daughter, Grace. She has read more books in her young life than I have in my lifetime. I love it when I walk into a room and she is sitting there reading, and then excitedly relates it to me. Her vocabulary is amazing, and I know it is not because of “curriculum”. In short, these books are the teachers. If not for your library, I would not be homeschooling Grace; at least not successfully. I must add, though, a lot of my needs are met at your library, including, riveting conversation, camaraderie, hot debate topics, wonderful piano lessons and a few life skills, not to mention the unselfish love of your family. Thanks for opening your library doors to us, we can never repay such a service. God bless all of you.” Cathy Winters, charter member since 2006 Cathy Winters, charter member since 2006