Several years ago, before moving cross county, my husband and I purged our book collection for the sake of downsizing. We donated countless books that we had purchased for high school and college lit classes, not thinking about the fact that they were classics we may want to revisit someday. It’s hard to say I totally regret the downsizing, because most of the books were just inexpensive paperbacks that had taken quite the beating over the years anyways.
But over the past few years, I have been working on re-collecting all my literary favorites and must-reads by shopping secondhand for vintage hardback versions. The hardbacks I collect aren’t first editions or pricy finds—I typically pick them up in thrift stores for a whopping $1.00 to $3.00 each—but they are beautiful and have that lovely vintage book smell (it’s basically the smell of dust, right?!)
My goal is to curate a library that is full of heirloom treasures that can be enjoyed for years to come while making old and neglected things loved and useful again.
I love that most of the books in my collection now were picked up secondhand. It’s actually a bit painful to think back over the past ten years and realize how many books I’ve purchased new when there were much more beautiful (and inexpensive!) versions out there. Especially because hunting for them is half the fun!
Last year, a few of my friends were discussing a really interesting idea on Facebook: keeping index cards in their favorite books to record each time they’d read it.
I thought it would be a brilliant idea to use in my library, especially in some of my books that were reread every few years by Sam or I (looking at you, Harry Potter!)
Of course, me being me, I wanted to get a bit fancier than index cards.
When thinking about libraries, my mind instantly jumped to middle school library days. Remember the cute manilla pockets and blue check out cards that were inside every library book?
A quick Amazon search led me to some inexpensive pockets, and I found plenty of printable library cards on Etsy, although the typical check out card didn’t really fit the bill. So I decided to create my own!
The printable cards are available for purchase from my Etsy store (as a digital download!) and I added columns for a start date, end date, and reader’s name so that they’d work perfectly as reading logs.
I printed mine on light blue card stock and made sure to print on both sides so that the card can be flipped once the first side has been filled (and additional cards can be added, if you’re a super bookworm!)
The cards would be especially cute to add to children’s books, as kids reread their favorites so often. It’s also a great tool to encourage kids to read— I think they’ll get a little jolt of excitement and a feeling of accomplishment each time they log a “complete” date.
If your family plans to save books to pass on to future generations of little ones, then a project like this makes them even more of a treasure.
I really wish I had a system like this in place years ago. It would be so nice to look back and remember how many times I’ve reread my favorites!
If you’re interested in organizing your library with these cute cards, it’s a very easy project. Just head over to my Etsy shop—Sunshine Life Digital— and purchase the digital download for the cards. You’ll also need to purchase some card stock in the color of your choice (green and pink are also cute and both colors were used in libraries back in the day!).
The document is two pages (front and back) to make it easier when printing. Just make sure to select the option to print on both sides if your printer offers it, and if not, you’ll have to figure out how to do it manually, printing one side at a time.
Each page equals four log cards, so grab some scissors and cut along the dotted lines. If you have a large library and are printing lots of cards, an inexpensive paper trimmer makes the job a lot easier (and your edges will be nice and neat!). I LOVE my Martha Stewart paper trimmer, which I’ve had for years now.
Double sided tape worked well for attaching the manilla pockets to each book. I wrote in book titles and author names by hand and simply slipped the card into the pocket!
I couldn’t be happier with how this project turned out, and I’m so excited to add cards to each and every book in my library (I’m tackling it a little bit at a time).
I hope you enjoy this project as much as I did!
Head over to my Etsy shop to check out the other digital products I have for sale.
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