"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall."
— Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If you are a bibliophile like me than you will want to immediately stop reading this review and type in the web address for Homeschool Library Builder, http://www.hslibrarybuilder.com/, a wonderful on-line bookstore where you can “fill your bookshelves without emptying your wallet”.
The bright warm colors of the web pages accented in green seem to beckon you to turn or should I say click through the pages of this versatile on-line catalog. Homeschool Library Builder allows you to shop via various categories including new arrivals, clearance, activity books/crafts, anthologies/storybooks, award winners, biographies, Christian fiction, classics/literature, curriculum/teacher helps, fiction, gifts, hard-to-find/ collectibles, historical fiction, historical non-fiction, holiday/ seasons, inspirational, picture books, poetry/art/music, readers, reference, science, a search by country/region option and for those who can’t decide a browse all books category. There is also a search engine for those looking simply for a specific title.
The handy “search by curriculum” option allows you to find selections recommended for curricula such as “Five in a Row”, “Sonlight”, “Beautiful Feet”, “Veritas Press”, “Tapestry of Grace”, and “Ambleside On-line”. I found this particular category ingenious in saving me valuable time while shopping. For example, I clicked on Sonlight which led me to a choice of the different Cores. I next clicked on Core 100 which led me to a catalog page of titles consisting only of those used in that particular Core all at discounted prices! Each listing held a small colored photo of the cover of the book, author, reading level, type (ie. hard or soft cover), condition, small 1-2 sentence description, retail price and our price. The listings reminded me of the ease, clarity and professional quality of shopping on other on-line bookstores provided by major retailers, but much more useful because it was tailored to my particular curriculum choice. A handy “buy now” or “add to wishlist” button accompanied each listing allowing me flexibility with my shopping experience. When choosing the “buy now” option I was not burdened with a visit to my shopping cart, but rather the catalog page simply refreshed alerting me to the fact that the item had been added and I could continue shopping without breaking my concentration. Love it! A simple click on the “shopping cart” button on the webpage header granted access to my cart allowing me instant access to check my spending totals.
A unique category for the holidays created by store owners Julie Huffman and Gayla Weatherford was the “Operation Christmas Child” section. All the books categorized in this area of the catalog focused on the theme of gratitude and proceeds from the sales of these books will be donated to Samaritan’s Purse to fill shoe boxes for children in need. These items included a “free shipping” bonus for the purchaser allowing customers to easily choose to help children in need while building their personal library.
Other specials offered for the month of November included $1, $2, $3, and $5 bin sections of the catalog, free shipping for orders of $50 or more, and a free hard-cover copy of Squanto and The Miracle of Thanksgiving by Eric Metaxas.
For those looking for even greater bargains from this Christian family-run book business, “dedicated to providing great literature at affordable prices”, a free on-line membership to the store is available. Membership benefits include special e-mail notices of promotions and Book Points. Book Points are the epitome of a frequent buyer program earned for every dollar spent. Fifteen book points equal one dollar in an account for future purchases. Book points can also be earned by recommending friends to the web store or placing a link on your blog or website for the store.
Organizations looking to save or rather make money may take advantage of Homeschool Library Builder’s fundraising option where 20% or more of sale proceeds are donated to the organization; a great idea for support groups, co-ops and clubs. All shopping for the fundraiser is done on-line and managed by Homeschool Library Builder. What could be easier?!
Purchases can be made with Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, Book Points*, Gift Certificate or Personal Check. While you wait for your purchases you will want to spend some time perusing the “About Homeschooling” section of the website where you can access information regarding general homeschooling, the great books, educational resources and helpful blog links written by “real” homeschooling families. A special “spotlight on the season” section featuring scripture references, links to websites containing crafts, worksheets/lesson plans, science ideas, poems and rhymes all geared for the appropriate current season will keep you fully inspired as well.
With all that Homeschool Library Builder has to offer the homeschooling family the only other place you will need to shop is your local hardware store. You are going to need supplies to build more bookshelves in order to house all the great books purchased from Homeschool Library Builder!