I have always been a huge fan of public libraries. As a matter of fact, before the era of eBooks, one criteria I used to determine where to live was the proximity of a public library. Can you imagine doing that now? These days, libraries do not need to be within commuting distance since most, if not all libraries offer a free and convenient way to download eBooks, magazines, music and videos from the comfort of your home.
In addition, did you know that most libraries have a request feature where you can borrow titles not in their inventory from other library systems? In many cases the cost is free or quite nominal. They also have a feature where you can suggest titles to add to their inventory. I do this all of the time with preparedness and survival titles that are extraordinary. 100% of the time, the books I have suggested have been added and are now available for free checkout to the rest of the community.
This helps my neighbors as well as the authors themselves. Win win!
Why Every Survival Community Needs a Library
My garage is full of prepping and survival books stored in boxes. These are books in print format, both hardback and softback. Many were Prepper Book Festival tomes that have been either read or scanned, then set aside as I moved on to the next book on the list. The really good ones were also acquired in eBook or audiobook format so they would be more convenient to read or listen to on the go.
I also have tons of cookbooks, gardening books, how-to books from the 70s and 80s, and old technical manuals from my software industry days. The best of the cookbooks have already been set aside as keepers, especially those from the 30s and 40s that are honest-to-good bibles on scratch cooking and household chores of the era.
Additional Reading: 8 Reasons Old Cookbooks Are Important
With space being so limited, I had considered giving all of these books to the local thrift store. Until now.
What is a Survival Community?
Before I explain, it is important to define how I am using the term “Survival Community” within the context of this article.
A survival community, by my definition, is a group of individuals and families that have bonded together following a major disruptive event. Traditional life has changed; perhaps the grid is down for the long term, or there has been anarchy or a pandemic requiring isolation from the rest of the world. Whatever the reason, a group of like minded individuals has come together to share their knowledge, skills, and yes, even consumables such as food, water, medical supplies, and ammo.
The goal of the community is self-reliance during difficult, if not impossible, times. Note that this differs from what I refer to as a “Prepper Community” that comes together in good times to share information, skills, and knowledge but not the communal sharing of physical resources.
In the survival community, as I have defined it, there is a centralized location where members can meet and share news of the day. In the old days, this was often referred to as the Town Hall. Not only would the town hall be a place to meet to define the rules of governance, it would be a place to share information, and perhaps relax over a board game or a hand of gin rummy or canasta.
I propose that such a community also have a library, where the members can check out books on a wide variety of topics. Those topics mimic the books in my boxes: starting seeds, fixing a broken computer, cooking from scratch, candle making, non-electric lighting, dieting, and even some of those motivational subjects I am so fond of reading. Of course there are novels and lots of them.
I also propose that the library have a wide selection of board games and puzzles that can be checked out and rotated among members.
The Town Librarian
From your comments and emails, I know that many members of the Backdoor Survival family are concerned that due to age, health, or financial reasons, they may not be welcomed into a survival community if and when the stuff hits the fan.
Of course that is silly. You have skills. You can cook, clean, teach, sew, entertain, read aloud and do so many other things that do not require a strong back, good health, or lots of consumable goods.
You can also become the town librarian!
The town librarian can organize the books, help other community members find the information they seek, read aloud to children, and even become an organizer of community events. To tell the truth, the town librarian may become the most popular member of the community other than the cook.
Additional Reading: 46 Pioneer Skills for the Modern Homesteader
The Final Word
When I look out at my tiny back yard that only gets three hours of sun daily, I know for a fact that I will be unable to grow my own food. But I can do other things, including becoming the town librarian. In doing so, I would have the best, if not the most fun job in the community!
Seriously, if you have old books that are out of date and gathering dust in your garage, basement or attic, think again before throwing them out. This is especially true if you have technical manuals that describe how to do things. Can you imagine how useful an old manual on basic electronics or gas engines will be in a long term grid down situation such as after an EMP? And that is only the tip of the iceberg.
If you frequent garage sales, flea markets of thrift stores and see a box of old reference books or technical materials from times gone by, do not pass them up. Also be on the lookout for copies of Mother Earth News, Popular Mechanics and similar DIY magazines. Chances are you can pick them up for mere pennies. If and when the dreaded SHTF occurs, they will be priceless.
In closing, I would love to hear your thoughts on other roles that will be useful in a survival community. What role would you like to play?
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!
I have been compiling a list of my favorite preps. The following items made the cut and all would be beneficial in a survival community. As you know, I do not promote anything that I do not own and believe in.
Encyclopedia of Country Living: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It Yourself: I have the ebook version but after writing this article, I realize that I also need the print version. Ordered today! This is the bestselling resource for modern homesteading, growing and preserving foods, and raising chickens, It includes chapters on how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, can peaches, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, build a chicken coop, catch a pig, cook on a wood stove, and much, much more. This comprehensive resource is the most authoritative guide available to a sustainable lifestyle and living off of the land.
DryTec Calcium Hypochlorite, 1-Pound: This is 68% Calcium Hypochlorite. As of this writing, the price is with free shipping. I purchased Ultima Pool Shock which is 73% Calcium Hypochlorite. For more information, read How to Use Pool Shock to Purify Water.
Berkey Water Filter System: For in home use, nothing beats the Berkey. My own Royal Berkey represents a key component of my water preps. The Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.
The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way: This book teaches how to deal with all the likely medical issues you will face in a disaster situation, including strategies to keep your family healthy even in the worse scenarios. It covers skills such as performing a physical exam, transporting the injured patient, and even how to suture a wound. This medical reference belongs in every survival library.
Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards: This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out. Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.
Baofeng or Pofung UV-5R Ham Two Way Radio: The Pofung (formerly Baofeng) UV-5R is a compact hand held transceiver providing 4 watts in the frequency range of 136-174 MHz and 400-480 MHz It is a compact, economical HT that includes a special VHF receive band from 65 – 108 MHz which includes the regular FM broadcast band. Dual watch and dual reception is supported.
Here is the antenna I ordered along with the programming cable: NAGOYA Antenna for BAOFENG UV-5R and USB Programming Cable for Baofeng UV-5R UV-3R+. Need help with setup? Read How to Set-Up and Master Ham Radio Without Going Crazy.
Kershaw OSO Sweet Knife: This “oh so sweet” knife is a solidly built, stainless steel knife that comes razor sharp right out of the package. It will pretty much cut through anything the price is amazing.
Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: This light is awesome. I use mine downstairs as well as on my stairway and when I get up in the middle of the night, they come on automatically. They are quite unobtrusive and give off a ton of light. Runs for a year on 3 D size batteries. As of this writing, free Prime Shipping.