Knowledge is power and this power will bring you up when everything around you crumbles. We stockpile food and water, we hoard the things we might need during a disaster, and we equip our armory so that we could fend off a small army. What are you doing about accumulating knowledge? You’ve started learning about first aid, about gardening, about wood crafting and other skills you might need, but one cannot learn everything. This is why you need to build your own SHTF library.
Today, we have all sorts of books that have gathered the hard-learned lessons of the previous generations. You can learn about gardening, about off-grid living and about anything you desire. And the best part is that this knowledge is available to you for literal pennies.
Every prepper should put some effort into developing his own how-to or SHTF library. It should include how to books with things that you never thought of doing. You don’t have to go for the survival books or the newest field guides since most of these books are either too specific or are just re-cycled old books in new clothes and with “updated” prices.
Pick up books on gardening, building a root cellar, composting, gunsmithing, etc. – actual skills that can be used regardless of the area you live in. You never know what the future will bring and you might have to bug-out at a certain point. If that will be the case, you need to bring with you a set of skills or proper knowledge that can help you survive and thrive with what can be found in your new environment. Knowing how to fix a flat tire will help you regardless if you are in the desert or in the mountains. A good SHTF library will help you survive and thrive in the end.
You should concentrate on collecting the following types of books for your SHTF library:
First aid books
When it comes to first aid books, there are a lot of choices. You have training manuals for anything, from disaster preparedness to how to deliver a baby. You need to get the books that cover most of the medical emergencies, you may encounter and the books that provide solutions to the illnesses you or your loved ones are suffering from. In my collection, amongst other books, I have The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook, which can be purchased from Amazon, for a few pennies.
Once you’ve got your first aid books, don’t put them on the shelf like most people who get them. You should read them and try to become familiar with their content and every time you have the occasion, you should practice! Try to treat your wounds every time you can, unless of course, it’s a medical emergency that you can’t handle. You should also try to attend to as many first aid classes as possible because besides gaining useful knowledge you will also get the reading material offered during these courses.
Cooking is art and cooking with scraps is survival. But who says you can’t have both? There are thousands of books available out there, that will teach you how to cook new dishes from the same old stuff. For your SHTF library, you should get books that are general. The ones that do not cover cooking with a stove or a microwave since those facilities will not always be around. Get the books that offer a large variety of recipes.
You should look at the ingredients from your pantry, at your family habits and then you can select some books that cover all your needs. Try cooking more at home and gain experience when it comes to mixing ingredients. You don’t need to become a chef; you just need to be sure you know enough so that cooking will not be a problem WSHTF.
Canning and Food preservation books
This is a hot topic for preppers and survivalists. Being able to preserve food in good conditions and enjoying it during a time of need is something everyone wants. Safety should be a priority when it comes to canning as you don’t want to get sick from eating spoiled food. One or two general canning books should be a must for every prepper. Besides teaching you the techniques, these books will also provide you with a wish list containing all the items needed for canning.
You should also get some books that cover specific topics. Things such as making jellies, curing meat, preserving dairy and so on. The American diet varies from region to region, and it’s best to know how to prepare and preserve foods that are grown locally. Supermarkets will not always be there, and you will have to make use of what you produce or trade with your neighbors. Food preservation books are a must for every SHTF library.
The future may bring back the doings of the old days and handiwork will play a significant part in the life of every prepper. You will need to learn how to craft a chicken coop or learn basic camping crafts. Here everything goes, and it’s better to pick the books you think may come in handy one day. Maybe you’re not into woodworking, but once you read a book about this skill, your perception will change, and you could find a use for this talent in the future.
If you have to barter and when you are running low on supplies, putting your skills to work will be your only chance of doing business. I try to get as many craft books as possible for my SHTF library.
Books about wild plants and animals will be of great help for you and your family. Especially when foraging and hunting will be the main food procurement method. It doesn’t hurt to know which are the wild edible plants, where to find these plants and when to harvest them. Knowing the difference between an edible mushroom and a poisonous one will save you a lot of trouble. The same goes for hunting and fishing. You are never too old to learn a thing or two about how can you hunt or fish. Make sure that your SHTF library contains a few books about wilderness survival.
Related reading: Forage during summer
For your SHTF library, you need some good books that can provide you with information regarding livestock and gardening. When it comes to homesteading, you want your books to cover as many subjects as possible since you will be taking decisions based on the learning it provided. There are also a lot of homesteading communities on the internet that provide good reading materials, that you should print and store for later use. The more information you have about homesteading the easier it will be for you to face an unknown scenario.
Your homesteading books should cover all the basic steps of gardening. You should be able to work with those books alone. However, after some time you should change your perspective and get some specialty books for your SHTF library, books that can help you get a better crop. Try to get some books on composting, soil management, seed harvesting, natural pest control and companion planting. If gardening will be your main source of food you want to gather as much knowledge as possible regarding gardening, otherwise you will starve.
Specialty books on small livestock
If you grew up on a farm, you know how difficult is to raise cattle and horses. You probably have a good idea of what it implies. If a farm is an entirely new environment for you, then jumping into raising large farm animals might not be for you. Large farm animals can prove to be a disaster if not handled correctly, so you should save yourself the trouble and start with something else. You should try your luck with chickens and ducks, rabbits and even goats as they are a good starter livestock.
You can find books about animal care, shelter, diseases, meat processing, etc. Think it through and start with something small, something that you can handle. Books about small livestock are always a great addition to your SHTF library.
Home repair books
Things will break down as nothing lasts forever. And when it does happen, you will need to know how to repair it or learn to live without it. I remember that my grandparents used to repair anything that needed repairing and they didn’t need any help to do it. Compared to them, I have to look up on the internet if something needs fixing and try my luck with the information I can get. Books on plumbing, wiring and carpentry will become valuable resources when things break down. These books will help you become a better handyman. Any book that can help you maintain what you own will be a great addition to your SHTF library.
Related reading: Survival Skills your great-grand parents had.
Kids – Fiction books
When there is no electricity, your PlayStation will be just a shiny box. You and your kids will have to find other ways of entertainment. Since survival is not only about eating beans at candlelight, you will have to stockpile something to help you pass the time, especially for the kids.
Some good fiction books will do wonders for your family during down times. Reading a good book helps you relax, and it stimulates your imagination. It can also provide you with useful ideas that you could use in real life. When it comes to good books, you have to keep in mind and chose the ones that have lasted over time. The good stuff always lasts and it’s something you need for your SHTF library.
Some useful tips for your SHTF library:
- Do not go digital all the way, your IPad filled with valuable books might someday break. You will lose all your precious books. It’s better to go with paper as it will last longer.
- If you insist on keeping your books in digital format, make sure you have a backup plan. Put your books on a USB stick so you can always have a copy of your SHTF library.
- Get as many free books as possible; the internet is full of them. All you need to have is time and patience, to search for the books you need.
- SHARE THIS ARTICLE with your friends and people who are into preparedness. Ask them if they have some of the books listed above. They can help you increase your book collection.
- Always buy during sales, go to Amazon and add the books you like to your wish list. Keep an eye on it and be ready for any sale periods to add new books to your SHTF library.
- Get yourself a sturdy printer so that you can print the books and articles you find on the Internet. Getting one during sales it’s a good idea; I got mine during Black Friday with a 70% discount.
- Your library doesn’t have to be fancy; it has to be useful. Don’t put too much time and money into folders, elaborate notebooks, and other items.
- Make sure your SHTF library light and portable. You might need to carry it in your bug out bag.
If you don’t have a SHTF library, don’t worry! It’s never too late to build one and with the information provided in this article, you should be able to start without any difficulties. Remember that good knowledge is everything when it comes to survival. You should start building your SHTF library today!
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