How’s Your Survival Library Coming?

If you’ve read this blog much, you know I recommend many books. I’m a firm believer in books. That goes against the grain in today’s high tech, plugged-in society, I realize.

Have you seen the episode from the original Star Trek where a lawyer defends Captain Kirk using—gasp!—books? The lawyer didn’t put his trust in computers. That episode made a statement about the value of books that’s every bit as relevant and true now as it was when the episode first aired.

Maybe for some of my readers I’m preaching to the choir. Nonetheless, it’s good to review the advantages of books in survival situations, such as when power’s out in the aftermath of a storm.

Books are low tech and don’t require batteries. They’re organized, and with an index or table of contents, you maybe able to find what you’re looking for faster than you can online. Of course, books will be around when there is no “online.”

I often suggest getting books for your survival library because I believe you should indeed have a survival library. I’m talking about books with information for you right now and for a future time.

Though I focus here on books dealing primarily with survival and preparedness, your survival library should include those and more. It should be broader. Having a survival library is a statement about who you are and what you want to pass on to others in the future.

Your library can include favorite children’s stories, fiction or nonfiction you’ve enjoyed over time, classics, school text books, recipe books, religious or Bible study books, and, of course, the Bible.

I suggest having a copy of the Scriptures even if you don’t consider yourself a believer because they’re loaded with wisdom, stories and treasures that have stood the test of time. No upright family, community, or society has survived without the Bible.

I came across someone else’s thoughts about what should be included in a survival library and found some good ideas. Here are two similar sets of broad categories that were suggested.

  1. Direct survival books.
  2. Books on local flora and fauna, weather, construction books, gun books, etc.
  3. All other non-fiction.
  4. Fiction books.


  1. Direct survival books.
  2. Important skill and information non-fiction and school books.
  3. Religious/Spiritual/Inspirational Books.
  4. All other (barter) non-fiction.
  5. Fiction.

I’m sure you’re well aware that there are plenty of places for getting both new and used books. Good places for used books includes used book stores, library and college book sales and the Paperbackswap site.

Now here’s a challenge to take this idea even further. You may already have a substantial book collection, whether you call it a survival library or not. Are there special books you’d like to have when things get weird? Have you prioritized and put those prized books on shelves where you can easily get to all of them without hunting around for them?

For example, your top two shelves might contain the books you’d grab in a hurry. Would you be able to put that mini library in a suitcase or a couple of dry boxes? This would be your ultimate survival library.

You don’t have to play the old game of which one or two books you’d have if you were stranded on a deserted island. However, having carefully chosen useful and entertaining books at your disposal may indeed be crucial for survival for you and your family.

Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.