Editors Note: Another guest post from Red J to The Prepper Journal. Make note that Round 12 of the Prepper Writing Contest will be posted next week. As we start to mull over our New Years resolutions, this article may give us a few ideas. If you have information for Preppers that you would like to share and possibly receive a $25 cash award as well as be entered into the Prepper Writing Contest with a chance to win one of three Amazon Gift Cards with the top prize being a $300 card to purchase your own prepping supplies, enter today!
When one begins a new endeavor, one begins by learning and gaining knowledge about that endeavor. Prepper knowledge is the foundation on which one learns to live a prepper lifestyle.
When I become interested in something, I like to read about it because reading is my best learning style. So I gradually collect articles, books, & notes in the interest area. Five years ago, I discovered the world of prepping in a magazine article that lead to a prepper site with links to other prepper sites. So I began collecting www articles on my computer. The Prepper Journal is a great resource. What started out as just saving a few fascinating articles and ordering a few books that looked interesting, has gradually evolved into a prepper library. When I learned about a grid-down situation caused by an EMP or a cyberattack on our electrical grid (see https://theprepperjournal.com/2014/12/19/lights/), I began printing off articles, so that I’d have a paper copy. As that pile of articles grew, I began a topical filing system. Sometimes I purchased paper and kindle books, including some fictional ones.
At times my wife questioned the value and wisdom of paying for such books. So I tried to explain to her some things I’d read that lead me to prep. Occasionally, she’d read one of the prepping articles I left by our computer. Now, after 5 years, I have accumulated hundreds of articles, paper copies and more on 2 computers, dozens of hard copy books, and dozens of kindle ones. I have read almost all these, except a small number of reference books.
What to Collect:
Topics include in random order, gardening, weapons and self-defense, prepper groups, homesteading, animals, off-grid living, water, food, communication, medical/first-aid and electricity/energy/light. In addition, about a third of my books are fictional. I see this as our prepper library. There are numerous other prepper topics that you can find on prepper sites; in addition to the above topics, I recommend adding those that fit your current or future needs and interests.
I also recommend having some non-prepper books, because there will be times when someone in your group wants to read something else. Some believe that there will be a need for escape from the struggles of a post-SHTF world, and books and music can fill that need. Music will have a place in a post-disaster world. It’d be good to have some sacred and religious books for the faiths represented by the members of your group. If your plan includes someone teaching children, you’ll need suitable materials. A book on sewing may prove helpful. A few resources on history may be valuable for those who don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past. When electronic entertainment is not available, more will read novels for enjoyment and to escape a tough, new world.
Consider your future plans when deciding how to add to your collection; for example, if you plan to add a certain animal to your homestead, you’ll want to gather information related to that animal. If you want to begin a garden or build a windmill, you’ll want a book and/or several articles on that.
So What is the Value of a Prepper Library?
Some articles and books explain how to do things that I have not yet had time to learn in real life. There is far too much for one to remember everything, which is one reason a prepper library is valuable. An advantage of several books on the same topic, is that different authors tackle a subject in different ways. For example, there are different ways to set up a solar energy system or rainwater collection system – https://theprepperjournal.com/2013/07/11/100-year-old-way-to-filter-rainwater-in-a-barrel/ .
I buy almost all my books online, which will be impossible in a grid-down situation. So, if one wants to know how to make or do something, post grid-down, one needs to get that information now. My goal has been to invest in books on all the basics (water, food, first-aid and medical, gardening, homesteading, security and weapons) of prepping, with a limited number on advanced areas. The internet is a great source of information now, but don’t count on it in a grid-down world. The cheapest way to develop a prepper library is to copy and save prepper articles to your computer. Printing them costs just the ink and paper. Developing a filing system is critical.
My prepper library is the most unique strength I can contribute to a prepper group. My other skills and things are relatively common. I may not be able to or know how to do something in a post-disaster situation, but my library has something related to it. I am the primary or lead prepper in our family. My wife and adult children have come to accept and occasionally support my prepping efforts. I have sometimes wondered, what would happen to my beloved family if something happened to me? My wife knows where to find my prepper files and books, and I have instructed her, that if anything were to happen to me, she could find lots of helpful information in those resources. A small prepper library will be extremely helpful to those who were inadequately prepared. Various articles or books could also be used to barter for other items.
When I want to encourage a friend to consider prepping, it’s handy to have an article to give or book to loan to him/her. I’ve encouraged several people to read One Second After, by William Forstchen, as well as Lights Out, by Ted Koppel, and/or articles related to something a friend expressed an interest in. I also discovered a few people that would read a prepper novel, but are not interested in a prepper how-to book. Some prepper novels include descriptions of how to prepare for certain things.
In addition to basic prepping topics, include some books on rebuilding things in a post-disaster world. Some of mine include The Human-Powered Home, by Tamara Dean, When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency, by Matthew Stein, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch, by Lewis Dartnell, and Beyond Collapse: Surviving and Rebuilding Civilization from Scratch, by T. Joseph Miller, Jr. These will help you improve your life AND the lives of those around you, when most people can’t see beyond just surviving. Resources like these will enable you to help your group or neighborhood thrive, when others will be barely surviving.
Where & How to Store Your Library:
A caution: As you buy paper books, it’s tempting to keep them in your living room, but if you or your family or roommate have guests over, their seeing your collection of prepper books and articles may make them think you’re one of those weird doomsday preppers. So it’s a good idea to keep most of your prepper books in a bedroom closet shelf or in a box where guests would not see them. This is also something to keep in mind if, and when, a friend uses your computer or kindle. Most advocate keeping a a low profile, not sharing much except for a few trustworthy friends or family members. On the other hand, books on topics like gardening, hiking, or camping would not necessarily be associated with prepping, and thus could be shelved in a living room or home office.
Some preppers like to download prepper-related videos from YouTube or other sites to their computer or smartphone. I plan to be able to recharge my kindle in a grid-down situation, which takes some extra consideration. If you want to access prepper videos or articles on a kindle, smartphone, and/or laptop after a grid-down, I recommend that you use an electronic device other than one you use daily. An EMP or cyber-attack on our grid may leave your electronic devices useless. Although this is debated, it’s wiser to be safe than sorry. Thus, one may want to keep a phone, kindle, and/or tablet in a Faraday cage. – https://theprepperjournal.com/2017/05/01/data-storage-for-preppers/.
Ways to Maintain Digital Resources in a Grid-Down Situation:
If your prepper library includes kindle or eBooks, research rechargeable batteries and small solar rechargers, and keep your device in a Faraday container.
A prepper library is valuable for any prepper family or group. There are so many aspects of being prepared, and countless situations to be prepared for, that it’s not wise to depend on memory for what will be a stressful situation. Also, articles and a book serve as backup knowledge in case your group medical expert doesn’t return from an errand across town, or your gardening guru gets deathly sick. Prepper knowledge is the foundation from which to learn and live a prepper lifestyle.