Survival Library After TSHTF

The Survivalist book series by Jerry Ahern was one of my favorite reads as a teenager. My favorite part that I remember was a “shelter walk-thru”. You see – the main character had a hidden underground shelter that after the first several books – he finally makes it to. Upon entering – the book describes the contents of the shelter in great detail. One of the parts of the shelter that I remember most was the library. It contained many different types of books including thosethat could be used to teach his 2 young children. The idea behind the shelter was to have everything necessary to survive pretty much anything – and keep civilization going.

With this in mind – I am going to describe some things that I have put together as far as a “survival library” as well as additional plans I have.

First – the purpose: The purpose of my library/information system is to secure valuable information that can be referenced after a TSHTF situation – whatever it may be.


Second – materials needed/used: Electronic information systems such as a tablet(iPad/Android), Kindle/Kindle Fire, and of course the laptop computer can store massive amounts of information of various types. The media can range from pictures (maps, directions, reference charts), books/manuals/guides in PDF format, as well as full motion video. Although the grid may very well be down after TSHTF – all of these electronic devices require very little power and should be satisfied with almost any backup power source.

Additionally – regular paper books should be stored in the event that electronic media becomes inoperable.

Third – Content: As I described initially – electronic media is a major component of my information preps. However – I am going to describe paper-based media first.

Paper Media:

Good old fashion books should is the mainstay of my preparedness library.

Right now I have a large collection of survival magazines such as Mothers Earth News, OFF GRID, and American Survival Guide. I purchase a decent number of magazines related to gardening, guns, and general preparedness. I save all my back issues as many of these issues provide some great reference material related to homesteading and gardening.

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I have a number of survival & preparedness books right now. Most of them primarily involved with pre-SHTF preparation. I need to obtain more “reference”-type books – on things like plant identification, first aid, primitive shelter construction, and so on.

Right now – here is a picture of about half of my “survival” books:
Here is a list of books that I plan to purchase (with links built in so you can get more info):

Electronic Media:

Due to the storage capability of electronic media devices – I have incorporated a massive amount of survival & preparedness digital articles, books and video’s into my preparedness information system.

Right now my primary devices for accessing this information is a Chromebook computer and a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 tablet (redundancy). My data is spread out among several media storage devices such as USB flash drives, external hard drives, SD cards and mini-SD cards. All data is duplicated and backed up among several storage devices – just in case.

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I am in the process of trying to organize all of this information. I have it broken up into the following categories:

  • General Survival
  • Gardening
  • Food Storage
  • Homesteading
  • Military Manuals
  • First Aid/Medical Books/Manuals
  • Civil Defense/Nuclear, Biological & Chemical
  • EMP
  • Bugging Out/Evacuation
  • Hunting/Fishing
  • Movies – Entertainment
  • Urban Survival
  • Weapons

I have approx 20 gigabytes of this information organized.  In addition to that I have another 60 gigabytes that needs to be gone through. By the way – much of this organized information in available right here – located in the Survival Downloads Section.

One other awesome resource that will likely go down after SHTF is the Internet. Well – I backup several large websites so they can be accessible offline.

The above is what I have right now. My preparedness library is far from complete. Planned possible addition to my electronic media capability include the following:

Kindle Fire 7″ Multimedia Tablet – this thing is cool. A high quality book reader  – I really want one of these as it is very easy to download the books I want at a cheaper price than buying the paper version. Another method of storing, retaining and backing up  information.


Summary: Information after the SHTF will be important.  I am trying to increase my skills and knowledge now to better prepare myself and not be as reliant on “books”.

Take care all –


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11 thoughts on “Survival Library After TSHTF”

  1. Thanks Rourke. I have never heard of American Survival guide magazine or Off Grid.I will
    check them out. I highly recommend Backwoods Home Magazine The Farmers Almanac
    is also a good ref: for the weather and planting guides and lots of inf.
    We also have an exc. library and its great to have a few ref books to turn to on gardening,
    bee keeping, canning, dehydrating etc. Yes one can find inf. on line but theres something
    solid about looking at a real book .
    Just read there was a major earthquake in Chili 7.9
    I listened to the Rep. Debate on CNN. Seems to me the strongest candidates were. RyR Ted Cruz
    and Carly Fiorina. Rubio was also exc.
    What did others think who watched it ? Arlene

  2. Excellent list of books…..including the Far Side Gallery. That’s close to how I’m prepping and my backup electronic media is in a Faraday box in case of EMP.

  3. Also check out THE BACKWOODSMAN magazine, written by mainly us – the readers. A lot of great tips and projects for the prepping community. Backwoods Home is good – the yearly anthologies are well worth purchasing, as they condense the information without the advertising. I used to be a subscriber until I noticed many of the topics were covered repeatedly. Countryside magazine as well – the Jerry Berlanger issues I think have better information (the pre- Y2K issues in particular are very detailed).

    Research foods which are native to YOUR AREA, natural food sources on where and when and how to prepare them is valuable information. As has often been said, there is only so much you can store – then what ?

  4. Rourke, Impressive list of reference/reading material. There are pros and cons to the use of digital media. I personally do not wish to use digital media. Mainly the power drain on my limited resources after a grid down problem. I am disappointed that a good bible was not at the top of your list. Thanks for the info. Keep up the good work.

  5. Looking at the picture above I see a mother earth mag. I used to get it too. But I’m Christian and the last mother earth I read had an article written by one of those flower children libs and was blaming Christians for global warming. That is just putting it mildly considering the way the writer put it. That was the last straw. I had just read enough of that lib junk in that mag. There’s too many other mags with much more information about gardening and country life. But I did enjoy it at one time.

  6. I just finished reading One Year After by William R Forsthchen couldn’t put it down now can’t wait for the third book I didn’t think he could top One second After but I was wrong another plus is I got at our local library where here in Spokane they have a great many prepper survivalist series.

  7. Backwoods Home Magazine has an anthology collection of all it’s articles from the beginning in both DVD and printed versions available. Very informative resource to have!

  8. I use flash drives some, but I have not been able to find out how long they last as far as storing info. All the research I have done on it they only talk about how many times you access the info, not how long info will stay usable on a drive in storage. Because I could not get a good answer to this I burn info to DVD’s and CD as a long-term storage medium.

    • Chuck – my experience is they last a very long time and are incredibly durable. I have had many go through the washer machine with no issues afterwards.

  9. I’ve been ‘prepping since the early 70’s , after ‘being forced’ to read Alas Babylon to pass 10th grade English class. I have close to 1000 various books relating to homesteading, DIY, camping / backpacking, animal husbandry, gardening, prepping and (probably around 300+-) military FM’s & TM’s, and many fiction books too. As far as magazines, I have every issue of Mother Earth News up to #250, then it just got to be too much of the same stuff and ‘if you aint green, you’re mean’ type politics. I have every issue of Backwoods Home (probably my favorite), every issue of the old ‘American Survival Guide’ and ‘Survive’ magazines from the 80’s. (I am, afterall, a 58 year old retired Army vet, so note the reason for the numerous back issues), I also have around 15 years of ‘Countryside’ (also a great mag.) and of course around 20+ years of ‘Backwoodsman’ and also every issue of ‘Survival Quarterly’ (the late Ron and Karen Woods excellent mag.).
    The new ‘American Survival Guide’ and ‘Off Grid’, along with a few others seem to be nothing but advertisement platforms with nice color photos of high-tech equipment, not that that’s necessarily bad, but not much in the way of actually teaching a skill, so to me, not worth saving as part of a ‘learning’ library.
    Two current mags I like are (editor, Nancy Tappen’s) ‘The New Pioneer and a mag titled ‘Prepper & Shooter’, a little hard to find but all 4 back issues and subscriptions are avail. on line.
    I also Have hundreds of ‘cut & paste’ articles from various websites, including this one (I do include all copyright info such as: author, date and site location) that I’ve both printed on word docs and put into ‘subject specific binders’ and/or saved to thumb drives ( my digital library is rather small, it’s limited to about 3ea. 16gb sticks. I know people with tablets with 1000’s of book on them but I cant get myself to read from a screen for long duration’s, just reading my PC screen for an hour or two a day is enough for me ).
    One last thing… at one time I subscribed to The Franklin Mints ‘100 Greatest Books’ club and kept around 50-60 of them, so I have many of the classics in literature also. So yes, I do have a very large and extensive ‘survival’ library. I love being surrounded by books. To quote Ralph Waldow Emerson… “A mans library is sort of like a harem”

    • Wow Roberto – that is an incredible collection. Agree with you on Mothers Earth News. I have seen agenda based articles but have overlooked them to get valuable information. Now I buy 2-3 copies a year.


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