If there does come to pass a total collapse, folks are pretty much going to be on their own for quite some time. With a collapse will probably come a lack of Internet access so you’re going to want at least a few basic reference books on hand to guide you through unfamiliar procedures. There’s also the problem of educating kids, which will fall onto parents much more than it does today.
Here is a short list of topics that should be addressed in your home library reference materials.
Home repair: You’ll want one or more books that detail how to effect basic carpentry, plumbing, and even electrical repairs. Sure, common sense can probably guide you through some of it but it will be nice to see how things “should” be done. There are a ton of great books out there, such as the ones published by Home Depot. After a collapse, these books may end up being worth their weight in gold.
Medical: Into this category fall both traditional medicine as well as herbal and other so-called folk medicine. Where There Is No Doctor, Where There Is No Dentist, as well as the phenomenal Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Handbook By Joseph Alton M.D. and Amy Alton ARNP are all highly recommended.
Bushcraft: If you aren’t well experienced with wilderness skills, pick up a few good books on the subject so you aren’t totally lost. Naturally, I’d suggest you go through those books and learn the skills, rather than just hope you’ll be able to pick it up on the fly when needed.
Educational: Give some thought to picking up at least a few basic texts on language, math, science, and history. Given how popular homeschooling has become in recent years, you should have no trouble finding some great books out there on these subjects. Keep in mind the ages of your children and plan ahead to provide for their needs in the years to come.
Haunt used bookstores and rummage sales frequently and you’ll be able to put together a fairly extensive reference library at little cost. The benefits may turn out to be enormous!