The Survivor Library (as of 11/14/2021)

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"The Librarian"
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The Survivor Library (as of 11/14/2021)

199.3GB / 13,763 PDFs - "A compendium of the Technological and Industrial Knowldge of the 1800 through early 1900s"

This website was difficult to archive because he's got his web server set up to ban your IP address if you download too much in a period of time. This is probably because "The Librarian" is actually selling hard drives, USB drives, and Blu-Ray discs with the Survivor Library on them. Don't let their wasted bandwidth be in vain, save this shit.

Why a Survivor Library?

What is it and why should anyone care?

There are many websites, books, videos and classes that teach “Survival Skills”. How to make water safe to drink. How to build a weather proof shelter from available materials. How to build a fire. How to operate in a tactical combat environment to neutralize raiders seeking your food supplies.

All of them deal primarily with the immediate effects of a disaster and how to survive them. All of these are excellent skills to have. A year’s worth of food is an excellent way to help safeguard yourself and your family in the event of an emergency or a large scale disaster.

Unfortunately many large scale disasters such as Solar or Nuclear EMP events, Pandemic disease or Cyber warfare could result in a collapse of what has become an increasingly fragile technological and industrial infrastructure. The collapse of that infrastructure means the likely death of the majority of the people affected. Some scenarios have expected death rates of as high as 90% within a few months.

The Survival Skills most often taught and disseminated will get you through the immediate danger.

Few if any of these resources focus on what happens afterwards beyond speaking of “planting a garden”.

What happens AFTER the Solar Flare that destroys the electrical grid and all electronics? AFTER the other 90% of the population has died from starvation, dehydration and disease. AFTER the roving gangs and raiders are eliminated and local communities form to provide security and relative peace.

What Then?

The factories are gone. The transportation system has stopped. Now it’s time to start planning for the long term, for your children and grandchildren.

The infrastructure that crashed can’t be “turned back on”. The local power plant can’t be restarted when the coal it uses comes from several states away which was transported by trains which depended on diesel fuel refined in other states and delivered by pipelines which no longer function. The infrastructure is too complex to simply be switched back on.

Tools and equipment and supplies can be salvaged for a while but will inevitably run out. There is only so much fertilizer stored in stores and warehouses. There are only so many batteries and flashlight bulbs in inventory. It will all run out in time and no one will be making replacements.

Which means you will have to build a new infrastructure which can eventually replace what was lost.

But how? No one has those skills or knowledge any longer. The cell phones don’t work and we can’t build digital radios any longer and we don’t know how to build a telegraph system.

The Library contains many books on telegraph systems. It has numerous books on how to build simple radios. It has books on how to build a wire based telephone system from the simplest pieces of equipment up through how to build a telephone exchange and lay wires.

Once the fuel runs out the cars and trucks stop do you know how to build a carriage to put behind a horse? Do you know how to make the tackle with which to attach the carriage TO the horse? There are books on that. There are books on building sailing vessels and steamships. Books on how to build steam engines to put in steamships.

The library contains thousands of books on technologies that can be produced by most reasonably skilled craftsman using tools not as sophisticated as what can be found in many modern home workshops.

Here is some more in depth discussion of the issues:

Lost Knowledge

The Survivor Library is a growing collection of books on a wide range of skills from the mundane (how to clean a chicken for cooking) through the somewhat unusual

How to build a telegraph system

What's the best wood to use when building a biplane

How to build instruments to control a steam engine

How to build a steamship

How to operate a steam locomotive

How to harness a horse to a plow and how to BUILD the plow

The purpose of the books is to provide a repository of skill knowledge that has been abandoned, forgotten or deemed no longer of any use as we have progressed in our technological capabilities.

Unfortunately our growing litany of technological wonders has made us, both as individuals and as communities, dependent on the actual skills of others and on a fragile technological infrastructure that is increasingly prone to failure. Most people use technology about which they know virtually nothing.

Many men joke about women being ignorant about the cars they drive without stopping to realize that they themselves know little more about most of the technology which they use.

Most women my be ignorant about oil filters and fuel injection but most men are equally ignorant about how to kill and butcher a hog or a cow, how to build a steam engine, how to manufacture a new saw if the old one breaks and the stores are all gone, how to make a plow or a saddle, etc.

Most people alive today and under the age of 50 have grown up in an advanced technological and industrial infrastructure on which they have been dependent their entire lives. Most people alive in the United States have been procuring their food from grocery stores their entire lives and have no true conception of where that food comes from, other than in an abstract sense, and even less knowledge of how to produce it themselves.

The skills of self sufficiency which our grandparents even 70-100 years ago took for granted have been lost, not passed on, and forgotten in the intervening years. There has been some resurgence of interest in such skills in the past decades but it has been minimal and more of a hobby than a true desire to master the knowledge of self sufficiency. The Foxfire books are an example of that small resurgence. The people who do possess these skills make up a very small almost minute percentage of the population.

There are many people among us who garden and even supplement their food from their gardens. There are fewer who can and preserve the produce of their gardens. There are even fewer who harvest their own seed from their produce in order to plant the next years crop.

The Amish live a relatively self-sufficient lifestyle and have kept many skills alive but even they depend to one degree or another on the modern industrial system. While they would have a much better chance of surviving the collapse of the industrial infrastructure even they would face seropis obstacles and difficulties. Many of the materials and supplies upon which they rely are products of the industrial system and they do not have the skills or knowledge to immediately replace them.

Just to cite the simplest example, the Amish use the same glass jars and lids to can their produce that you and I would use. The Amish, just like the general population, lack the skills and knowledge to make glass jars.

I have known and visited over the years with many people who live a “self-sufficient lifestyle. In virtually every single case one or more crucial aspects of their lives made use of the products or services of our existing infrastructure whether it was solar panels, wind generators, storage batteries and sophisticated control technology or even seemingly simple things like rubber gasketed canning jar lids. There seemed to always be one or more critical parts of their systems which were the product of modern technology and without which there would be a major difficulty or shortfall.

We have lost a great deal of knowledge over the last several generations and some of it is knowledge we needed to keep.

The Librarian
Low Probability/High Consequence Events

Among people who contemplate disasters and try to prepare for such mostr are what fall in the category of events known as a Low Probability/High Consequence Event. That is an event that has a low probability of occurring but has very high consequences if it does occur.

Such events include disasters such as EMP events, Supervolcano Eruptions, Nuclear War, Worldwide Pandemics and several other type of events. All of these have a few common elements. The question of the probability of these events is always an issue of debate.

The likelihood of a Nuclear EMP event was considered to be so minimal as to not be worth considering until several nonrational, politically unstable and unpredictable nations such as Iran, North Korea and Pakistan either developed or are in the process of developing types of nuclear weapons which seem ideally suited to such uses. Coupled with their development of ballistic missiles which are again ideally suited for such uses and the testing launching of such missiles off of freighters on the high seas, the “probability” of such events has risen quite dramatically in some people’s minds.

The difficulty of defending against such actions by hardening the power grid and protecting critical electronics from such an attack have apparently convinced the Federal government to not bother taking any action at all. The result is the United States and most of the Western Industrial world is susceptible to being virtually destroyed by a few rogue nations using technology not much different from that of the late 1940s.

Thus there exists the possibility of Asymmetrical Warfare where a country with relatively unsophisticated technology has the ability to exploit a weakness of a much more technologically sophisticated country and do extensive damage or even destroy or neutralize an enemy entirely.

Even more difficult to contemplate is the results of a Solar Flare comparable to the Carrington Event of 1859. If you have read William Forstchen’s One Second After book then you have taste of the possible results of such an attack. If your imagination is up to the task, try to imagine the scenario in that book occurring worldwide.

In all of these events the casualties of such disasters can be optimistically estimated to be the MAJORITY of the human race affected by the event. The survivors will be a minority of the people alive at the time of the event. Depending on the type of event and it’s area of effect the casualties could range from 50% up through as much as 90% of the people living at the time the event occurs. Some people consider these estimates to be optimistic.

One ancillary effect and more long term of such a disasters is the collapse of the technological and industrial infrastructure on which most of the world depends.

The Librarian
Industrial Infrastructure

Few people realize just how complex and interconnected the industrial infrastructure of the developed world is and more importantly just how fragile it is.

You local grocery stores relies on a massive industrial infrastructure. Just a few of those industries are:

Trucking companies
Shipping Lines
Refineries and Fuel Distribution
Petroleum Production and Transportation
Packaging Manufacturers
Fertilizer Production
Seed Production
Electrical Power Generation
Coal and Gas Production
Lightbulb Manufacturers
Computer Manufacturers
Refrigeration Compressor Manufacturers
Chemical Production Facilities
Electronic Inventory Systems

Most of us don’t think about the truly massive complex of industry that supports the grocery store in which we buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk. Most of us don’t realize or appreciate that if just ONE of those critical industries fails the grocery store (and our food supply) ceases to function.

The failure of the electrical system over a wide area would stop fuel production and distribution which would stop the truck and trains which would bring the food distribution system to a halt. 2-3 days after that… the grocery store are out of food.

If the electricity stops, the Food stops. The Water stops. The Sanitation system stops. Communications (radio, television. internet, radio) stop.

The Police can no longer function once they fuel supply runs out, once the radios stop working.

Local, State and Federal governments can no longer communicate or coordinate activities once the communications and transportation stop.

Your individual knowledge of the world around you would suddenly be limited to what you personally can see and hear… nothing more. Your world would become much, much smaller…

No Radio, no TV, no Internet, No Newspapers…
Technological Infrastructure

Let’s assume you have the survival skills necessary to see you through a large scale disaster. You and your family had enough food and water. You were in a safe location and had sufficient security to see you through the aftermath and death of the majority of the people in your country.

For a while afterwards you can salvage supplies, materials and tools from the ruins of what’s left. You can start to establish a self sufficient environment for the future. But what happens next?

When the last battery wears out do you know how to make more? When the last flashlight bulb breaks can you make another one? When your last solar panel breaks can you make a replacement? When the last computer dies can you make a new one? When the last pair of shoes wears out are you going to go barefoot?

What will your children do when there are no more parts to salvage? What will your grandchildren do?

Much of our existing technological infrastructure has been built upon increasingly sophisticated technology which some time ago passed the point of being “bootstrappable” i.e. able to be recreated from scratch. Much of our technology requires other precursor and support technology which is itself not capable of being “bootstrapped” from scratch.

Computer production requires optical and electronic devices far beyond the capability of an individual to produce. The crystals of silicon used to produce most computer chips require sophisticated ovens and production facilities that few people could build. The tools used to manufacture wafers from silicon crystals depends on generations of development that could not be built in even a sophisticated machine shop. Even something as seemingly simple as a pocket calculator was beyond the capability of the technology that put a man on the moon in the 1960s.

The U.S. built the worlds first nuclear weapon in the 1940s. They built submarines. Aircraft that could fly half way around the world. Primitive ballistic missiles. Jet engines But all of the technology of that time could not build a simple pocket calculator as we know them today or an LED flashlight. They not only did not have the technology but would have had to build several generations of new industries in order even to create the tools and technology to do so.

Most of us today know how to OPERATE modern technology but few if any of us have the knowledge to manufacture that technology.

The Librarian
Insulation from Reality

Our grandparents and great grandparents were much closer to the realities of life than we are today. Many of our them lived on farms and were close to, if not entirely, self sufficient.

When I break a tool I go to the store and buy another one. When my grandfather broke a tool more often than not he would stoke up the forge and either repair it or make a new one.

When my grandmother got her first washing machine she though it was wonderful. It saved her an immense amount of time and work. But if it had broken she would still have been able to wash clothes because she knew alternate methods. I remember as a child turning the hand crank on the wringer on her washing machine before she got an electric one. The old one was moved to the shed.

When she got her first electric stove it was wonderful. She no longer had to stoke up the wood stove to heat water and bake bread and cook meals. It saved her and immense amount of time and work. But if the electricity has stopped she would have been able to carry on just fine with the old wood store.

Having canned food in the grocery store was great. No more long days canning food from the garden. But if the grocery store had closed the canning jars would have come out of the shed and the shelves would once again have been full of jars instead of cans.

Few people today have any idea how to clean clothes without a washing machine. Few of us would even know how a wood fueled kitchen stove worked, much less how to use one or more critically.. how to build one.

Some people know how to can but it is more of a hobby for most people than a daily skill.

The skills that earlier generations took for granted as basic, essential and fundamental skills have been lost and abandoned. We live as if the grocery stores will always be there, the electricity will always flow and turning a faucet on will always produce clean, drinkable water.

The difference between us and our forefathers is that they could survive if they had to rely completely on their own skills. Most of us could not.

We might be able to cook a chicken just as well as our grandparents but they knew how to hatch them, raise them, feed them (and grow the grain to feed them with), kill them, pluck them and clean them to get them ready to cook.

If we’re very skilled in the kitchen we might know how to make bread from scratch.

They knew how to raise, harvest and mill the grain for the flour. They knew how to produce the yeast to make it rise. They know how to raise the cows to produce the milk, to make the bowls in which to mix the dough and how to make the stoves in which to bake the bread.

Most of us assume all of those things come from the grocery store and the electric company.

That insulation from reality began in the first half of the 1900s as the developed world’s industry grew explosively after two world wars and the technological boost they provided. Even into the middle of the 1900s there were still many people even in Europe and the United States who lived without sophisticated technology or industrial products. As advanced technology spread into more and more parts of life fewer and fewer people maintained those vanishing skills until they are virtually forgotten and lost to the overwhelming majority of people.

Today the overwhelming majority of people in the developed world are completely dependent on the existing infrastructure and incapable if surviving without it.

The Librarian
Industrial Complexity

In earlier times prior to the industrial growth of the post WWI and WWII era people usually lived much closer to the source of manufactured goods. While there were many exceptions, such as finished good shipped from other countries and natural resources only produced in remote locations, most of the necessary goods and materials people consumed and on which they relied were produced relatively close to where they were consumed.

We don’t think twice about seeing Made in China or any other country on the good we use. We more likely don’t even notice that the fruit or vegetables we buy at the grocery store were grown in a foreign country then transported by truck, train and ship to us.

In earlier generations factories tended to be built close to where their output would be consumed. Transportation costs were a major issue for many manufacturers.

At one time when you bought a new pair of shoes you likely bought them from a shoemaker in the same or a nearby community. No your shoes are probably made in and transported from another country using materials produced in and transported from several other countries.

Over time as railroads became ubiquitous and transportation costs declined larger factories became regional and even national but the majority of factories remained local or regional. Even today most bakeries and dairies are local and serve only an area 50-100 miles wide. Many serve a single city or even part of a city.

As the transportation network grew and costs declined it became possible for factories and industrial production to make use of materials from a much greater distance. It became possible for a factory in one part of the country to use parts and subassemblies made in other parts of the country or even other countries entirely. Power plants could rely on fuel produced hundreds or even thousands of miles away instead of having to be built near an existing fuel source.

This was made possible by the growing sophistication of the transportation systems; canals, better roads and eventually interstate highways, trucks, fuel distribution pipelines, railroads, larger and more powerful locomotives, electrical and electronic control of both road intersections and rail scheduling and more efficient use of the transport system itself.

Over time both the transportation and the industrial complexity have grown to the point where they are increasingly complex and therefore fragile. If something interrupts the transportation network the industrial complex stops. Today both industry and the transportation systems rely heavily on both electronics and the electrical grid. Damage either one and the transportation system slows or stops.

Petroleum is produced in one part of the world, transported to another part of the world to be refined in fuels. The fuel is moved via pipeline or rail to distribution centers. From the distribution centers it is moved to direct distribution points where it is fed into vehicles ranging form boat to trains to planes to trucks. With increasing efficiency has come increasing vulnerability.

Factories rely increasingly on Just In Time Inventory systems based on the assumption that the transportation network is 100% reliable. Grocery stores depend on a 100% reliable and highly flexible transportation system to maintain their stock levels without having to maintain more than a few days worth of inventory in the store itself. Gas stations use smaller and smaller ground tanks relying on smaller and more frequent fuel deliveries. Virtually all retailers and suppliers have moved to dependence on a the transportation system to minimize their inventory costs. The amount of inventory on hand at any given time in any given store continues to decline as inventory management becomes more sophisticated.

The tradeoff in cost savings and efficiency in all these systems is that they assume 100% reliability of a transportation network which is, itself, highly complex, interconnected and fragile.

Just like the heart and circulation of blood in a living being, if the transportation system stops the body dies rapidly.
The Library Level of Technology

The books in the Library date predominantly from the 1800s through early 1900s. Some are much older and date back into the 1700s and even earlier. They contain knowledge of skills and techniques that have been made obsolete by more advanced technology.
Some date from much earlier periods because the technology in them quite literally disn’t change in several hundred years. Building a bow to shoot arrows has changed in recent decades due to new and advanced materialsand methods of construction. Without those advanced materials however a bowyer of the 1500s and a bowyer of the late 1800s used virtually identical techniques, materials, tools and skills.

Who needs to know how to make carriages and wagons when automobiles and trucks have replaced them? Horse drawn carriages are a quaint novelty for tourists and festivals. Wooden barrels are a specialized item made only for brewers and landscapers today since we have metals and plastic replacements.

One of the most noticeable characteristics of the skills of the 1800 through the early 1900s is that virtually all of the technology in them can be produced using relatively simple tools. Most early automobiles and airplanes were produced in home workshops using tools not as sophisticated as most hobbyists have in their shops today.

Books on managing a home from the 1800s taught not only how to cook and clean but also how to manufacture most of the supplies and materials needed.

Modern cookbooks provide a list of ingredients which can be bought at the grocery store. 1800s cookbooks often explained how to make or produce all of the ingredients yourself.
Many of the books from those time periods did not assume that you had access to a sophisticated industrial infrastructure from which to procure tools and materials. Many of them were instructions on how to manufacture your own tools and materials.

Books concerning aeroplanes from the pre and post WWI era are at a level of technology which could be recreated by most modern craftsmen. The engines used on most aeroplanes of that era could be manufactured in the machine shops of many modern hobbyists.

The technology of the 1800s through the early 1900s is simple enough that the majority of it could be recreated by any relatively skilled craftsman using relatively simple tools. The tools and equipment needed which are no longer in common use today could itself be manufactured using simple tools.

In short, it is a level of technology that a community of survivors could easily master and recreate using simple tools available in the aftermath of a massive disaster. It would be possible to produce an infrastructure as sophisticated as that of the late 1800s and early 1900s… an industrial infrastructure that in less than 40 years produced nuclear energy and jet aircraft. A technological system that within 70 years went from the Wright Brothers early experiments with flight to putting a man on the moon.

Most importantly it is a level of technology and industry which can be “bootstrapped” by a community of people who have to rely totally on simple tools and their own ingenuity.
It does not require engineers, chemists, programmers and physicists. The first airplanes were built by mechanics and bicycle makers. The first rockets were made by hobbyists and tinkerers.

The technology in most of the books in the Library is well within the reach of most craftsmen, tinkerers and hobbyists who have basic tool using skills. It is a level of technology that is surely well within the reach of a community of people trying to rebuild a collapsed industrial world.

The Librarian

The subject of how to actually USE the Library in a world that is rebuilding is one that comes up occasionally. Here's my take on it...


Let's assume an EMP has occurred. The actual event which caused a collapse could be a number of things with varying effects. The technological infrastructure is down. Some or all of it is damaged and unusable. Electrical power sources,if any, are purely local, The grid is gone and there are no sources for spare parts other than salvage or making them yourselves.

The population has been drastically reduced probably by as much as 80%-90%, conceivably even more, due to disease, hunger, dehydration, exposure and violence (though violence is actually the smallest factor).

The massive refugee migration of people seeking food and water and safety has ended. The immediate emergency of living through the collapse and it's immediate aftermath has been achieved. The survivors have begun to come together to form communities/villages/towns.

Living through the immediate aftermath of a societal collapse is NOT the subject of the Library. There are literally thousands of site devoted to "survival" skills and techniques and tools. How to build a shelter. How to hide in the woods. How to store food for that emergency. How to collect edible plants. How to fight a running tactical battle with bandits and which set of night vision goggles is best for the Zombie Apocalypse.

There's a famous military saying.. "Amateurs study tactics. Professionals study Logistics."

One of the brutal realities of living through that kind of collapse is that the largest part of your survival will actually most likely come down to sheer chance. I don't care how many guns you have, how much food you have stored, how isolated and secure your bunker is.

If someone finds it and knows you have food they WILL take it. Fixed and isolated fortifications cannot stand. Individuals and small groups WILL fall if attacked.

The people who survive will survive as much by chance as by skills and planning. So don't count on forming a community with a bunch of former Navy Seals and Army Ranger and Marine Force Recon who can all makes headshots at 50 yards, are Scout-Sniper qualified and who toughed it out like a post apocalypse novel.

Next time you leave your house look at the first 50-100 people you see. It is people just like that THAT is who will be the other survivors with whom you will be living.

Once the worst of it has passed people will start having to plan for the long term. Not just the next hour or day or week but next month, next year and the year after that.

The reality is that single families and lone individuals have little chance of long term survival. No individual or even a large family can master all of the skills required for long term survival beyond mere subsistence level. There is safety in numbers, there is security, socialization and the ability to have a wide variety of skills and capabilities and most important the ability to generate surpluses.

People will quickly begin to form communities. A few families getting together at first. The more successful groups like that will attract others and before long villages, towns and other forms of communities will form.


The first priority of a community is Physical Security. Without that nothing else matters. There is no point in trying to grow a crop that someone is going to come take away from you. You would not survive the first winter.

So the first responsibility of those capable of doing so will be to provide security for the community. That is not a full time occupation and will likely only require lookouts initially while everyone else farms. Everyone will either carry weapons or keep them close at hand and respond to a warning. That is also one of the main driving forces behind communities forming. Ten isolated families can't defend against a gang of bandits. Ten families united have a much better chance if for no other reason than the bandits will most likely look at the defenses and simply go find some isolated families which are much easier pickings with much less risk.

As soon as feasible the community will send out parties to eliminate local bandits, raiders and those individuals or groups which threaten the security of the community. No. They won't be arrested and tried in a court. They will will be dealt with in whatever way necessary to ensure they will no longer pose a threat.

Once reasonable security is established the next priority is food production which will take precedence over everything except security.


If a single individual or family on their own loses their crops the result is most likely to be starvation and death. If a family's crops fail in a village of 50 families everyone will likely survives because the margin between starvation and survival is much larger. In a village almost every crop would have to fail before there was starvation. Even a severe level of crop failure would still provide enough food for at least minimal survival. The larger the community the larger the margin of survival.

More importantly in subsistence farming almost everyone works in agriculture. That is the priority and everything else is secondary except security and rightly so. You get up with the sun and you work in the fields till you fall exhausted into bed at night. That is your life.

In a community once security is ensured and people can share their knowledge of agriculture food production will increase. That produces surpluses of food and it will, in time, reach the level where there is no longer a need for every able bodied individual to be working in agriculture.

Once there is a sufficiency of food and surpluses can be realized individuals can be freed from agricultural jobs. Individuals can begin to spend at least part of their time on specialized skills such as smithing, building, lumber production, carpentry, weaving, livestock and animal husbandry, horse rearing and training, leather making, etc.


The first one to three year after a community forms the primary tasks are going to be providing security, providing security, eliminating immediate security threats and food production. Little else will matter until those requirements are met. Even if people have to live in tents or old vehicles or shacks or salvaged houses, being safe and being able to eat are the most important things.

Once a reasonable level of security is established and food production becomes more established there will begin to be a specialization in agriculture. The guy who used to be a farmer or avid gardener is probably going to be producing a LOT more food than the guy who used to be a corporate executive or a policeman. When the farmer tells you that he will provide you with 25 bags of wheat if you work on his farm and your best yield to date has been 10 bags you won't hesitate long before working for him.

Within 3-7 years food production will begin to specialize and once started will accelerate as those most proficient at producing food expand and hire workers.

If you see you can trade your labor for more food than you can grow yourself who would hesitate?


If you can trade your physical labor doing farm work for more food than you can grow yourself the choice is a no-brainer. Even better if you can provide a service that no one else can your labor becomes even more valuable.

As the surpluses grow and food security become less of an issue it becomes possible for one or more members of a family to do simple farm labor while one specializes in a skill or service that is needed. Or it might be as simple as having a little leisure time and figuring out how to make a basic oil lamp from salvaged materials that works well. As more people have even a little leisure time to improve their living conditions such as their homes, heating, lighting and a few comfort items little things like a working oil lamp will be in great demand.

A piece of salvaged metal beat into shape with a hammer and attached to a stick can make hoe. It doesn't take a huge level of smithing skill to produce basic tools that are in demand. A hoe, a shovel, a pick, nails. Those are products that were traditionally made by novices since they took the least amount of skill and provided needed experience. Someone who can make even simple tools like that can quickly have a valuable commodity to trade for foods or other goods.

Someone who can spin and make thread or weave and make cloth, someone who can repair or even make shoes and boots. someone who can build chairs or produce firewood and lumber or even produce the tools needed for any of those things would be highly valuable to a community. All of those skills become currency that can be traded for food and the work of others.

The ability of a blacksmith to make ganged plows can dramatically increase food production through the application of "technology" to replace manual labor.

As the more basic skills are provided; food, smithing, lumber, carpentry, weaving, leather, animal husbandry, etc. the technological level of the community increases. The quality of products produced by the community become higher, the standard of living increases and trade becomes possible with other communities who perhaps have other desired products and commodities. Trade builds larger communities and "wealth".

The increasing "wealth" of a community fuels further growth, trade, attracts more people, attracts investment, it provides the means to form full time governments and professional security forces (Police, Militia).

One of the largest factors that promoted trade and growth in the medieval period was professional security personnel who provided and maintained security on the roads between towns and cities. When it is safe to travel and ship goods between cities and towns trade and the spread of technology explodes.

Most people think of "government" as providing those services. What most people don't understand is that it was merchants, traders and business men who provided the funds (the wealth) to staff a full time government and to hire the security personnel.

Businesses did not come into being and grow because governments created a safe environment for them. Governments grew and created a safe environment for business because the businesses created the wealth and paid them to do so.

That is the way people rebuild the world.


So how does the Library fit into that? What is it's role?

Even in the worst case of a Solar EMP which damages or destroys virtually all computer technology there will be some working computers.

Parts salvaged from stores to build one, pieces of equipment sitting in metal buildings which survived the EMP surges, laptops sitting in Faraday cages or even metal sheds, new laptops in static bags or delivery vans, even salvaged hardened military computers. One person with even a modicum of technical knowledge will be able to piece together a working computer, perhaps several. The same applies to printers. No matter how bad the EMP some working computers and printers will be salvageable and available for at least a few years.

Electrical power is not really an issue. At the simplest level someone pedaling a bicycle connected to a car alternator can make electricity. Hand built windmills using alternators and permanent magnet DC motors, even salvaged solar panels for a time. Salvaged batteries will last at least a few years until they become useless. The basic ability of create electrical power and store it in at least a specific location for a specific task will be relatively simple.

In the long term there will be no spare parts. Toner and ink will run out and there will be no more salvageable sources. But for at least a few years there will be some working computers and printers available to a community even after the worst solar EMP.

In a community with even a single working computer the Library can provide an invaluable source of knowledge. What if no one in the community was a farmer or gardener? What if no one has anything other than theoretical knowledge of growing food? Even those with some agricultural experiences are used to having access to chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides and powered farm equipment that is no longer available.


The Book of the Farm in the Library is a detailed, almost step by step, textbook on how to operate a farm from an era when there was no electricity and no powered farm equipment. That single set of books alone on a computer where it can be consulted, read or even printed in multiple copies could mean the difference between starvation and plenty for a community. Evan a hand copied text of it would provide an incredible amount of knowledge of how to operate a pre-electrical era farm.

Some references in that set of books such as how to make lime or fertilizers is not always addressed in enough detail since it was assumed that even in the 1800s there were supply chains for some common materials. There are, however, other books in the Library that detail how to make lime, how to make fertilizers and most other commonly needed materials, how to recognize and treat crop diseases, how to diagnose and address livestock diseases. All of it would be on a computer for the members of the community to consult, read print or copy.

As specialization begins to appear within the community the Library becomes an even more valuable tool.

One person starts beating some salvaged metal into a needed tool like a hoe by heating it and bashing it with a hammer. Crude perhaps but functional. Once he makes one someone else will ask him to make some other tool.

There are a lot of books in the Library on smithing and how to form metal into tools. Consulting those books will provide the essential knowledge of how to become a better blacksmith until that person develops enough skills to become a full time smith. Clearly experience will be required to turn someone into a skilled blacksmith but with the sources in the Library they will not be building those skills through trial and error. The knowledge will be available. Their task will be to master how to apply that knowledge.

Exactly the same principle applies to every other needed skills, weaving, making leather, sewing horse harnesses and saddles, making shoes, cutting timber and creating lumber, making furniture, building wagons, making wheels.


And here's the rub. Even if you were a professional, manufacturing almost any of those products your skills were developed in a world where there was a supply and technology infrastructure and a source of power.

Will those skills transfer to a world without those supply chains, that infrastructure, that reliable source of electricity? Most likely no. Someone who relies on electrically powered machines to manufacture items will have to learn an entirely new set of skills in a world without electricity.

Someone who is a skilled hobbyist leatherworker would almost certainly be completely ignorant of how to actually make leather from hides and even how to collect and preserve those hides to start with not to mention hunting and skinning the animals whose hides they need.

The Library provides a wide range of knowledge of how to manufacture items and perform skills in a world without electricity and sophisticated supply chains.

Those books do often assume access to an 1800s supply system but you can find other books which provide the knowledge and techniques to produce those items yourself.

Need sulfuric acid which is the basis of many industrial processes? There are books detailing how to make it. Need the sulfur required for that process? There are books on mining and extracting sulfur from a number of sources.

In short virtually the entire "technology" of the 1800s is documented in the Library in a wide variety of books from how to mine limestone to how to dig the ovens to how to cook it into lime to how to use it on farm fields to how to make it into whitewash to paint your house or barn to how to use it in as an ingredient in medicines or use it to make cement or concrete.


If a community is lucky they might have a doctor among their number. That doctor, however, trained and practiced in a world of high tech equipment, sophisticated labs, sterile hospitals and a massive world wide supply chain of medicines, materials and supplies. None of which would be available.

For a short time perhaps some medicines and supplies could be salvaged but they would quickly run out and not replaceable. Even that is unlikely since in the aftermath of a collapse the vast majority of medical supplies and medicines would be used up trying to treat the massive number of sick and dying people until even the medical system itself collapsed. There would little left to salvage in the aftermath.

Even the most highly trained modern Doctors do not know how to manufacture medicines. They do not know how to make surgical instruments. They do not know how to make anesthetics or antibiotics.

The level of medical technology,even after a community became well established, would essentially be that of the mid to late 1800s. Even surgery would become a major issue until someone started manufacturing anesthesia. There are books in the Library on how to do that.

Anesthetics and pretty much every type of medicine would have to be manufactured locally once salvageable supplies were exhausted. There a number of books with the formulas for making a wide variety of medicines, antiseptics, Anesthetics and other medical supplies. There are other books which detail how makes some of the more sophisticated ingredients needed in the manufacture of many of those medicines.

Most doctors know modern surgical techniques. Most of those techniques are, again, built upon access to sophisticated modern technology. Few doctors have knowledge of something like an amputation on a kitchen table or an appendectomy using nothing but the surgical tools in their bag. Oh there are "field surgery" techniques but they almost all assume that the surgery is an emergency measure and that the patient will be transferred to a hospital subsequently.

There is a large collection of books on the Medical skills and techniques using the technology of the late 1800s and up to World War 1.

Few people realize how much surgical knowledge still used today was developed during WWI when doctors had little technology available and in a time before antibiotics. That knowledge is preserved in the Library as is a wide range of medical knowledge from the era before electricity and antibiotics. WWI was in one sense a massive experimental surgery lab which operated for several years virtually uninterrupted.

While reading some of those books may chill your blood... imagine this situation...

Your child has acute appendicitis and is in agony. The ONLY medical information available is a surgery textbook from 1916 detailing how to perform an appendectomy.

Let's lessen the horror of that by assuming that someone has managed to produce some nitrous oxide anasthesia. Unlikely, but lets pretend at least that.

Your choices?

Watch you child die slowly in horrific agony knowing you can do nothing to even ameliorate the suffering.

Operate using 1916 surgical knowledge with at least a chance of a successful recovery.


Most people know or can figure out simple things like don't build your outhouse uphill from your well. Don't dump sewage and waste upstream from where you draw drinking water.

But once communities start to form issues of sanitation and public health become an issue. Few people know what happens to what in their toilet once the flush it. Oh some folks might have septic tanks or even outhouses and know at least some basics of it. Few people know much about their water sources other than it comes out of the tap and the shut off valve is at the sidewalk.

Of course some folks have wells and might even have drilled them themselves but that's not the norm.

The reality is that once the communities start to form preventing disease and maintaining public health, clean water and safe disposal of sewage, garbage and waste becomes an issue. Right now in some American cities garbage and human waste on the streets have increased the rat populations to the pint that Bubonic plague is once again present in our cities along with a host of other diseases once thought eradicated.

The year is 2020 with the most advanced technology and the highest standard of living the world has ever seen. Yet in some of America's cities there are enough rats that you have a real chance of contracting bubonic plague and other diseases visiting those cities.

If even a modern city in 2020 America has that problem do you imagine a community trying to rebuild after a collapse wont?

Fortunately there are entire categories in the Library devoted to sewage, garbage disposal, water treatment, rat eradication and other disease prevention and public health subjects. And none of them require technology any more advanced that that of the 1800s.

The survivors won't have to learn all of those public health lessons the hard way like our ancestors did.


As communities expand and mature they will quickly, I suspect, start to expand beyond simple manual technology. Horses, oxen and mules are adequate for pulling plows. A water wheel might be adequate for a village grain mill or a small weaving operation powering looms.

But quickly there will be a need for more powerful and reliable motive power. Internal combustion engines are not something you can easily make in a blacksmith shop. Even if you could make them the gas stations would be closed... permanently.

Steam engines CAN be made by a skilled blacksmith. Most of the early one were. Even a simple steam engine requires only wood or coal to produce steady, reliable power.

It was the development of the steam engine which powered the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s which grew to the spread of railroads, steamships, factories, deep shaft mining and a wide variety of manufacturing simply not possible without that source of power.

There is a large section of the Library devoted to Steam Engines since they are the foundation of an industrial economy being rebuilt.

There are a wide variety of books on other aspects of an emerging industrial infrastructure; telegraph, radio, railroads, chemical processes, engineering, industrial processes, even how to build and manage factories themselves.


All of the growth of a community beyond the basic Security/Food level ultimately relies on education. Those who survive whatever event causes a collapse will likely be reasonably well educated. They will, at a minimum, probably be able to read which makes the library usable.

The children who grow up in that world will not. Unless they were older they might not even be literate.

The rebuilding will not happen overnight. It will take decades and more likely generations for the world to recover and rebuild to anything like our current level of technology. That means that educating those children will be a high priority as well.

Most communities will realize this and soon after Security/Food needs are met parents will establish at least part time schools to teach the young to read even if they teach nothing else

The Library contains a large selection of books on Teaching and Education. From the simplest forms such as the McGuffey Readers to teach the most basic levels of literacy up through the higher levels, books on History, Math, Science, Social Studies, Civics, Geography and all of the basic subjects.

There are a number of books on HOW to teach, how to manage classrooms, how to operate schools and school systems.

Despite the what the catechism of modern educational theory promotes one does not need a degree in Education to teach a child phonics and the basics of reading. One simply needs the tools. The Library provides those tools.


In a community with even a single computer the Library can provide an immense wealth of knowledge of HOW TO rebuild a technological civilization.

Better still a small network of computers which all have access to it. It does not require a high degree of technical knowledge to build a basic network of computers to share files or even to copy all of the files onto each computer.

Even better is to print out and bind books which are most applicable to that climate and geographical location. (There is an entire category of the Library on Bookbinding. I learned it from those books.) Clearly books on steamships are unlikely to be of much value to a community on the Great Plains. A book on mining coal is of little value to a community in a part of the country with no coal deposits.And so on. Some books will be useless to some communities. Those same books will be invaluable for others.

Eventually the last computers will die or break and there will be no more salvageable parts. It will be several generations before anyone is making new ones. Hopefully in the time that they are available every book that contains useful information will be printed or even hand copied if necessary to preserve the knowledge.


Eventually of course there will be printing presses and book publishers and public libraries. There will be textbooks. There will be skilled craftsmen and manufacturers teaching their skills to others. There will be trade schools teaching specialized skills and trades.

In that period between starting to form communities again and the days of printing presses, publishers and trade schools the Library, in whatever form it is maintained on even a single computer, can provide a width and depth of knowledge and skills that can spell the difference between a perpetual subsistence level life and a growing, expanding developing community rebuilding a technological civilization.

And that is why I distribute the library. Please pass it on to others. Make copies for your friends. Every book in the Library, to the best of my knowledge, is Public Domain or so far out of copyright as to be de facto Public Domain. There are no limitations on copying them or printing them as far as I know. I make every reasonable effort to ensure that none of the material in the library is still in copyright. Should you encounter any that you believe may be, please contact me and let me know.

Flash drives are inexpensive. Whenever you replace an old hard drive with a newer one copy the library on the old one and stick it away somewhere. When you replace a laptop copy the Library onto the old one and stick it away somewhere.

If we ever do have a solar EMP, or rather WHEN we have a solar EMP, or some other major collapse that takes down the infrastructure all the survivors will need will be one copy of the Library.

Hopefully if there are enough copies out there in enough hands and in enough places that one copy will be there when they need it.

The Librarian

The Library is broken in many different categories. Some are very broad. Some are more specialized.

All of the books are scanned copies of the original book stored in PDF format. That makes it possible to both read the book and, if desired, to print it.

As the library has grown over time we’ve tried to cover both the simplest, more basic self sufficiency skills such as growing food and raising livestock through the most advanced and sophisticated technology of the time such as aeroplanes and communications systems like telephone and telegraph.

Where there books on Industrial processes, methods, formulas, techniques we included those as well. Even the more advanced technologies of the periods are within the reach of people starting from scratch. Steam engines may seem primitive to most modern people but they powered the industrial revolution in much of the world well into the 1900s.

Basic knowledge of chemical formulas and processes are recorded in books from these periods ranging from the most basic industrial chemical needs through household materials in common use.

The Library in it’s entirety is a compendium of the Technological and Industrial Knowldge of the 1800 through early 1900s.

It is the knowledge needed to rebuild a technological and industrial infrastructure from scratch when the modern infrastructure ceases to function.

The Librarian

Library FAQS

This is a list of answers to common questions asked about the library.

Storing the Library

How to store an electronic/digital library in the event of a Solar/Manmade EMP which destroy electronic/digital equipment.

Reader Programs

These are the two most common programs used to read the Library files. Adobe reader is a commercial program and read only PDFs. Sumatra is a free and open source program which reads not only PDFs but a variety of other formats.

But any program which will display and print PDF files should work just fine.


Many of these books are from an age before Attorneys and Government Agencies existed to protect us from ourselves, the world and ensure that we’d all live forever and never suffer a scratch, bruise or other injury.

These books have been collected over the years primarily for their Historical value in teaching us about the way prior generations lived.

ALWAYS keep in mind that the knowledge, techniques and skills in these books come from a century ago, sometimes earlier. They date from a time before we understood such things as disease vectors and the toxicity of substances such as mercury. While we’ve included the medical and food related books because there are many valuable, tried and true techniques that have been forgotten over time, they do contain formulas, recipes and knowledge that we now know to be dangerous and harmful. Before considering using any of these techniques or applying the skills and knowledge in them, apply common sense and modern knowledge. If you’re in any doubt about the safety of something in these books either consult an expert or don’t use them.


All of the books listed are Public Domain or have expired Copyrights so you are free to download and print them. All of them are in PDF format and are primarily from page scans of original printed book sources. In many cases there is also an EPUB version available.


In many cases there are both color and B/W PDF versions of books. In the majority of cases the color information in the PDF relates only to the yellowing of the paper or the color of covers or front papers. In the majority of cases we will provide the B/W version of the book because it makes it easier to print a readable copy and the file size is smaller. Few people have the resources to print entire books in color, especially when the color is simply yellowed paper background. In cases where color is an integral part of the book such as illustrations of plants or flowers we will post the color version of the PDF. If there is a particular book that is in a B/W format for which you have need of the color PDF (if there is one) please contact me and I’ll try to obtain it for you and email it or make it available in the Library.


If you download and read the books from the Library, we’d like to ask that you submit reviews of any you find particularly useful or NON-useful. We’ll be publishing User Book Reviews in our weekly Newsletter along with our own Reviews and lists of new additions. If you encounter any books that have corrupted files, broken links, misnamed books, books in the wrong category, etc., please let us know. You can email your Book Reviews and comments to [email protected] or leave them on our Contact Us page.


The books have been procured form a wide variety of sources, predominantly Universities and historical research collections throughout the world. Some are on obscure sites related to the subject of the book. Others come from various government agencies as well as national and international non-government organizations. Yet others come from private collections. You’ll notice the Google, Microsoft and other company imprints on some of the documents. These companies, in support of online library projects, have funded the scanning and digitizing work at many organizations and institutions through the world.

In most cases if there are multiple versions of a book we will only include the latest one published. In some cases we will included multiple copies of a book from different years if the information in them varies significantly or the changes in information vary significantly from one edition to another. It is often quite interesting and educational to see What information changed and Why. In some cases an earlier version of a book may contain chapters and sections of information that is left out of a later book which itself contains additional information not in the earlier edition.


If you have any books you’d like to contribute to the collection please send them to [email protected] or email the location of a document we can add.
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