No longer the quiet, hushed environments they once were, libraries these days are active, engaging places! Don’t be afraid to take your kids there, even if they aren’t great at being quiet! They will love it and so will you!
I’ve always been drawn to libraries….I’ve loved them from the time I was a little girl, and regularly visited our local library with my mom, filling up a tote bag full of books on each visit to share and devour. But after I became a mom, I grew to love libraries even more! Libraries offer so much for all ages:
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Storytimes are available at local public libraries for children as young as 6 months old. I started taking my son when he was a baby, and we met friends there we are still in touch with, 10 years later! Librarians often sing songs, teach finger plays, and lead the group in movement exercises as well as read great books to the little ones.
Toddlers and Young Children
You know that feeling of saying no over and over to a young child eager for a new item in a store? Take them to the children’s section of the library! Visit a storytime geared for them, and afterwards let them pick out whichever books they want! They can check out as many as you can carry. You don’t have to say no and everything is free! Check out the puzzles and activities often available at local public libraries while you are there, and make it a special outing.
Check out Bob Books and other early reader books at the library, and also explore the selection of kits and audiobooks available. You can often find grab and go bags with picture book/audiobook pairings. My boys used to love checking those out and reading along with the audiobook! Some children’s sections even have adventure backpacks about local areas for children to check out. If you aren’t sure about what resources your library offers, ASK! Librarians love to help!
Have a voracious reader who keeps finishing books faster than you can buy them? Don’t buy them! Borrow them! They can even borrow eBooks through many school and public libraries! You just have to have the right app. If you aren’t sure what to do, ask a librarian and get set up! Summer reading programs offer an incentive to keep your kiddos reading throughout the summer! Special free activities are usually offered at various libraries—Our family has seen magicians and touched snakes and other wildlife, played Star Wars trivia and won prizes in contests.
Libraries are becoming a hot hang-out place with activities for teens. Special teen/young adult book rooms, maker spaces, etc… are now the norm. Librarians (both public and school) are great resources for help with research projects. They will point your teenager in the right direction for finding great sources (other than Wikipedia…) for projects, they just have to ask. Teens will also enjoy borrowing eBooks and using the online resources the library offers on their devices.
Check out Overdrive and Zinio apps to borrow your books and magazines digitally. You can download books straight onto your Kindle, Nook, or Ipad….for free! No late fees—books will be returned automatically after the lending period is over. When I had small children, I also appreciated libraries with drive-through windows. I could put the books I wanted on hold online, drive through and pick them up! Many libraries also offer a great selection of DVDs you can borrow. Easier than Redbox!
Check out your local public library system and sign up for a card if you haven’t already! I highly recommend it!