I truly believe that the library is a magical place. I grew up before the internet age when the library was the only place I could find free information on the topics that interested me. It was my main source of entertainment and, more than that, education.
I’ve always been a voracious reader. As a kid, I would burn through 10-15 early reader or short chapter books each week. In my family of six, there wasn’t money to support my reading habit.
My daughter is following in my footsteps. She loves to look through books and be read to. She looks forward to our weekly visits to the library.
I still read around four books per month which would cost somewhere around $40-$80 to own. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about how much it costs because I can borrow anything I want to read from the library.
Our library is a great place to be. Here are some reasons why we love our public library.
Free programs for kids
Most libraries have free programs for kids. Some of these programs are held during the day to accommodate stay-at-home parents while others are in the evening or on weekends.
Our library has the following offerings:
- Wiggle, Giggle, Grow – A 35-minute program in the mornings for children ages 1-3 years old. The children play and sing a few songs.
- Story hour – An hour-long program held in the mornings and evenings for preschool aged children. One or more stories are read or acted out and a craft is offered.
- Summer and winter book clubs – A program for pre-readers and readers up to high school age that offers prizes upon completion. An adult book club is offered in the summer.
The library also holds special one-off programs. Most libraries are great at taking things from popular culture, such as Pokemon Go in the summer of 2016, and turning it into a learning opportunity.
Summer and winter book clubs
As a kid, one of my favorite things about summer was participating in the summer book club. One year, my local library had a system where participants received one “Book Buck” for each book read. At the end of the summer, they held an auction where kids could use those book bucks to bid on prizes. These prizes were kept in a display case in the front of the library. Each week I would gaze at a light brown Vermont Teddy Bear and vow to win him. At the auction, I used all of my book bucks (somewhere around 50) to win the teddy bear. 23 years later, I still have him!
At our local library, the summer book club starts at the end of May and runs through the end of July. Our library allows both pre-readers and readers to participate. Norah is a pre-reader which means that the activities she does to earn stickers, prizes, and books are geared around being read to and talking with her parents.
The winter book club is similar but runs through the late fall/early winter. The main prize for completing each club is a brand new book. Norah has many, many books, but is always excited to pick a new one when she completes the club. This summer is her third time participating!
There are also numerous entertainment events lined up to coincide with the summer and winter reading programs. We recently saw a juggler perform and plan to see a magician and go to a pool party later this summer.
1000 books before kindergarten program
Another program that our library participates in is the 1000 books before kindergarten initiative. This program encourages parents to read 1000 books to their child before they start kindergarten. Participating in this program helps kids build a solid foundation for language and reading skills.
Unlimited book borrowing
Norah goes through so many books that we would be bankrupt if we bought every single book she was interested in. The library allows us to let her pick out 15-20 new books each week. Of course, she has her favorites that we get every few visits including Skippyjon Jones books and an illustrated Alice in Wonderland book. She also has her favorite authors including Mo Willems, Norman Bridwell, and Rosemary Wells. At this point, she can navigate the children’s section with ease and find all of the books she wants to borrow.
My husband, Mike, and I are also big patrons of the library and tend to borrow at 10-20 books per month between us. We both enjoy seeing what new nonfiction books the library gets and discussing what we’ve read with each other. Mike only reads nonfiction while I alternate between nonfiction and fiction and usually am reading one of each at any given time.
Libraries are an important part of the community. In addition to being a place where you can get books, DVDs, and CDs, they are also a safe place for people who need assistance. Libraries offer many resources to the public that better the community. In another life, I would have been a public librarian because the library has always had a special place in my heart. As a family, we do our best to support the library through our patronage, purchasing books at the annual sales, and eating at restaurants that donate portions of the bill to the library.
To find your local library, search here and enjoy!