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My family, from the earliest days I can remember, always loved going to public libraries. We went regularly. Often we would go at least once a week with my mother who was probably even more book-obsessed than I am (which is saying something.) My mom never bought a lot for herself, but her splurging was always saved for books. I rather admirable quality in my own opinion.
But sometimes splurging on books isn’t financially viable. For me, we splurge on my husband’s law school books, which is painful but necessary, and that leaves little room for purchasing “fun” books. So for us, we’ve really had to find a way to make the library work for us. (More for me, than anything.)
Public libraries are a wonderful thing because it is something you are already paying for with your taxes that you can take full advantage of. They have so many opportunities there and their resources can be used in so many ways!
First and foremost, the collection of physical books that you can borrow from the library is large and there are so many things to learn that we often take for granted! Often you can find newer books that you’d really like to buy right at the library for you to borrow, get a closer look at, and then buy if you loved it!
Between non-fiction and fiction you can find a happy medium between the “learning” books and the “pleasure” books. I put them in quotations because sometimes they are the same thing. For example: I love reading books on homeschooling, but I also learn a lot from reading the books as well. Learning and enjoyment don’t have to be two separate things. (If you’re interested in a book list from me you can grab it in my free resource library.)
I remember when I was little we had very specific children’s books that we would get out from the library often and enjoy. This included “Grandpa Toad’s Secret,” “The Gunnywolf,” “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” and “Nicky and the Big Bad Wolves.”
Public libraries also have cheap book sales. I was able to get my hands on an old 7-book collection of sheet music. My mother scored and got an OLD version of Pinnochio and Peter Pan. Wins all the way around!
This is absolutely the best part of my local library. I can hop online, look up some books, find available ebooks and audiobooks, and delve in right from home. There are even some useful course/video materials available to you online, or movies as well.
This isn’t really my thing, but if it’s yours, you can also borrow kindle books.
There are so many opportunities for children at public libraries. Other than the obvious huge collection of books they have many crafting opportunities, classes, storytimes, and festivals; however, my absolute favorite is the “Summer Reading Program.” This encourages kids to continue reading through the summer to build up enough points to earn prizes. I loved this as a kid, and when they do it for adults I’m still obsessed to this day.
Your local library can also offer you a list of age-specific books for your children, and offer homework help if you find that some of the work is a little over your head.
There are lots of programs and opportunities made available to teens as well. Besides there being a whole section of the library for teens/young adult novels, there are also plenty of activities and programs organized for them as well. Among these include: meeting authors, participating in drawings, providing volunteer work, having movie nights, and more.Â
Beyond that there are booklists, magazines, homework helps, and more. There are very few “wholesome” places for teens these days, and the library can be one of those blessed places!
Ah yes, your kids don’t get all the fun. Learning to paint, practicing yoga, and having a weekly board game night? How fun is that! Depending on your local public libraries, there are a lot of opportunities for citizens to come together and learn, experience new things, and build their community.
Even more: you can get computer help and schedule for a time to meet with a librarian and learn how to use things like Facebook, Microsoft office, and more.
The library has a collection of research databases. Here you can find downloadable music and information, language learning, immigration and citizenship info, newspapers and magazines, genealogy, and the list goes on.
Depending on your local library, sometimes they will run history, science, or art exhibits. Our local library is doing a National Geographic photography exhibit soon, which is really kind of cool. This is a good opportunity to open your child up to all of the creations from around the world.
Having trouble with the internet at home? Don’t have a computer? Need to print and your printer has caputted? No worries, the library can help you. According to my library’s website, you can also access FREE online classes, become a social media pro, search for jobs, and get your questions answered!
Now this is kind of an awesome feature, whether for school, for start-up businesses to have meetings, or really just to have the peace and quite. Each room has free wireless internet, a whiteboard, and tables and chairs. There are even rooms that they call “Smart Rooms” where there is a TV monitor that can hook up to multiple devices at once and then share each persons screen. I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty cool!
Not every library has this, but my local library can move music from cassettes to CDs, scan photos for you and transfer VHS videos to a writeable DVD. Because we’re in Utah (primarily) they also offer a family history library where you can learn about your ancestors, which is pretty cool!
Girls, there are so many opportunities that we take for granted, merely because we don’t know. The library is a tool for you to enjoy with your family, and it is available to everybody. For me, it made up some of the most memorable parts of my childhood, and it helped me build a relationship with my mother that was centered on reading, learning, and communicating about the stories we enjoyed.
You can find age-specific reading lists in our free “Homeschool Resources” download.
How often do you make it out to the library with your family? Comment Below!
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