7 Ways to Take Advantage of Your Local Public Library

kid in a library

Public libraries have been around for hundreds of years, so naturally they can be easy to forget—they’re not the next big thing! However, they really do have a lot going on, from books to other forms of arts and media that is continually changing to offer valuable services to their local communities.

From interactive experiences and read-alouds, to tutoring centers and a seemingly endless supply of books to check out and enjoy free of cost (with proper return), libraries are a treasured resource that shouldn’t be overlooked when it comes to planning weekly family fun.

Whether you pack up your family to venture out to the library in person or you open your computer to see what’s available online, a trip to the library is sure to help inspire your young reader and bring your family together over an unforgettable shared experience or a great book!

Get a Library Card

You may have your own library card, but what about your kids? The novelty of their own card to sign their name on, keep track of and use to check out their own books goes a long way when it comes to instilling a love of reading and visiting the library.

Once they have their own card, they will be able to stand in line with you and walk up to the counter to check out the books they’ve selected on their own. The sense of responsibility and independence that comes with this is likely to have them asking to plan a speedy return.

Have a Designated Book Basket/Bag

When visiting the library with little ones, the stack of picture book selections rapidly becomes very awkward and heavy to carry. Designating a portable solution (or solutions–give each of your kids their own bag!) to keep and carry your library check-outs during the selection process will not only ease this load, but also ensure better success when it comes to caring for the selections, avoiding loss and returning all of your books on time!

Ask About Activities

Many libraries offer engaging events and opportunities for kids with anything from read-alouds and visits from local authors, to hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities. Some libraries will even offer tutoring hours for older students to have a quiet, productive place to study and get their homework done.

Recently, many libraries have been shifting to offering some of these interactive experiences online in both live and prerecorded formats. Log in to your local library website today to see what is available!

Have a List of Books on Hold

All local libraries have a system where you can have a list of requested titles that are “held” for you when made available. This will naturally occur if the book you’re looking for isn’t at your library branch or if someone else has already checked out the title you’re requesting and no other copies are available. However, you can also use it to make your library pick-up quick and easy.

Call ahead or use their online portal to request the titles you’d like to take home, and swing by the counter to quickly to pick them up when they’re ready–it’s a perfect way to get new reading material for your family during the hectic week!

Learn About the Media Options

Libraries have a lot more than just books available to check out–they have music, audiobooks, movies and in some cases even computer or video games! While some of these may be the very outlet you’re trying to get your child to spend less time with (and more time with a book), including one or two of these could be a useful way to get a reluctant reader to the library in the first place.

Keep a close eye out on due dates though, these items tend to hold higher late fees!

Look into Online Library Access

With more and more people working from home and switching to tablets over traditional books, libraries have had to make a shift to offer resources in digital and downloadable formats. The best thing about this is that you can find and select new audio-visual material and books all from the comfort and convenience of your own home.

For those who prefer reading from a tablet, this is a must-try resource!

Don’t Forget to Check Out Books for You, Too!

Looking for book selections to inspire your young reader may be what gets you to the library, but when was the last time you picked up a book to read at your own leisure? Whether it’s a book or music, don’t forget to take time for you!

Prioritizing reading and selecting books that you know you will be able to enjoy on your own models a love and habit of reading to kids that aids in their process of cultivating their own. You don’t have to be reading to your kids to convey the value of finding and enjoying a good book from the library.

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