Public Libraries: A Low Cost, Fun, and Relaxing Treat for all Ages!
I consider myself one of lucky ones. Going to the library on a regular basis was part of my childhood. My parents were both readers, and I have them to thank for my close connection to libraries. Back then, checking out books was the extent of the services offered. That was enough for me to develop a love of books and reading. I can still visualize the different sections where my favourite books were shelved, from picture books and middle grade, to one of my first adult reads...Jaws by Peter Benchley. If that library still existed, I could take you directly to those books, that memory map is clearly etched in my mind.
These lifelong learners are sharing special moments in the library.
Public libraries are one of a communities most valuable assets. They are free and accessible to all. (Some may have a small yearly membership.) If you haven't visited one in a while, you might be surprised to find out the variety of services offered.
Here are a few of the things you can do at a Library.
Borrow books, magazines, movies, music, toys, and more.
Attend programs. There are many geared for for toddlers and pre-school children. During the summer, programming for school children is phenomenal in our town. There are also presentations and classes for adults.
Hook up your device to free internet, print documents, use a computer to take a class, check your email, write a letter, etc. Many libraries will help you with your computer skills. Some even have 3D printers you can use.
Attend movies and game nights. Build puzzles, play with toys. The list of activities is always expanding.
When I finished my teaching degree, I moved back to the community I grew up in. A newly built library drew me in and I was fascinated with finding the treasured books from my childhood. At first, I thought this desire to connect with my past was quite strange and made me somewhat of an oddball. Why would an adult other than a teacher need or want to read kid's books? Later in life, I learned the answer to that was comfort. It brought me back to the feelings I had when I was a child—carefree and enjoying books. Imagine my delight, when I discovered my favourite picture book on sale, complete with the date-stamps at the back, when the library was selling off some of its collection.
One of My Favourite Childhood Books that I bought at a Library Book Sale
Some of you may be as old as me and remember the check out procedures from long ago. You handed your books to the librarian. They took the card out from the special enveloped glued inside, and printed your name on it. This was how they kept track of who had the book signed out. Then they stamped the due date inside the back cover with a metal and rubber gadget after pressing it into the ink pad.
My sweet sweet treasure, complete with some of my actual due-date stamps from a few years (okay decades) ago.
One of my dreams is that public libraries become the heart of communities everywhere. Currently, many people are too busy or are unaware of the wealth of services and programs available to them. I get it. Life is often a chaotic rush with a never ending list of tasks. If you have children, I challenge you to make the time to include the library as one of the priorities in your life. Consider it a gift to them that will have lifelong benefits. If you don't have children, why not give this gift to yourself. I think you're worth it!
Which of These Benefits Are You Interested in?
Having a no to low cost activity for all family members that is fun, relaxing, and has a positive impact on brain development.
Having access to an endless supply of books to read with your children.
Having an endless supply of books to read on your own. (Think relax time.)
Being able to help your child love books and strengthen their reading skills.
Having access to a wide variety of movies, music, games, and programs.
If You Said Yes to Any of the Above, Isn't it Time You Loved Your Library?
How to Help Your Child Develop a Love of Reading and a Connection to Libraries
Sign up for a membership. Many are free. Others may charge a minimal fee.
Make a commitment and schedule regular visits on your calendar. Soon it will become a habit with many rewards. What a gift to give your child if you can make this a priority once or twice a month!
Explore, play, and read together. Little ones soon find their favourite areas and activities.
Allow enough time so this is relaxing and enjoyable for everyone in the family.
Before you know it, your child will love books and be well on their way to lifelong learning!