by Judy Mullican
Have you visited your local library lately? While long ago libraries could sometimes be rather stuffy, most modern libraries are bright, cheerful places that offer an amazing array of services and activities. Here are ten great ways to enjoy your library:
- Take a Tour: Call ahead and arrange a tour of the library. Invite as many family members as possible to come along. Not only will the extra supervision help you, but the families may be excited to learn about all the library has to offer. For example, libraries typically offer computer access and may also offer help with taxes, writing resumes, investigating genealogies, and much more.
- Children’s Programs: Most libraries offer story times year round and also have exciting summer programs for kids of all ages. Your local librarian can steer you to the best ones for your child or group. (If you are taking a group, it’s helpful to let the librarians know ahead of time to help with their planning.)
- Try Before You Buy: If your family or program is considering buying books or other educational materials, you may be able to check them out at the library. After using the materials, you’ll have a better idea if they are a perfect fit or will end up being dust collectors.
- Puzzles and Games: Libraries may offer puzzles and games for their young patrons to use when they visit. Sometimes these can even be checked out to use at home.
- Theme-Related Books: Each theme in the FunShine curriculum includes a book list. You can often find these books at the library. If not, your librarian may be able to help you find other books that support the theme.
- Music: Are you looking for some fun children’s music? You may be able to check out CDs!
- DVDs: Most experts agree that screen time should be limited for young children. But there are some great children’s DVDs that can be enjoyed in moderation. By checking these out at the library, you can avoid spending large amounts on something that you only plan to use for a short time.
- Art: Libraries usually display art, often from local artists. Sometimes libraries even have a space to display children’s art. The displays may change regularly. So children are able to see a variety of different styles of art. Some libraries even offer art prints for check out. You may find prints you can display at home or in your center. When the due date comes, just return them and find something new to display!
- Professional Training: Libraries typically have rooms that are available for different purposes, including training for early childhood professionals. If your local professional organization is planning to offer training, contact your library to see if you can reserve space. You can also check to see if other organizations in your community are offering training to the public.
- Special Services: If you have children with disabilities, the library may be able to help! There are often audiobooks, Braille books, and other materials that are helpful for those with special needs.
Check to see if your local library has a web site or Facebook page. Follow the site to keep up with all the events that are taking place. To find out more about what’s happening at libraries across the country, check out this site: publiclibrariesonline.org/