“It’s library day!” My five year old announced as my great grandmother’s eyes met mine, “The library?” she intoned sarcastically, surely thinking of a stuffy quiet place. “We love to go to the library,” I explained, “I would be lost without it.” She shook her head as we said goodbye and the children climbed into the van for our biweekly pilgrimage. Are you utilizing your library to its full potential? Here’s a few things to consider about the library.
Books on Hold. I can put books on hold from my own home computer and check to see if they are in yet. This was especially handy when my little children needed my constant attention at the library and I couldn’t have a lengthy conversation with the help desk about what I needed. I looked up the information at home. I could renew books, research upcoming library events, and place holds. That meant my book would be delivered to my local library with my name on it all ready for pickup. “All they need is a drive-through,” was my husband’s reply to my giddy announcement about this world at my fingertips.
Librarians. Librarians are the best resource. There’s a great line from that horror comedy classic movie, The Mummy, where the main character dramatically states, “I’m. . . a librarian!” While my local librarians aren’t movie stars, these people possess a vast wealth of knowledge. I used to think librarians were just for people who didn’t know how to use the library or helping kids find books. Do you know most librarians actually have a degree in library science? My stereotypes were shattered as I asked the librarians more and more questions and they can up with more and more answers. One of my favorite librarians is a home school mom whose children are now grown. She is a great resource for my home school questions.
When my son started reading he was drawn to comic book style books, like We Are in a Book by Mo Willems. I wanted to find more of these types of books but my search for comic book style books only yielded superheroes. The librarian suggested I change search terms for “graphic library” which opened a whole new world of historical comic books covering Sitting Bull to Cleopatra.
It was the librarian who suggested using other databases to find a specific title before searching their system by subject. Sure enough, I easily found the specific biography on C.S. Lewis I wanted at Amazon.com and simply copied and pasted the title into my library’s search box to locate the book
Programs. The library also has programs. Check their website on a monthly basis for upcoming events. Remember not all events are online. In the library, I spotted the sign for an art contest for all ages. Entrants had to create a piece that reflected the theme of a specific book. I signed my seven and nine year old up for that one, and they enjoyed picking a project that reflected a “sense of belonging”. They spent time and energy creating their pieces and my son even won a prize.
Books for Sale. Our library has a book nook that is always available. Children’s soft cover books are only 25 cents, and hard covers are 50 cents. These books are either donations the library receives or books taken out of circulation. It has provided a great way for my children to buy each other Christmas presents when they are on a budget. Often libraries will have a yearly sale or a bag sale, where you fill a bag with books and pay a flat rate.
These are just a few things your local library may offer. Check out their website and find what works for you and your family. Perhaps your library will even have a drive through.