When I was in fourth grade, my teacher, Mrs. Ross, took us on a field trip to the county library. We all signed up for library cards and chose a book to check out. Two weeks later my mom took me back to the library to return what I had taken home. I can’t remember the next time I visited the library. It must have been sometime during high school or college, because I vaguely remember updating my card. For the majority of my life, however, I relied primarily on family, friends and bookstores to meet my reading needs.
My reintroduction to public libraries took place when, about 8 years ago, my husband and I took advantage of AARP’s freetax help. They annually set up tax volunteers at my local county library. I guess that’s when I realized that aside from the huge, ever changing collection of books housed there, the library also offers a wide variety of additional services.
We have only taken advantage of a few of the many resources available to members, aside from books. When teaching my daughter baby sign language, we checked out sign/sing videos, which she loved watching and mimicking. Activities such as crafts, walks, puppetry that I plan at home often come from library resources. My 4-year-old loves using the computers that have age appropriate learning software and playing with toys and games that encourage learning and creativity. One Christmas we happened to visit when a model train and village, created by a group of people from an area model train club, was on display (train cameras included). We have also been to a few children’s story times, which are often accompanied with crafts. I recently downloaded the Overdrive App on my iPhone. If you are a member of a library, you can sign in with your card number and access that library’s e-book collection. My first book downloads were “Are You My Mother?” By P.D. Eastman and “A Walk in the Woods.” By Bill Bryson. Any books downloaded are accessible for 14 days.
We have yet to take part in the monthly book club for adults, or the special events planned regularly for kids (visits by the police men, firefighters and evening programs like pajama parties and back to school events.) I’ve seen announcements for writing lectures and book signings. They have great home school resources that I can’t wait to utilize. And how much does all of this cost? NOTHING!!!
If you can’t tell, I really get excited about libraries. Just for the record, I am not being compensated in any way to write this post. Libraries really do open up the world to kids and adults alike. If you don’t have a library card, I highly recommend getting one. And if you are already a member, tell me your favorite aspects of your local branch.