Play: Get to Know your Local Library!!
Last time Jake and I updated our book catalog, we had over 1,000 books. With a count like that, perhaps you would think we owned a whole lot of kid books too.
But, surprisingly, we don’t.
We have some for sure. Enough that we have to rotate books every 6 months to make room on their mini bookshelf for the seasonal books. But for kids books, we like to utilize other resources– namely, our local library. While it is true that all local libraries are different, there are some things that generally remain the same- and some of them are things that you may not know about!
Here are some of the fun ways that we like to maximize on the resources of the local library.
1. The Children Librarians
These people have a WHOLE lot of knowledge, and are eager to share with you recommendations based on your child’s age, interests, etc. It can be overwhelming to walk into a library full of books and think- what in the world will my kid like? So, ask them for recommendations. They will be overjoyed!
These will come in all shapes and forms, but every library (even the tiny library that we were near in small town Kentucky!) either has these at their library, or are able to get them from neighboring libraries. Kits often come in the form of a bag or box filled with items- toys, games, puzzles, puppets, books, etc- surrounding some kind of theme (holiday, a particular book, math, nursery rhymes, etc.). Sometimes these aren’t advertised as prominently as you might think they should be, so ask a children’s librarian or play around on your library’s online catalog, searching for words like “kit”.
|Splendid Friend, Indeed Kit- tea party!|
|Love the Puppets!|
|Stop Snoring, Bernard Traveling Trunk|
|Stop Snoring, Bernard Traveling Trunk|
|New Baby Kit|
3. Make a Wish List
Have your kids make book wish lists, and then check them out instead of buying them. Aly and Asante are both in preschool this year, and so they are starting to come home with those Scholastic Book thingys. While I have bought a book or two out of them, I have started to have the kids sit down with them and circle the ones that look interesting to them.
Instead of buying them, I jump on our library’s online book catalog and request them! Over the next week or so, we have a big influx of books that they may not have just “come across” on their own when perusing the library bookshelves. Plus, it’s free. 🙂
4. Online Catalog
I have discovered great and wonderful treasures by playing around on our library’s catalog. First, I search for something that I know they probably have. For example, “melissa and doug”, because I know Melissa and Doug make great educational toys, puzzles, and games, and SURELY they have something by them.
Out pops some great choices!
I choose one (Photographic ABC Puzzle).
I now see other things I can click on to see other resources that are similar. I can click on the call number (EPUZ ALP) and it gives me others that are near it (all more puzzles!).
Or, I can click on “jigsaw puzzles” and look how many show up! So much more exploring to do!
5. Books on CD, Playaways, DVDs, Video games
Some libraries charge fees on some of these, but most of the time they are nominal. At our library, we can check out a Wii Video Game at the rate of a $1 for a week. This is a fun way to try out a video game that we may want to purchase in the future. These resources are also great when going on long car trips!
We have two series of books on CD that we’re going through these days–The Magic Tree House series as well as the A to Z Mysteries. These have been great in helping the kids to sit quietly in the car when going places (no fighting for 20-30 minutes! amazing!). Even the 2 year old enjoys listening.
6. Educational Tools
Every library we’ve frequented has had educational tools like Hooked on Phonics and Hooked on Math, as well as language learning materials (Signing Time videos, Little Pim, etc.). It’s a great opportunity to try out resources that one isn’t sure that their child will like, or it may be a great way to access a resource that is not in the family’s price range to purchase.
7. Clubs and Activities
Chess, lego, reading, cooking, game nights– all ages, babies to teenagers!
Many librarians are eager to get volunteers to organize things that interest them– so if you have an idea, talk to a librarian about starting something up!
|Asante at a local library for a chess club|
8. Summer Reading Programs
One of my favorite memories related to the local library is reading books for the summer book club, writing them on my sheet, and then biking up to the library by myself to turn it in and get a prize. I wish they had summer reading programs for adults where we got prizes…. 🙂