Most busy, modern parents understand the value of reading. But in our current, commercial climate, we also automatically buy books, DVDs and games without a second thought. There is nothing wrong with wanting your child to have a library of their own; books are like friends we always want to spend time with.
The library is not simply about accessing these fun and educational stories; it is it’s own experience. Here are five reasons you may not have considered that your public library is an untapped treasure trove.
- It Ain’t Your Mom’s Library. Sure, you have a clear memory of stepping inside a cool, quiet place surrounded by readers. And that is still true. But the library today is a transformed place. Gone is the Dewey Decimal System– libraries have faced out their juicier titles like a retail space and organized their titles by subject to make them easier to find.
- It’s More than Just Reading. Today, local libraries have developed all kinds of useful classes, craft workshops, story hours and music programs to encourage children. Most of them have a website or post their activity schedules. This is not only fun for kids, but it brings talented community members into the library setting.
- Meet Other Moms and Dads. If you are a new parent, or new to your area, the library is the go-to place to for your kids to make friends, and you too!
- A Lesson in Sharing. This is a golden opportunity to introduce your kids to the value of borrowing and returning. Just like we teach them to take turns and share, the library magically lets us take home these great books and movies, just as long as we return them.
- You Already Paid for It. As a taxpayer, you have already invested in this precious service, why wouldn’t you take advantage? The exploration of a new author, genre or subject doesn’t have to be an expensive purchase; it can be a loaner. Discovering whether or not your kid is actually into the topic or illustrations is a smart move. If they love it, and really need to own it, then you can buy it.
Libraries are the hallmark of civilization, and somehow they always end up on the chopping block when the conversation turns to budget. Aside from the fact that libraries represent a drop in the bucket in terms of public cost, part of the problem is that people just don’t know how much amazing stuff their neighborhood branch contains. Our kids can develop a healthy appreciation for the library culture. All it takes is a little help from us.
Need more convincing? Check out these great resources on child literacy and supporting libraries: