10 Tips for Making the Most of Your Public Library this Summer
Most families do not make the most of their public library in the summer months. Libraries are underused and undervalued. Many simply see them as places to take out textbooks or research books, yet those people could not be more wrong. Here are 10 tips for making the most of your public library this summer.
1. Get a Library Card
Signing up for a free, easy library card is the first step for anyone who wants to see all that their library has to offer this summer, and necessary for anyone who wants to check out a book. Most libraries even encourage kids to sign up for their very own library cards, giving them the ability to take out books for themselves in their own names.
2. Check Out Books
This may be the most obvious tip, but it’s also the most important. Libraries, first and foremost, are public places that allow people to check out books. With the bright and vibrant colors on many books these days, bringing your children along to browse can often be a fun afternoon activity.
3. Check Out More than Just Books
Many people believe that libraries are solely filled with books, books, and more books. However, these people couldn’t be more wrong. Libraries also allow anyone with a card to check out materials including but not limited to magazines, newspapers, CDs, DVDs, audio books, and even e-books. There is always plenty to choose from.
4. Renew Your Materials
Whether you’re checking out books or DVDs, it’s important to renew these items if you need more time to finish them. In addition to in person renewal, most libraries also allow you to renew your books online and over the phone, making the checkout process even easier.
5. Browse Resources Online
While the online resources available at libraries are perfect for scholars and college students, most people use their libraries’ online websites to browse the catalogues of books. If you’re searching for a particular book, you can check their website from your home computer to make sure the books is in stock; and, if they don’t carry the specific item you want, you can usually request it online and most libraries will have it delivered from another library.
6. Talk to the Librarian
The stereotypes of librarians portrayed on television are not true; rather than constantly telling you to be quiet with a scowl on their faces, librarians are generally friendly and helpful people with a true love for books. These knowledgeable men and women are always able to help you find a book or material when you need assistance. Additionally, I can tell you from firsthand experience that they always have superb book recommendations.
7. Attend Library Events
Libraries hold a host of events regularly, especially during the summer months. In addition to the programs for kids, like author readings and weekly story times, there are also countless programs for adults, such as book clubs, guest speakers, concerts, classes, and parenting workshops.
8. Stay at the Library and Read
Just because you’re at the library, it doesn’t mean that you have to check out your books and leave. I have found that libraries often have the comfiest chairs, and sometimes curling up with a leather-bound book is the perfect way to spend your afternoon.
9. View the Library as a Community Space
Reading by yourself at the library can be a great escape, but more often than not, your library should be viewed as a community space. The public often gathers at the library for various events, and it’s a great way to meet new people as well as spend some quality time with your family.
Libraries are remarkable, free resources that constantly give to the community, but every once in a while they need you to give back. While donating money is undoubtedly helpful, actually volunteering (whether you’re restacking shelves or simply baking cookies for an upcoming event) can be a wonderful way to teach your children about the importance of giving back to their community; and they get to give back in a fun way, too!
Libraries are fantastic places to explore. The best time to go into a library is when you don’t know what you want to leave with. Visiting the library and instilling a love of books in your children at a young age not only leads to more intellectual and imaginative children, but also provides for some wonderful family memories and new traditions. After all, there are always many events to attend and books to read that would allow you and your family to make the most of your public library this summer.