Hello Mommies and Daddies. Thank you for joining me today! I wanted to talk with you about your public library. Many people have driven past the public library, seen the sign on the building, but have never been particularly attracted to it. You might think: what could be so exciting about the library? Why should I stop there?
Start reading to your children as early as possible.
For those of you who have read my post titled Reading to Your Children: Why is it Important?, you know that I am a big advocate of parents reading to their children from the earliest possible age. Did you know that children can hear sound as early as 18 weeks in utero! By 24 weeks, 50% of babies in utero respond appropriately to the sounds around them. So, your little developing babies can hear you. And they enjoy hearing you!
Whether you decide to read to them while you are pregnant or after you have given birth, it is so important to read to your children! Aside from the natural bonding that occurs when you sit closely and read with your child, early reading improves children’s vocabulary, reading comprehension and allows them to that develop a lifelong love of reading.
Why is the public library a great option?
So with all of that being said, why the public library? What makes the library better than simply shopping at your local book store or joining an online book club? I wholeheartedly endorse shopping at your local bookstore and also getting books from good, online book dealers. In fact, having their Book-of-the-Month delivered is something that your children will really look forward to! It is not a matter of going to your local bookstore, joining an online book club or going to the local library. I would encourage you to do all 3!
The public library offers variety.
But what does your local library have that you cannot get at a bookstore, either brick-and-mortar or online? Firstly, according to the American Library Association, an average town of 25,000 to 50,000 people has a library collection of 50,000 books. Now that is a lot of books! The New York public library has almost 22 million books! As you can see, going to your local public library gives you and your children a great variety of books to choose from.
Say they don’t like the Magic Tree House series. They are sure to like one of the 613 Nancy Drew books out there! Don’t care for Nancy Drew? How about Clifford the Big Red Dog or Curious George or the Berenstein Bears or… I think you get the point! The public library has an almost endless number of books for you and your children to choose from and to fall in love with.
Pro-tip: if your library doesn’t have the book that you are looking for, make sure to ask your librarian. They can almost always find the book and borrow it through their interlibrary loan system.
The public library offers great children’s programs!
Aside the fabulous collection of books, most local public library systems have children’s programming available. Check out your local library website for their children’s program schedule. Story Time is a children’s program that most libraries offer for their youngest patrons. During Story Time, the librarian will usually start the session by having the children sing a few fun songs. The lyrics are almost always educational in nature, teaching children skills like counting, learning their colors, etc. Then the librarian reads one or two age-appropriate books to the children. They usually finish with a small craft that the children can enjoy.
As your children get older, the programs available through the local library advance in an age-appropriate fashion. Older children may have STEM programs, scavenger hunts and games like teen BINGO. And, while your children are enjoying their activities, you can chat with friends or other parents whose children are taking part in the fun. These programs give you and your children an opportunity to enjoy the local community.
You are paying for the public library already!
Do you need one final reason to check our your local library? All of these benefits that the library offers: reading opportunities for you and your children, age-appropriate children’s programming and community building, are all available to you using the tax dollars that you are spending anyway! Raising children can be expensive. It’s unbelievable how much some children eat! Throw in sports lessons , music classes, family vacations and it really adds up. You are paying for your public library through your local property taxes. Take advantage of it! Give your children the gift of reading in a fun and safe environment!
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