Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Local Library Love

by Malina

"You need to be quiet!" the librarian yelled at my son as he cried. "This is a library!" I was mortified. My son had gotten a tummy ache while we were at the library and so we were leaving. But his stomach hurt and he was crying.  I left as quickly as I could. But when I got home, I was angry. How dare she yell at my son for not feeling well! So I picked up the phone. I wasn't sure what they would say, but I had several people apologize to me and listen to me nicely as I explained that I didn't think it very polite of a librarian to yell at a child for crying, especially when he felt sick. The next day I received another phone call from someone on the Library Board apologizing again and telling me the librarian would receive sensitivity training. I was amazed at the response. I learned that the library wanted me to be happy!

With that in mind, I think sometimes it is a challenge to take our kids, especially when they are young, to the library. But the library is a wonderful place for children.  Here are some thoughts on how to make your library experience better. Remember that each library is different and has different strengths. Find them and use them to your advantage. The library is a wonderful resource and can help you get your children to love reading!
  • Put toddlers in a stroller. Instant release from toddler chasing!
  • Reduce child boredom in the quiet areas by making a list of the books you want ahead of time including their call numbers. If you are really lucky, you can reserve them online and have them waiting for you when you arrive at the library.
  • Stumped for ideas for your child? Ask a librarian for books based on your child's interests. Sometimes they have lists available already and other times an overly helpful librarian will help you find tons of interesting books.
  • Ask if they have puzzles or games to play. Some libraries only bring them out on request, others have designated game playing time. Some libraries have cool educational computer games available. Each library is different.
  • Try out the story times and other activities. Depending on the librarian in charge, it may be a real treat! Get on the library email list for events.
  • Schedule a library visit weekly. If its on the calendar, its much easier to get there.
  • Utilize Library Elf or your libraries' own online reminder system to get emails about when books are due or ready for pick up.
  • Try out new movies and CD's for free! Pick up audiobooks for long car trips. The ones with read along books are popular with young kids. Again, ask a librarian if you have no idea what kind of media your child might like.
  • Learn to use their request system if they don't have the book you want. I can't think of a single book I've requested that hasn't been acquired by my library. 
  • REMEMBER - Libraries are there to help you, to serve you, to make you happy. If you aren't happy, or have a suggestion, let them know! (nicely of course!) 
What other ideas do you have for great library trips with kids?



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