When I started staying home with our children, my book budget (which was a big portion of my “fun” money because reading is something I love to do) was the first to go. I had not had a library card since I was a teenager but when I realized that I couldn’t justify paying $15.99 for a brand new book that I would read in one sitting, I packed up the family for a trip to the library. We each got library cards and I am so glad that we did. There are a number of benefits to getting a library card.
Teach your children about responsibility. Both my 5 and 8 year old have their own library cards and have since they were 3 and 6. When we check out library books, they each carry their own bag, choose their own books and check them out with their cards. They are responsible for taking care of the books when we have them at home. If they misplace the book, they are responsible for the late fines or to replace. To date, we haven’t had to replace any books but my son has had to pay two fines. Recently he thought he had a book that was overdue. I loved seeing the relief in his face when he realized his book was not overdue and he was spared from having to turn over some of his money.
Read something new. I love that my son found books that taught him how to draw and my daughter is currently fascinated with nonfiction books about animals. They both have devoured the I Spy books. They read things that they wouldn’t normally read. The summer reading program taught them to explore the shelves and try something new. I, too, have been reading books that I normally wouldn’t pick up and I have really enjoyed them. Did you know that the library has a travel guide section? I found travel guides to all three major destinations on our summer vacation list. I was able to gather information without having to pay for guidebooks that I would only use once.
Libraries aren’t just for checking out books. Once we grab the books we want to check out, we head to the DVD and books on tape sections to see what we should add to our pile. The books on tape kept us occupied during our 30 hours on the road this summer.
Entertain the kids. The summer reading program and activities offered during the year are fantastic. Watch a movie, attend a story time, or read to dogs. Your children can learn how to make model airplanes and draw like a cartoonist. There are computers available for the kids to play games and coloring sheets. The Tryon Branch has a wonderful playground that we always visit when we are finished picking out our books.
This month, in celebration of Library Card Sign-Up Month, the Blue Wahoos’ mascot, Kazoo, will be visiting the library. There is also a raffle to enter if you are interested in winning some Blue Wahoos Memorabilia.