Earlier this week the girls and I made our weekly trip to the library. I don’t know about you, but I never gave much thought to libraries. I vaguely remember the one from my childhood. It was tucked inside the park my brother played baseball at. I remember it being rather small, dimly lit and (duh) full of books. I recall searching the shelves early on in my schooling, mostly for things about whale sharks or black holes, as those were my two go-to topics for every elementary research paper I did.
As I got older and the internet got to be more of a thing (online Encyclopaedia Britannica anyone?!) I visited libraries less and less until I couldn’t remember the last time I had set foot in one. Not a fact I’m proud of, but a fact nonetheless.
Fast forward a few years to when I had Hailey. Looking for ways to meet mom friends, I randomly saw a flyer for storytime. Hoping at least one other mom would show up, I took my firstborn to our first storytime experience. I wandered in about 5 minutes early and the entire room was PACKED full. It was that day I realized I stumbled upon a mom’s best friend, the library.
Since then I’ve discovered all sorts of cool (FREE) things to take advantage of and in case you’re a new mom or just haven’t been to your library in a while, here are a few of my favorites that are worth checking out (quite literally).
The DVD Collection
What? Did she just say to go to the library to get movies? I did. I have been blown away by the thousands of movies available at our library. All the childhood classics, the most up-to-date releases, educational films, TV favorites and more. Before road trips, I go and pick out 4 or 5 to rent. It’s completely free and I can keep them for the duration of our trip. It’s such a better deal than Red Box, renting, or buying.
If I’m being truthful, I don’t actually like how accessible the computers are, smack in the middle of all the books. That’s my personal beef though because my kids are drawn to them like a moth to flame. The computers are, however, set up with a large array of interactive and educational games featuring favorite childhood characters (like Dora, George and more). It’s also a nice opportunity to let kids get completely hands on without a parent (me) hovering over them to make sure they don’t accidentally delete anything.
The Books on CD
A hidden gold mine!! Our library has a decent collection (and after speaking with them I found out they hope to expand it soon) of books that come with CDs that children can “read” and follow along with themselves. Most CDs have page turn signals (something I always check for), making these great for the car or perfect for at home when you need a solo activity.
Music and Story CDs
Another favorite section of mine, I always pick up 2-3 on each weekly visit. The girls’ favorites are definitely the Song & Story CDs. We’ve listened to the same 7 song and story CDs more times than I can count. They also have a lot of nursery rhyme song options, which are great for toddlers and preschoolers, and even educational music that focuses on foreign languages, alphabet and spelling, or even math.
If you’re thinking what kind of mom would make their children listen to songs about counting?
This one right here.
Don’t knock it; the songs are actually quite catchy!
As a mom looking for free things to do, the library offers so many great activities too. From doll houses and toys to play with right there, to kid-specific crafts, to puppet shows, to reading time with a therapy dog, and more (many libraries even offer free passes to local museums and zoos), the library is a gold mine for parents looking for fun, free activities for the kids.
[Tweet “The library is more than just books; why every mom should plan a visit! #momlife”]
Also, if a child can write his or her name, they can get a library card. Hailey (5) has one and I love the responsibility it is teaching her to keep up with her books and take good care of someone else’s property.
I’m reading over this thinking it sure sounds like it’s sponsored by the library. It’s not, haha, but I do feel passionate about how much the library has given me. When I was a new mom to two, it was so helpful to have a place to take Hailey to play or listen to a story while I held Kaitlyn. I also met one of my good mom friends though a story time when Hailey was a baby. Oh yeah, and they have a ton of books for all ages too. 😉
Do you visit your library often?
What is your favorite thing your library offers?
I love our local library- I take my son to story time every time I have a day off from work (I’m a teacher) and we love the songs and books! He’s an infant so it’s great how he can crawl around in the circle and be active and mobile while still getting the benefit of being read to!
This is great. I also ‘re-discovered’ the library as a new SAHM. It’s part of our weekly rotation! I picked up our towns annual report and flipped through it and realized as taxpayers, we were giving the library $50/year anyways as part of our local taxes (avg homeowner contribution that varies greatly), but once you realize you’re actually paying for this wonderful benefit and the salaries of the librarians who are there to help, it’s like an extra incentive to make the most of it when so many people in our town aren’t.
Definitely books on CD and once my child started flying through chapter books I suddenly realized we needed to use the library MORE! I like the DVDs too and the general ability to get some “new” books that I didn’t have to buy!
We love the library! I can even borrow books on my Kindle from the comfort of my couch! Thanks for the reminder- we need to get into our library ASAP as we have a voracious reader already at 2 years old and we have almost all of our books memorized.
Yes, I LOVE my library. And I am sure I don’t take full advantage of it. It is such a peaceful place too. I always thought it would be a cool place to work and/or for my teenagers to work there (but that never happened–they are working tho). 🙂
We have a fairly small library, but one of the things I love most is that when it’s warm enough, the kids and I can walk there together! We usually walk away with a stack of books and at least one movie. However, I love to make use of borrowing E-Books from our library. Sometimes that’s a lot more convenient for me (especially in the winter months).
I LOVE our library as well. I need to look for the CD/Book combo — I haven’t seen those yet. I can also request books/movies from other branches connected to the library closest to my home. This is fantastic as I can make the request from home on my computer and then visit the library when the book comes in!!
We visited story time once and there were so many people that my kids were overwhelmed. Might try that again though now that they are a little older!
Yes, love the library! It was a huge part of my childhood as the internet didn’t come out until I was graduating high school. There are great arts and crafts programs also for all ages. I use the library myself for travel books and cds. Sometimes it’s hard to keep my 3 year old patient, but I always spend some time in the adult section as well. After I get my books we settle in the kids section that has an awesome toy kitchen. With the toddler playing and the baby content watching him, I can get a little break sitting down browsing through a new stack of books. Also, love using the “holds” system, where you order anything online then they collect it from any library in the district and have it ready for you at your location of choice.
Oh this is great. Growing up, my best friend’s mom was the head children’s librarian at our town’s library, so I spent a lot of time there and even worked there as my part-time job in high school. I’m very passionate about library funding so that the library has the ability to reach out to everyone in the community. I’m a reader (about two books a month now that I have kids but it used to be double) so I rarely buy books so as not to put us in the poorhouse, LOL. I take my kids there for playtime frequently.
My hint for parents is to always check out the same number of things if you can – we always check out 10 books, 2 DVDs, and 3 books on tape (my kids are 4 and 1). That way I’m not trying to figure out how much stuff we have to return – it’s just gather the books up and count to 10.
Shaw park! We went to the same library and I couldn’t describe it any better thank you! I also completely agree, the library is a mom’s best friend!! One thing I do all the time is go online and hold items. It’s like you’re shopping online and don’t have to pay for your items! Our library has all kinds of free activities for people of all ages & even a summer series of events (puppet shows, etc). I need to go to the library!!
Brittany Dixon says
Heck yeah, Shaw Park baby!! Man I have so many memories from there! I need to learn mroe about our online system. I know it’s awesome like you described, I just don’t know how to navigate it yet.
Hi there, first time comment — love your blog! Since becoming a mom, I have also realized how great our local library is. I’m sad that now with both my kids in school everyday, we can’t make the story times. They were a gem of an activity — not only “free” but also very educationally engaging, especially for my son between 1-3 yrs old. It’s really amazing to find good programs for kids to do that don’t charge. I have since started donating an annual contribution to our library to help support the story time program. I appreciate the diversity of your posts on here! Thanks.
Brittany Dixon says
Hi Kristin, thanks for commenting for the first time!! 🙂 What a wonderful idea to donate to the library since it really does provide so much to so many. <3 I look forward to looking more into the programs ours offer. I know there are a ton!
Omg, yes, I LOVE the library! When I first moved down here, one of the first things I did was get a card. Now that I have a little one (Kaitlyn’s age), I definitely enjoy it for Storytime! My fave thing has to be that here in NC, you can order a book from ANY library in the NC system, and that means I can find just about anything I need.
Brittany Dixon says
I need to familiarize myself with the online library access. Like you mentioned about finding books everywhere and putting them on hold, etc, I don’t really know how to do that! But man, it sounds awesome!
I am a librarian and it always makes me sad that many people don’t know how much more there is at the library than just books- for kids and adults alike. Our library has a movie theater and offers free movies on Saturdays. We also have after school teen activities, yoga, adult coloring book get togethers…I mean, the list goes on and on. For kiddos we also check out a wide variety of toys including puzzles, games, and a bunch of Montessori learning kits.
Brittany Dixon says
I would think being a librarian would be such a fun job! Our librarians in the kid area are so wonderful and engaging with the kids. It’s really a wonderful place. I can’t believe yours has a movie theater- that’s incredible! And I hope to learn more about all the programs ours offers as well!
We love love love our library too and it had been years since we had been! I am impressed with their ability to adapt to stay a place that families can and want to go. It’s more of a community center. We can visit and check out or return books anywhere in the county! We also have board games, science experiments, crafts, and video games you can check out! I walk through every week shocked it’s all free!! My oldest reads to therapy dogs once a month and is in a Lego club. Such a great place!
Brittany Dixon says
I agree how in a world with the internet I love how they’ve made themselves stay so prevalent! I am going to ask my library about board games and science experiments because that is AWESOME.
Great post about public libraries as a former children’s librarian now stay at home mom I love hearing about people using their local library, and Librarians love the positive publicity!!!