10 Ways To Use Your Public Library

Happy National Library Week! This week, April 8-14 is National Library Week. According to AtYourLibrary.org, National Library Week is “a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use.”
I love our public library and we visit it at least once a week. It’s a gem in our community and I couldn’t ask for a better library.
This week I wanted to salute my public library with a list of 10 ways to use your public library. And, believe me, it was hard to stop at 10!
I’m doing something a little different this week and linking to many activities provided by AtYourLibrary.org which is the public website for the American Library Association’s public awareness campaign, the Campaign for America’s Library.
So here are my 10 favorite ways to use your public library.
1. Story time. We hardly ever miss story time at our library. The girls get to spend time with other kids their age, they hear several books read aloud by a wonderful storyteller, and get to play games. What’s not to love? Check with your local library for story times and stop by. I guarantee your kids will love it!
2. Expand your book collection. Find that list of all the books you want to read, save yourself some money and borrow them from the library. Are your kids suddenly interested in dinosaurs? They can find all the books they want at the library. Is the book you want to read not available at your library? Most libraries are part of a local county or multi-county association and will allow you to request books from nearby libraries. It’s time to start reading!
3. Research a subject you’ve always wanted to know more about. Do you want to know more about the bird’s stopping by your bird feeder? Check with the library. You can research science, history, and more! Curious about Native Americans? Check out this fabulous list of resources!
4. Learn a new skill. Sewing, baking, crochet, photography, or even knot tying. You can find resources at your local library to teach you any of these. Learn about the art and science of cooking or learn about gardening. It’s all at your library.
5. Learn manners and respect. Your local library is the perfect place to learn about behaving in public. Learn about using a quiet voice, being polite, waiting your turn, and other manners at a welcoming and friendly space.
6. Enjoy a movie. The next time you have family movie night, go by your public library. They’ve got a huge collection of new and classic movies, tv shows, and documentaries. And the best part, they’re free to check out.
7. Experience new music. Not only does your public library have movies, they also typically have a large collection of cds. Here’s your chance to experience opera, folk music, bluegrass, or music from all corners of the world.
8. Meet an author or see an interesting speaker. My public library has had opportunities to see poets, authors (of both adult & children’s books), local art exhibits, zoo presentations, family fun nights, and many more fun opportunities. And, I don’t live in a big city! Check with your local library’s website, follow them on Facebook or Twitter, and find out all the fun opportunities in your community!
9. Find a quiet place to unwind on a rainy or snowy day. If you don’t want to be stuck in the house in bad weather, go to the library! Read a book, work a puzzle, learn some new jokes, or even play a game. Find a  fun new cookbook and take it home to experiment in the kitchen. Or, find a craft book and spend the afternoon getting crafty. A trip to the library will cure the stuck-in-the-house blues!
10. Experience a new culture. If you can’t travel someplace, do the next best thing… find books and other resources to bring that culture to your home. Find books about festivals, food, clothing, history, crafts, geography, and literature from another culture. Find music and movies from that country. Bring it all home and immerse yourself. It’s an amazing experience! Here’s a list of the top 10 Spanish books for kids and here’s a list of winter festivals around the world.
*Bonus Activity: Do you have an e-reader? Guess what? Your local library may have e-books available to borrow. Ask and find out!
 More library fun:
Now it’s your turn! Tell my something cool about your local library. What do you enjoy best about it?
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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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