I’ve always been a huge library fan. As a child, my mom took us so we could sign up for the summer reading programs, and as an adult, I’ve found myself using the library’s resources even more. Now enter being a stay-at-home mom of two young kids, and it has been a lifesaver. It’s given us a reason to get out of the house in any weather, and a way for my kids and me to make friends. If you aren’t sure what all is waiting for you through those library doors, let me tell you!
I stumbled upon the Bouncing Babies group at my library when my first baby was 5 months old, and we’ve been going ever since. My kids are 1 and 3 now so we’ve progressed from the babies group to the toddler and preschool groups. We read books, sing songs, play instruments, and do crafts and other activities. It has been fun to move through the classes with our library friends and watch everyone grow. And a little bittersweet!
The other thing I love about storytime is that it offers socialization and structure. After storytime, there is an open playtime where kids can do different activities set up throughout the room. My 3-year-old can navigate the activities on her own and play with other kids while I chase my 1-year-old around and try to make sure he doesn’t destroy everything.
2. 1000 Books Before Kindergarten
The storytime leaders told me about this shortly after we started going to the library regularly, and now both of my kids are signed up. They send us home with a sheet to track 100 books at a time, with a shape to color in for each book read, and the kids get a prize or a sticker for each sheet completed. Our library even has a wall dedicated to tracking each child’s progress. The only key here is to remember to fill out the sheets 😉
3. Your Very Own Library Card
My daughter just recently got her first library card. She was so excited to be able to use her own card to check out books for the first time. I’ve also been able to use it as a lesson in responsibility – we have a special spot for her card and our library book bag at home. Plus her card is super cute!
4. Play Area
Our library has a great play area that my kids love. You know how kids just need a change of scenery and different toys (or even the same toys in a different place that’s not your house)? Well, the library takes care of this.
5. Other Programs and Services
The library offers so many programs for all age groups – almost too many to name! Of course, each library and district will offer different things, but in general, you can find book clubs, craft kits, movie nights, and other educational classes.
Bonus – Imagination Library
You don’t have to go through your library for this but that’s how I found out about it. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will mail books to children from birth to age five – all you have to do is sign up. If it’s not available in your area for some reason (like it wasn’t ours for a while), just keep checking periodically. I was finally able to sign my kids up last year and we love getting monthly book surprises in our mailbox!
We’ve definitely become regulars at our library and it has been so rewarding for our family. Maybe you’re already a library lover like me, but if not, I encourage you to check it out sometime and see what you think!
Toledo Lucas County Public Library Programs – This covers a lot of areas in Northwest Ohio and shows you all of the programs going on at each branch.
Library Finder – For those of you who live in smaller rural areas (like me), and may not be part of a bigger district of libraries, you can use this to locate your nearest library!