Inside: Do you know that the library is the best place for kids and grandkids? If you want to create life-long learners, build your children’s and grandchildren’s brains, and spark their love of adventure and curiosity—go to the library every week. It’s more than a place to check out books—valuable lessons are learned at the library. Here are 4 reasons the library is the best place for kids and grandkids!
The Library: Best Place for Kids
I stood awestruck, speechless and delighted. There in front of me were rows and rows of books on neatly organized shelves. I had never seen so many books in one place. I carefully pulled a book from the shelf; ran my hand over the cover; put the book up to my nose and inhaled deeply.
A woman with a kind face smiled and motioned for me to sit down with the other children.
She started to read:
“This is George
He lived in Africa
He was very happy.
But he had one fault.
He was too curious.”
(from original text 1941 copyright)
My first day at the library.
My first day at storytime.
The first time I heard, Curious George by H.A. Rey.
I was five years old.
Since that first library visit, I’ve had an ongoing love affair with libraries and books. For me, the definition of heaven is being in a place surrounded by books.
Childhood Memories of the Library: the Best Place for Kids
What are your memories of going to the library when you were young? Do you remember when you got your first library card? Do you remember the first book that was read to you at a library?
When I was growing up I loved our local library. It was a short distance from my home and I walked there every week, sometimes twice and three times a week to check out books. It was also a place of refuge for me. When life became unrelentingly difficult or challenging, I escaped to the library for solace and peace.
Unlike the modern architecture of libraries today, my library was a high-gabled English Tudor-style building surrounded by trees, grass, and birds. It looked like a place right out of the Secret Garden. In 1935, the Sugar House Library, (Sprague Branch) in Salt Lake City, Utah was selected by the American Library Association as “The Most Beautiful Branch Library in America.”
This happened long before I was born, but that distinction carried with it a sense of pride for our small community.
Why the Library is the Best Place for Kids & Grandkids!
Libraries are places that
- generate lasting memories for your kids and grandkids
- create life-long learners
- foster a love of reading and of books
- places where imagination and creativity come alive.
- one of the best places to visit if you want to raise smart kids who know how to think
Start a tradition by taking your children to the library every week. Get each family member their own library card (teaches individual accountability). And then check out lots and lots of books. Each week we checked out between 50 and 80 children’s books. You can too. And yes, we read them all—several times before returning them.
If you want to read about some fun books for kids, check out these 3 posts:
- “6 Best Children’s Books About Fun Foods & Awesome Adventures,”
- “11 Amazing Ways Children’s Books Teach Lessons With Food,”
- “7 Awesome Ways Fairy Tales Make You Larger Than Life.”
You will find that libraries teach lessons far beyond being a place for checking out books. Other lessons can be learned as well.
Four Lessons Learned at the Library:
#1: Borrowing Books Teaches the Art of Sharing and Responsibility
Where can you go where you are completely surrounded by all kinds of books, magazines, DVDs, journals, publications, and all available to use for free? When you take your child to the library you are teaching her/him the concept of giving and sharing.
Cities and communities purchase these books and make them available to people in the community. When you check out books, you now have a responsibility to take care of them so that others can enjoy them for years to come. And returning books on time shows respect for library rules and appreciation for being able to borrow something this wonderful for free.
These are important values that are taught each time you take your kids or grandkids to the library.
#2: Libraries Create a Sense of Community
Public libraries strengthen communities. They foster a sense of “other people” awareness and camaraderie and do so by offering different programs such as:
- Storytime for toddlers
- Art exhibits
- Family movie night
- Book clubs
- Video game tournaments
- Puppet shows
- Meeting Spaces
- Internet access
In addition to checking out books, you can also check out:
- Museum passes
- Musical instruments
- Fishing poles
- A plot in a garden
The Human Library: Check out a Real Person!
You can even check out a Person! These “human library” programs allow you to talk to a real person. In Denmark and 50 other countries, there are libraries where you can borrow a person instead of a book to listen to their life story for 30 minutes. The goal is to fight against prejudice and not judge “a book by its cover.” It’s called, “The Human Library.”
Today, libraries are so much more than they were fifty years ago. They are places you can mingle and talk; read and write; study and learn; form bonds of friendships, and connect with your community on multiple levels.
#3: Books Teach About Faraway Places
Few families can afford to take their children to faraway places. We couldn’t. But, we could take our children to faraway places inside the covers of books.
We explored countries and cities, monuments and islands. Through library books, we studied what goes on behind the scenes of world-famous places like the Louvre in Paris, the Vatican in Rome, the plains of the Serengeti, and the deserts of Egypt.
It was the library that helped our sons understand just how big this world is and it whets their appetite to someday see these places…which they have.
And it all began at the library.
#4: Creating Life-Long Learners and Book Lovers
It is natural to want to pass down to our children those things we love and are passionate about. One of my passions is reading; another is learning. I wanted my kids to love reading and learning by showing them the way. I wanted to introduce them to the exciting and awe-inspiring world of books by taking them to the library and by building a library of our own at home.
You can too.
Try these 6 suggestions to make the library and reading an awesome experience for your children:
- Read books to your children in utero.
- Take books with you to the hospital when you go to deliver your baby.
- Begin reading to him/her within a few hours after birth.
- At home, create a reading corner where your kids can curl up with a book on big comfy pillows and read to their heart’s delight. Make certain the lighting is good, too! This space can become your family’s own personal family “library.”
- Make a daily “reading ritual” by reading many books to each child each day. Include grandparents–they love to read to their grandkids!
- And make visits to the library a weekly destination and a coveted family tradition.
4 Outcomes when you do these things:
- Your children will be early talkers and early readers.
- They will become strong writers with large vocabularies and voracious readers.
- They will excel in school.
- They will learn to think deeply and become wellsprings of knowledge
Libraries and Out-of-Print Books
Libraries are also wonderful places to find out-of-print books. Here is a list of fabulous books that are either out-of-print or that are classic books to check out from the library.
- Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill (a classic book since 1961)
- A Pig is Moving In by Claudia Fries (out-of-print, but a classic to teach children about unfair judging)
- The Vanities by Terence Lawlor (out-of-print and a classic retake of Cinderella and how to prioritize what’s important)
- Struwwelpeter by Heinrich Hoffmann (around since 1845–cautionary tales for children)
- Mrs. Pig Gets Cross by Mary Rayner (most of her books are out-of-print but children love them–check your local library)
- Willie Was Different by Norman Rockwell (a beautiful story of staying true to who you are)
Our sons are now adults, and the library is one of their favorite places to take their kids. Their love of reading and of the library has now reached another generation of children…my grandchildren.
We talk to our sons and grandchildren weekly.
Our favorite subject…books.
Access the 2-minute video here
Tell me about your experiences of taking your children to the library. How often do you go? Does your library offer a lot of extra activities such as storytime, art exhibits, or a family movie night? What do your children like best about the library? Please comment on the section below.
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