Don’t Forget the Library
Kids are always looking for something to do, and these days it usually involves the Internet, a video game console, or the television. While these can all have worthwhile applications to some extent, you do want them to get out of the house and explore new things as well. Believe it or not, your local library can still hold their attention, if you approach things the right way.
Most kids avoid the library because they think it’s boring. There are rarely other kids there, they have to be quiet, and they don’t think there’s anything interesting to do. I remember feeling this way myself when I was a child, until I was lucky enough to find a librarian with enough passion for her job to explain everything to me. I had no idea that there was a system for finding the things that I wanted, and I didn’t believe that a place so silent and austere could possibly have any books that would interest me. I also didn’t know that there was more to the library than books, and that different things happened at different times.
Get to know your librarian, because she’ll be the person with all the information, and she can point both you and the kids in the right direction. Most libraries have specific schedules for children’s events, such as live story readings, book fairs, and themed days where kids can dress up as their favorite literary characters. Some even have specific times during weekend mornings when the “rule of silence” is lifted in the children’s section, and kids can feel free to chat or discuss things with each other. This can help make the library experience more enjoyable and relaxed for them. Find out what special things your library does for kids, and post the schedule up where everyone can see it and get interested in it.
There are also other things at the library besides books. Most branches carry magazines, CDs, and even DVDs. You can pick up some really hard-to-find classic films and albums that are difficult to locate elsewhere, and your kids can learn the joy of discovering older gems, instead of just accepting whatever current pop culture puts out. If they don’t like what they get the first time, they can return it and get something else, or if they do like it, they can explore further. This can be a great way for them to be introduced to the development of music and cinema, without making it seem like a boring history lesson.
Library trips are perfect for a rainy day, as an alternative to having the kids in the house all the time. You can’t really expect them to go out and play in the storm, but you don’t really want them fighting over the computer all day, either. There’s nothing quite as nice as settling down on the sofa with a cup of hot chocolate and a fresh book, with the sound of pattering rain on the window. It’s a wonderful way for them to find peace and tranquility within a world that’s usually filled with noise and chaos, and for the younger kids, it’s a good opportunity for you to sit down with them and enjoy some time learning about the joys of reading, even if they’re not quite up to doing the reading themselves yet.
Despite the pull of technology, reading is still interesting, and those of you who are avid readers yourselves will know that no amount of temptation from other sources can make you put down a really good book. If you can get your kids hooked on books from a young age, it won’t seem so strange to them, and a habit of reading will be easy for them to feed, as long as free resources like libraries are around.