How to Get the Summer You Want

How to Get the Summer You Want

Summer is right around the corner and your local library is gearing up with summertime offerings for kids, grownups and everyone in-between.

Whether you plan to be on the road visiting other library systems or sticking close to your home branch, libraries may be just the thing to keep the kids busy and your mind fed.

Here are 12 of our favorite summertime library offerings….

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1. Reading Programs and Challenges

Summertime and reading challenges just go together. If you and your family have lots of free time, it can be nicely filled with reading, you can keep the kids from sliding backwards in their reading skills, and you can keep them engaged with the offer of prizes, recognition and goals accomplished. Swing into your local branch to see what summertime reading programs or challenges they have scheduled for the summer months.

2. Workshops

Many libraries offer workshops on things like drawing, storytelling, comedy, food preparation, repurposing and improv. They also offer tech workshops on 3D printing, computer aided design (CAD), robotics, woodwork and more. Workshops are a great way to keep the kids happy and busy learning new skills.

3. Book Clubs

One of the somewhat under-appreciated library offerings is book clubs. Reading a book is great, but reading a book and then talking about what you read is even better. Libraries host book clubs for everything from mysteries and the classics to self-help and business. They may also have book clubs for young readers. Take a look at your local offerings to see if there’s a club or two that spark the interest of you and your family members.

4. Arts and Crafts

Who doesn’t love a good arts and crafts session? Maybe there are craft curmudgeons out there, but for the most part, making puppets, zines, clay figures, homemade photo frames, band buttons, crocheted hats, stamps and anything else crafty is pretty fun. See what arts and crafts programming is available at your local branch to fill the summertime with all kinds of crafty goodness.

5. Library Movies

Watching movies at home is okay, but why would you do that if you can watch a movie in your local library along with a few dozen of your neighbors? Pop some popcorn, grab your favorite blanket and settle in for a community showing. Bonus: Some libraries even offer movie sleepovers for young people. I’m not sure about you, but spending the night in a library sounds like just about the coolest thing ever to me.

6. Self Improvement

Libraries offer a lot of fun summertime activities. They also offer really practical, self-improvement classes, including first aid certification, improved literacy by reading to service animals, self-defense and neighborhood emergency planning. Check your local branch to see how your library can support you in becoming your best self.

7. Author Events

For bookworms of all ages, seeing authors in-person and getting a chance to say hello to them can be an unforgettable experience. Authors generally hit the road this time of year to tour bookshops, and some of them make a point of doing events at libraries along the way, as well. Ask your local librarian if they have any not-to-be-missed author readings coming up. Author events can also be a great opportunity to connect with local authors.

8. Local History and Nature

In addition to hosting local authors, libraries also host local history buffs and naturalists to share their wisdom and insights into the area. Listening to an expert talk about the land, buildings, culture and people who came before you can be eye-opening and help you see your surroundings and family history in a new light.

9. Arts and Culture Events

Libraries are hotbeds of arts and culture, including dance, music, poetry and visual art. Cultural programming may ramp up in the summer as the days get longer and the warmer weather allows library programming to spill outdoors. See what your local branch offers, both inside and outside of the library walls.

10. Game Night

Game night around the family table is fun. Game night scaled up to community size is an experience. Library game night may include anything from Pokemon and Dungeons & Dragons, to Trivial Pursuit, chess, dominoes or even a Murder Mystery event. Note: Your library may offer clubs for some of these, including chess and Pokemon, as well as hobbies like Lego building.

11. STEAM Events

Yay, science. And tech. And engineering. And art. And math. For budding young scientists, engineers, artists, techies and mathematicians, STEAM library events are an important way to expose them to various fields, further their understanding and skill set, introduce them to community mentors and inspire them to continue their pursuit of knowledge and fun.

12. Books and Media

Last but not least, libraries have books and magazines and dvds and music and video games and all sorts of other materials to borrow. Keep the family happy and engaged with readables, movies and more.