Library Fun for Families with Young Children

Whether you care for a young child as a parent, a guardian, or as a job, every caregiver has had moments where you and your child are stuck at the house and bored. Maybe the weather outside is no good, the little one is tired of all their toys, or you’re simply craving interaction with another adult after being the dutiful parent, grandparent, nanny, or daycare provider all week long. This is where your public library saves the day! Public libraries seek to provide a place for young children and their caregivers to spend time, have fun, and maybe even learn some valuable early learning skills. What does that look like, you ask? Let me tell you about some pretty amazing services.

10 Ways to Instill a Love of Reading in Your Child

Teaching a child to read is one of the most important skills you can give them. Good readers excel at life, and conversely those that can’t read end up in dire circumstances. But being able to read and reading well begin with a love of reading. After all, those things we do well we usually also really enjoy, because we’ve put in the time to get better. Here’s how parents can help their children start down the right path to joy and success in life, as well as a world of adventure and knowledge in reading:

How to Be a Political Librarian

(Wake up.) (Drink coffee. Read the news.) The new OCLC report shows just how far voter support for libraries has eroded. Every time a library goes up for a funding measure, it is a battle. My kid is 9 years old and has never known a school librarian. She probably never will. Remember this “new normal.” This is when the Koch brothers fund robo-calls to defeat a local library referenda and we in Illinois are facing full-on state-level budget collapse that’s affecting my academic library friends at Chicago State. Sometimes it’s hard to bring fresh enthusiasm and optimism to my work every day. Hell, sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed. (Feed the kid. Feed the cat. Go to work.) Things we know (and some questions)

5 Ways Libraries Became Better Because of the Internet

“I bet the internet has brought down library use…” is one of the first things people say to me when I tell them I’m a librarian. In fact, it’s not true. The unvarnished truth is that library use has risen by a lot since the world wide web became commonplace in the early nineties. In my view, the reasons for this are relatively uncomplicated; in the same way that the internet has made some areas of everyday life more efficient, it has also improved the way libraries serve their patrons. Meaning, instead of replacing libraries, it has helped them do what they’ve always done, but better! Here are five ways the libraries and the internet work together:

How Audiobooks Can Make People More Literate

Educators and cognitive scientists recognize that “reading” is a very broad term. In the audiobook community, we already know that “reading” can and does mean critical listening as well as visual understanding of printed text. Pushback still comes from some who believe that“to read” is to decode visually. I like to call them reading “print-bound purists.” As most long-established “eye-readers” know, assumptions about characters, plot direction, and capacity to grasp how facts in chapter one will be required in chapter seven, can and do miss the mark on any first complete reading of a book. How many of these print-bound purists re-read texts — silently, of course, as 20th century pedagogy taught many of us to be a requirement of “skillful” reading?

Learning Starts at Home and the Public Library is the Next Stop

Learning starts at home, whether intentional or not. Children mimic what they see done by the adults around them. A baby learns to make noises when he or she watches a parent speak. She knows how to eat from a spoon by watching the family at the dinner table. He learns how to look at a book when he sees his dad reading.

The Perfect Recipe for Building Community

Library programs connect communities by bringing people together for shared experiences, conversation, and learning. When we include food in our programming, it opens up incredible new possibilities for sharing between generations and patron communities, fostering curiosity and building needed skills in the process.

Where Do the Books Go After the Library?

A few years ago I was chatting with a friendly barista about my day at the library — I had been, what we call in the library trade: “weeding”. Weeding means going through the collection and, to put it bluntly, removing books. Unsurprisingly, she was shocked! “But…Books!” She let out, “You can’t get rid of books.” “I know how it sounds,” I said, “but it’s not all that dramatic. Libraries have always weeded their collections. Otherwise, how would we have space for new books?” She thought about it a little bit. “Okay, but how do you know which to get rid of?”

12 Stimulating Things You Can Do at the Library

I became a librarian because of the people — the library staff who were kind to me as a child, the interesting patrons who I helped as a teen volunteer, and all of the colleagues and friends I’ve made through my library life as an adult. Truly, for me, libraries stand at the intersection of so much of society — those who want to learn, play, meet new friends, and more, go there to achieve these things. Most public libraries have set aside meeting space and time for the very purpose of allowing community members to interact. Library staff foster this by facilitating groups for all sorts of enlightening activities, for example:

Back to School Means Independent Learning Too

Back to school time is here, which means new school supplies, a new routine, and the excitement and challenges of a new school year. Back to school season should also be a return to independent learning, with the help of your local library. Libraries offer an abundance of programs and resources for kids (and adults) who do well learning on their own. Librarians can help guide patrons to resources that best suit their needs and interests, and challenge independent-minded learners. Here are 11 ways libraries encourage and support independent learning during back to school season and beyond.