Take Your Child to the Library Day
There’s no better time to get your child their first library card.
Young, independent readers have endless access to books. However, these options are not always affordable or accessible to every family. Libraries allow all young readers to explore their love of books and interact with their community. Families can learn more about their local public library and how they can support them on Take Your Child to the Library Day.
What Is Take Your Child to the Library Day?
On the first Saturday in February each year, many libraries across the US annually celebrate Take Your Child to the Library Day. Events include free activities, games, and reading opportunities for young people. While festivities vary by facility, endless amounts of free fun are inevitable. From storytimes to magicians, TYCLD is for the entire family to enjoy.
While TYCLD is an opportunity for children to have fun, it’s also a chance to learn more about the library. For families persevering through difficult life periods, libraries can be especially vital. TYCLD showcases all the free resources local public libraries provide, specifically for young people.
How Did TYCLD Start?
In 2011, Nadine Lipman, a retired librarian of the Waterford Public Library in Connecticut, thought of the idea for TYCLD. A tradition was born with the support of fellow librarian Caitlin Augusta and critically acclaimed children’s writer/illustrator Nancy Elizabeth Wallace. The author’s recognizable paper cutout drawings make up the celebration’s logo.
TYCLD is formally recognized and supported by the Connecticut Library Consortium. Since its launch in 2011, TYCLD events have been held in the US, Canada, and worldwide! Estimates show that around 48.7 million people have utilized its services.
Why Do Young People Need Libraries?
Free Book Access
One of the most essential purposes of libraries is free book access. For young, avid readers and developing young people, this is crucial. Whether your child enjoys reading for fun or needs literary tools for school, they can find them at their local library. Also, librarians are deliberate and proactive about maintaining children’s sections in their facilities. Encouraging young people to utilize these spaces allows them to explore age-appropriate, librarian-approved literature.
While libraries indeed contain books, they are also important community centers. Some people don’t have affordable access to everyday life needs. Resources such as computers, wifi, and printers may not be accessible to people living through financial insecurity. It can be difficult for young people to succeed without these tools, so libraries offer them free. These can also include research databases, free tutoring services, and study spaces. This makes libraries great for all ages!
Guardians looking for fun, age-appropriate, and literature-oriented after-school activities should peruse their local library’s calendar. Some examples include book clubs, storytimes, or even community gardening! Select US libraries have makerspaces allowing children to play with their creativity and pursue hobbies like 3D printing. Older children can take the opportunity to volunteer and network to prepare for post-high school graduation. At the very least, libraries can be a safe and supportive space for after-school socialization with friends.
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Why Should Children Have Their Own Library Cards?
Independence and Agency
Many parents are understandably worried about letting children pick their own reading materials. However, giving your child a personal library card has many more positive outcomes than otherwise. Giving young people the independence to choose what they want to read typically instills a sense of responsibility and agency. Sometimes, a love of learning is enough for a child to understand what they like to read along with what’s outside of their comfort zone. The more they engage with the library independently, the more they want to become lifelong readers!
Enhanced Reading Literacy
Independent reading is proven to improve overall literacy along with many other critical lifelong skills. Some of these include communication, empathy, and vocabulary. Plus, reading skills are capable of being utilized in every major subject. Even if a child isn’t interested in reading, they may enjoy researching a specific topic, such as history. Research has shown that children who are avid readers are also more likely to succeed in various school subjects.
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Access to Library Resources
Children with library cards have complete access to all library resources, which can be extremely important for young people who may not have them at home. Most library cards permit children to use the library computers, research databases, and wifi. Also, libraries don’t just distribute books. Children can use their library cards to check out video games, stream movies, and more! Specific locations allow children to borrow miscellaneous items such as bikes or museum passes.
Encouraging a child to get their own library card enables them to interact with their community. By regularly visiting the library, they learn about the facility, their librarians, and how the borrowing system works. They may also have opportunities to attend age-appropriate community events that allow them to interact with other children who share similar interests. Learning responsibility, politeness, and respect for their community will significantly support them into adulthood.
Take Your Child to the Library Day is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about what the library can offer them and to apply for their own card. EveryLibrary supports TYCLD, along with the success of libraries across the US.
Visit www.everylibrary.org to learn more about our work on behalf of libraries.
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