By Hannah Schenker
As someone who has worked in various libraries over the years, I can assure you that your loud, messy, awesome child is more than welcome at the library. So are the quiet ones, the shy ones, the big ones and the small ones. Modern, progressive libraries are about welcoming everyone – young and old, rich and poor, noisy and quiet – providing equal access to all of their astounding resources. They are no longer a place of silence and shushing (well, they shouldn’t be!), in fact Storytime and other child-related library activities are often rather loud!
Here are six reasons why you should bring your child to your local library:
1. Access to books!
Not everyone has a bookshelf at home, nor the budget to be able to buy new books on the regular, but the library of course does. As Neil Gaiman famously said:
The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.
Even from a very young age, giving your child access to books will set them up for all sorts of learning in terms of language, literacy and communication. Reading children’s books to your child (and bringing them regularly to baby programmes and Storytime) will stimulate their language and literacy skills – they will pick up so quickly on rhythm and rhyme (and they absolutely love it!). But it will also stimulate their own imagination, help to develop listening skills and even develop empathy. What’s not to love?
2. Access to experts
Libraries house amazing magical beings – librarians! Befriend your local children’s librarian and witness the magic that unfolds through their knowledge and passion. For the little ones, join in on their Storytime sessions (or find out what other programs and events they have for babies and children). Don’t know what to read? Ask your librarian. They love nothing more than helping your child to discover the key to unlocking a world of books that they will get lost in.
3. It’s social
Regular visits to the library, especially for weekly or monthly programs like Storytime, will likely mean friendships develop as you meet other parents there, as well as friendships between children. Libraries also tend to be warm and dry in winter – a perfect alternative to another morning stuck at home or heading to the local cafe – and a lot cheaper.
See next page for three more great reasons to take the kids to the library…