Parents are constantly searching for the next best thing for their children. Many would fight tooth and nail to have access to a free facility open almost every day of the year that offers free enrichment programs and resources for all age groups. They would advocate to be allowed to take home the resource material and be able to use the on-site, cutting-edge technology. They would line up to enroll their children in the homework help programs, craft programs and music and story appreciation sessions. Yes, support groups would spring up to sponsor and clamor for such sought after resource centers. Well, parents, you already have this next best thing…it is your local, public library.
How Public Libraries Have Changed with the Times
If you have not passed through the doors of your local library lately do so now. You will be truly amazed at how most libraries have changed. They are delivering quality library service in new ways and services you never dreamed possible. Most library branches have kept up with the times and have gone high tech appealing to today’s generation. Library boards have sifted through society’s challenges and come up with services and support to address the problems.
Libraries Are for Babies and Toddlers
Library cards are almost as prevalent as credit cards and are often the first card an individual receives. Since 2002, new moms in Nova Scotia are given local library information at the birth or adoption of each child. Read to Me! is a nonprofit early literacy organization that gives a free bag of books and literacy resources to every baby born or adopted in Nova Scotia. The bag is distributed at 11 hospitals in the province, at the hospital bedside within 24 hours of birth. Read to Me book bags reach all 9,000 babies born in the province each year. The goal behind Read to Me! is: ” That by starting early with talking, cuddling, singing and reading to a baby, parents can help build a strong foundation of language, and along with it a positive association with books and reading.”
The Read to Me web site offers to those who sign-up free Reading E-tips service. Parents will receive 5 emails from Read to Me over your baby’s first year.
The importance of early exposure to books has been a number one priority in most Mommy and Me groups. The availability of cloth books or heavy paper books for the very young child has encouraged moms to provide picture books to their infants. You will find these washable, sturdy books in your public library usually in low bins on the floor perfect for toddlers to help choose his/her next three weeks’ reading material!
Most libraries have early childhood enrichment programs like these in Ontario:
- Baby Boogie For infants up to 18 months, our “Baby Boogie” lap sit program is full of stimulating activities for your baby.
- Tappin’ Toddlers this program introduces your child to a variety of hands-on learning activities: number games, basic crafts, sorting by color and size, matching colors or items, and more.
Libraries Are for Tweens and Teens
Most libraries have a whole section catering to tweens and teens by displaying the latest book series to hit the book stores. Often events to coincide with the publishing of a new book in popular series are organized with costumes, readings and discussions.
Throughout the year, with each holiday, sessions are offered covering the culture, history, cooking, decorations, etc. of the event.
Also remind your children of the shelves with nonfiction choices: atlas, books about collections, crafts, cooking, animals, hobbies, machines, sports, music, games, etc. The video sections also have topics about science, experiments, other cultures and countries, authors, choice of careers, etc. These books and videos are usually expensive but are absolutely free at the library!
One library has a great web site and with your library card you can have Homework Help, live every day from 2-9 p.m. right from your home computer!
Libraries have craft times and other youth activities and courses throughout the year. The Oshawa Public Libraries rocked the shelves one Saturday. Music was heard all throughout the library at this exciting event, which many came out to see. “People are always so surprised to hear that a library is hosting a musical event”, said Tiffany Pahman, Teen Services Librarian. “It’s a fun event that is different and free to enter. Great for the whole family!”
Libraries Are for Adults
Did you know that many individuals go to library to find jobs, create new careers and help grow their small businesses? They can get the tools and information needed to re-enter the workforce. They can take computer courses, learn how to write a job application or job résumé, type it out, print it or email it to job sites. They can take financial literacy classes offered in more than one language. They can find interactive practice tests and full-text, and test preparation ebooks.
Some libraries have an Auto Repair Reference Center with Auto manuals, schematics, and recall information.
Too busy to make it in person to the library? Some have Library2Go: Downloadable audiobooks, videos, and ebooks. Some branches will mail you free of charge the book you reserve online or by phone.
Books, DVDs, programs, computer classes, eBooks, Audiobooks, eAudiobooks, wireless and on and on and on! We can borrow books, journals, magazines, music and movies. Every day the 16,600 U.S. public libraries deliver millions of dollars in resources and support that meet the critical needs of their communities. U.S. public libraries circulate as many materials as FedEx ships packages around the world!
Make the public library your place for Information, Imagination, and Inspiration! And if you want to open doors for your child, open the library doors!