For some families, the library is a part of their weekly routine. For others, they are not sure where to begin. In our family, we are very lucky to have an active local library that is part of an even larger network. April is “Earth Month” and supporting your local library is a great way to be green. Today I wanted to share some ways to utilize your library, beyond borrowing books.
I realize that not all libraries will have the same resources, but in many cases libraries are connected to other towns in order to broaden the assortment. Our library is part of the Minuteman Library network, which means if my local library doesn’t have something I want, I can request it from somewhere else. No shipping charges either which makes it a better deal than ordering a book from Amazon. The fun part of being part of a network is being able to get new releases faster when another local library invests in them first.
Here is my list of items that we often check out from the library, plus some helpful tips.
The obvious choice at a library are books. It really is an endless supply of learning ahead of you when you think about all the different types of books available. But how to sort through it all? I keep a note in my iPhone of any book suggestion made by a friend, or a book I read about in a magazine. Then I go online and request the book from my library. I don’t have to spend time searching for a book, plus it can be sent over from another library if it’s available. When the book is ready, I get an email and then pick it up at the front desk.
Over the past four years, we have some bedtime favorites that are always hard to return to the library. I started a little list and sometimes I will request them from the library as well. When I’m crunched for time, all my favorite story books are all pulled together in a pile at the check out desk. I can spend time at the library doing other things with the kids instead of hunting down books.
My friend Christy gave me this tip a few years ago. I had never checked out a cookbook from the library but it’s so perfect. I request new releases and see if it’s something I want to add to my own cookbook library, or give as a gift. I currently have The Picky Palate on loan from the library this month. Christy’s rule is, “If you try to renew it three times, then it probably is worth buying a copy for yourself.”
Want to hear the newest Coldplay CD? Not ready to download it from iTunes? Request it from the library. This is also great to do for kid-friendly music CD’s that you really don’t want to invest in. Pick up a few for your next road trip.
Books on CD’s were my saving grace when I was driving 45 minutes to work everyday. I listened to The Hunger Games on CD and it was just amazing. I remember sitting in a parking lot, not wanting to go inside so I could listen a little longer to the story. Again, it’s a good idea to request what you need as they are often in high demand.
We usually just get the children’s DVD’s as a treat for the kids. My advice is to always get more than one since they are often “well-loved,” or scratched.
We are at the saturation point with toys so I was excited when I learned about checking out puppets for the kids. Some comes with CD’s to listen to, others are purely for imagination.
I borrowed this from our library and was able to see how much energy my electronic draw in a 24 hour period. It was an interesting experiment and I would never have bought a meter to check it out on my own.
Most libraries now offer electronic downloads to your Kindle or Nook to read.
We are so lucky to have a library that offers not just story hour, but drop-in craft sessions, Lego building, musical performances and puppet shows. If you are a SAHM, the library is your friend. These activities are nearly always free and it’s a great way to reach out and meet other moms in your area and stay social. I personally love the craft sessions so the kids can get a little messy and it’s not all over my own floors.
Call ahead and see if you can reserve passes to your local museums, aquariums, zoos and more.
Some are historical, some are about new technology. There could be a lecture for you.
Your turn~ what’s the most unusual thing you have found at your local library?
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About Emily Roach
Emily Roach is a culinary nutrition expert and works with clients to create a healthy lifestyle design. She loves teaching her kids how to cook, playing tennis and inspiring women to take control of their health. Emily does one-on-one consulting, cooking workshops and speaking engagements.