Teach Your Child About The Library

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Books, are an amazing tool. They can be teacher-sharing information and enriching your mind, time machine- taking you places you may only otherwise dream about, therapist- blocking out the world, and oftentimes friend- being there for you whenever you need them.  One of the greatest gifts we an give our children I believe is the power of the written word- BOOKS. One place they can go and find books on any topic they can possibly imagine, is of course the library.

I remember as a little girl my first visit to the public library to get it a library card, it was blue, with a little silver metal tat that had braille like raised indentations representing my card number.  The library seemed so magical to me. I could bring home anything there that I wanted, return it and bring home more! Do you remember the magic of the library as a child?

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 If you have never taken your child to the public  library consider making a field trip out of it. But there are some things you will want to teach them before hand. 

• Play up all the wonderful aspects of the library first, get them excited about it. Describe all the wonderful books and other items that are there to borrow.  You want them to consider it a special treat to go the library and view the books as treasures so that they are treated as such.

• Let them get their own card, while you still be responsible for fines, and materials having a card of their own fosters a sense of ownership and pride, which will help your child to understand the responsibility of being in “charge” of borrowed items.

• Research childrens programs-most libraries offer story time for babies/toddlers and also older children. Sometimes they have special programs like arts and crafts, one summer our library offered free kite making supplies.

• Before heading to the library sit down and teach your child what the various parts of a book are. Introduce such things as : front cover, back cover, pages, spine, title, author,  and  illustrator.

• Designate a special place for books when you come home from library and when children are done with them.  A basket by the door, or maybe a bag that is just to carry books to and from the library.

• Model proper handling of books and reiterate book rules often,such as; turning pages gently, not folding down corners, keeping books in their proper spot instead of on the floor,  and not writing in books. Positive reinforcement will go a long way. “That is a very nice way to turn the pages, you are very gentle with our books!”

• When you visit the library take a tour with your child, most librarians are happy to introduce a child to the library- stop by the circulation desk, book drop return, and then each category of books; fiction, nonfiction, periodicals, reference, children’s, young adult, audio books, etc.

Besides books libraries have many other resources that can be checked out. Cd’s and Dvd’s- you probably already knew you could get those but did you realize that many libraries allow you to check out other resources such as microscopes, skeletons, maps, sewing machines, musical instruments, toys, telescopes, art, and electronics. This varies of course by area but check into your local library and see what other resources are available, that what they are there for, for your use-whether you are a homeschooling momma, or just want to provide your child with some extra activities and enrichment.

If you need some downtime and are a book lover yourself don’t forget to check with your library and see if they offer adult book clubs, most do.  It’s a great way to meet others and discuss a shared past time. 

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