Get thee to the library!

I heart the library so much. Now that we are having serious cutbacks, we go at least once a week, sometimes more.

After the jump, 5 reasons why the library should be your new best friend.

1. Saves tons of money

A morning outing used to be a trip to the zoo or the Children’s museum. Both of those adventures got pricey fast (even when I cut coupons and got deals) because it included eating out and parking, in addition to the overpriced admissions.

I discovered an outing is an outing. When we started going to the library instead, I spent no money and the kids never noticed the difference. And if I coupled the trip to the library  with some goldfish and a run around outside before we left, the kids considered it a great day.

2. Quality kids videos

It’s hard to find quality programming for kids. We don’t have cable for many reasons, one of which is the amount of terrible children’s programming. The library has a great selection of non-commercial dvd’s as well as many pbs children’s series on videos. We have discovered many wonderful shows such as: Miffy and friends, Lots and lots of Trains, Mighty Machines on the Move and other such gems. There is good stuff out there, but you have to dig deep and you have to pay attention to what your kids are watching.

3. Everything is on-line

If you haven’t logged on to your local library’s website, you really should. You can renew books, search the  catalogs and put materials on hold. It’s so nice when I will remember that something is overdue and I can go straight to the computer and renew it immediately. It’s really helped to keep the fines under control.

4. You’ll get to know your neighbors

We are so used to going far from home, we are missing out on the people and places that are  right around us. The families at the library at the same families at your church, YMCA, grocery store and schools. The burbs aren’t that big when you conduct all you business close to home. And you are saving gas and reducing the amount of time you spend in your car. That’s win-win!

5. Everyone in your family will get smarter

It is totally in your best interest for your kids to love to read. It will train them to sit still for longer, a crucial life skill that is disappearing along with our attention spans. It will also benefit them later in life. Kids who love to read start out stronger and do better throughout their schooling. It’s a wonderful habit to instill from an early age.

And don’t forget you can get books, too! It’s embarrassing, but we didn’t check out books for ourselves for the longest time. I’m a blog and magazine reader, Mr Applebum liked to go to bookstores and buy books. I used to get so frustrated with how much he spent on books that he read once. Turns out, what appealed to him about the book stores was how easy it was to find new books.

I think he was intimidated by the library and just didn’t know where to begin to find a book. So one evening, we took turns watching the monkees while the other went to explore the rest of the library. Now that he has had time to snuffle around in the stacks, he knows how to find what he likes. Now, not only is he saving us money, he’s also reading a lot more which is great for his stress management.

It’s been wonderful for me as well.  I have long been a library lover, I can intimately recall all the libraries of the places I grew-up. I love sharing this tradition with my kids, they have grown to love the library as well. And it’s got me reading books again. I’ve recently checked-out Full Frontal Nudity, The Death of the Grown-up and a book about Frieda Kahlo.

Reading on-line is not the same experience as reading a book. Reading books is a wonderful way to relax and unwind, whereas reading on-line leaves you clicking all over the place and with your brain hyper-stimulated when you are finished. I need to do better for my poor nervous system.

What do you heart about your library?!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Amanda
    Jan 25, 2010 @ 19:35:09

    Ahhh, I haven’t been to a REAL library in… so, so long. I study in the Law Library nearly every day, but i have such a collection of unread books I’ve accumulated from friends and cheap bins that I wouldn’t have time to read library ones… plus my fiance just got a Nook as a gift from a relative, and there as SO MANY FREE GOOGLE BOOKS that I can download on it that are actual classics.

    What DO I want from the library? Modern things about food, like Animal Vegetable Miracle or that book about milk, and movies. But JD and I always end up reading, not watching movies.


  2. Margo
    Feb 02, 2010 @ 15:20:42

    I love libraries, I go there to chill out – they are like churches to me.

    My local libraries in this bit of London are run by a pretty forward-thinking Council, and I have found some great community projects through the message board. I also went to a poetry workshop there last year, which was so successful we’re doing it again next year, I met so many people from my area and was awed by the talent on display.


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