There are so many good reasons to should use and support your libraries. They are amazing! But I was talking to a friend the other day about a documentary, and I mentioned that I had borrowed it from the library. She was surprised – “they have new movies at the library?” It made me realize that not everyone treats their local library as an extension of their home like we do in our household. Especially since striving for zero waste and more minimalist, the library is really one of our favorite resources.
This post is absolutely written from the perspective of someone who has access to great libraries. It’s one of my favorite things about my community – it really invests in libraries. Sadly, not all are created equally, but you should still not neglect even the shabbiest. Support it! Visit and use it, vote YES on measures to improve it, donate to it, and advocate for it! They are super important to communities. And if you don’t use them, you could be seriously missing out.
Here’s my list of our favorite things to do at our local library:
- Books-books-books. We always check out oodles of books. I read to Hannah every night at bedtime, and often during the daytime, too. I can only handle reading the same books so many times before I lose my mind – so I love having a new stack every week to rotate through. And I generally grab a few, too. I at least glance through every homesteading/gardening/food preservation book I can get my hands on, and I am always reading one or two novels at a given time. I add my name to the wait list for popular books, and eventually will be notified when I’m up in the queue- I love this service. (This and this are the books I’m currently reading).
- Research. Not just for students. When I want to learn how to do something, I hit up YouTube and the library. Since I switch interests weekly, it only makes sense to “get my learn on” with free resources.
- Audio books/ebooks. I borrow audio books for car trips, and can borrow ebooks for my Kindle from the library website without leaving the house. It’s the BEST.
- Music and movies. Our library has a great selection of both. I love picking up a few CDs to listen to in my car for the week (lately I’ve been picking up 90s rap) and a movie or two. Sometimes we never get around to watching the movies, but at least there’s no guilt over a wasted rental fee.
- Toys. Our library has toys you can borrow! They are pretty much limited to educational toys for babies and toddlers, so eventually they won’t be of any use, but for now they are great. Borrowing and returning is clutter-free, and a great way to gauge what your child finds interest in and what they don’t, without buying something.
- Kid play/Socialization. Our library has a great kids section with fun, good quality toys (wooden dollhouse, legos, magnatiles..). We always sit and play for a bit when we visit. It’s good for socialization/sharing teaching for our only child. They also host a “Discovery Time,” a teacher-led activity time with songs, books, and active play with the group. We have been quite a few times and it’s really fun. A great wintertime activity (or those hot hot summer days).
- Pre-preschool curriculum. I’ve just started to use the library to assemble very informal “curriculum” on a various subject or theme. One week I’ll seek out materials on a specific topic (both fiction and nonfiction). We will look at those books together and discuss them. (I’ll also try to come up with or seek out ideas online for activities that reinforce the topic). I will be doing more of this now that Hannah’s closer to 3. (I also discovered my library has books of curriculum in their resources, so I won’t even have to do all the work myself to put this together!)
- Meet ups. My mom’s group meets up for play dates at the library really frequently (after Discovery Time). It’s the perfect venue because it’s free, the kids love it, and we can return/pick up books while we are there.
- Quiet work space. I work from home, and when I can sneak away for a few hours on the weekend to work from the coffee shop or library to get some done, it feels like a great luxury. My library has a café, so that is my spot of choice. (I also take the opportunity to leisurely browse the non-kid stacks while I’m there and end up with a pile of books for myself).
- Teaching responsibility. One thing I love about the library is that it provides a great opportunity to teach your little ones how to take care of things. I teach Hannah to treat the library items carefully so other kids can enjoy them later, and she’s always been so good about this (of course, when she was a baby we only brought home the sturdy board books).
- Yearly book sales. Admittedly, I haven’t really taken advantage of this. We went to one recently, and while the selection/prices were great, I didn’t prepare for the time it would take to dig through boxes and wait in the checkout line! With a toddler in tow, it wasn’t reasonable. Next time I’ll plan accordingly and go by myself – it seemed like a real goldmine for used books!
How about you – are you a library lover? What are your favorite things about your libraries?