Memories I want to be ingrained in my memory forever are the moments when we get back from the library in my family. Dozens of books quickly cover our entryway rug, and two small boys are quietly engulfed in the magic of each book. Will they remember this memory? I hope so. I hope the countless photographs I take of them in this small moment of time bring back some memories. To me, this is one of those memories that mean the most to me. My kids, excited about reading, learning, and being entertained by the latest fictional character or learning about the fastest race car.
The library brings so many fond memories for me as a kid, too. From always choosing the same book repeatedly each week to finding new books that brought a different type of joy. After reflecting on my own positive experiences at the library and my own kids, I know that so many people could benefit this summer by spending countless hours reading at your local library branch.
Reason #1: Engaging Events
The Summer Reading Program at the Indianapolis Public Libraries is one of those programs that my kids look forward to participating in each year. Not only does it promote reading and learning, but there are great small prizes to earn as you read your way through the summer. All the small prizes lead up to great vouchers like the Children’s Museum Guild’s Haunted House or Indians baseball games. And bonus- there is a Summer Reading Program for adults! If a summer reading program is a little too much work for your busy summer, check out the other events like story time, special Disney sing-alongs, yoga classes, author visits, and even game nights for your teens.
Reason #2: Instill the Love of Reading
One of my kids’ favorite things about the library is having a choice in what books they read and bring home to read at home. Sometimes they go into the library with a specific topic in mind, and other times, we come out of the branch with a few new favorite authors from the random books they pick off the shelf or in the bins. Allowing your child to choose what they read will lead to a lifetime of love for literature. Not only is reading important for academics but also for social-emotional learning, building language, and pure enjoyment. Search online, and place a hold to get exactly what you want. And don’t forget about Libby, for your ebook needs.
Reason #3: Teaching Responsibilities
Teaching responsibility at a young age is hard, especially because opportunities do not present themselves as often as when kids get closer to adulthood. Teaching your child how to take care of a book is a simple act of kindness and responsibility. If a book gets ripped, have your child walk it up to the librarian and be honest. Taking responsibility for their actions is an important step in life and shows a lot of character when people, especially kids, are brave enough to own up to their mistakes. This has happened before in our household, and guess what? No one yelled at my kid for the mistake they made. It was a learning experience! And don’t forget the obvious responsibility of returning books when they are due. Writing the due date on the calendar and learning to keep books in a special spot are just a few ways your child can practice their responsibility skills.
Reason #4: Free!
Hello, who doesn’t like free? The library literally brings hours of entertainment for my kids. Each location brings its own personality, preferences, and fun. The fun is endless, from story times (Looking at you Mr. Will, at the Michigan Branch) to toys, to the variety of technology options to choosing books to go home. I usually have to pull my kids away, or they would stay there all day. Remember, most programs are free at your local branch. We have experienced some really awesome events like Fruit & Veggie Yoga and animal meet and greets.
So, what are you waiting on? Go get your library card, or a few. Remember, kids can get their own cards.