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Now that the summer’s in full swing, families are looking for ways to maximize the downtime they may have during these next few weeks.  One of our favorite places to go is our local public library, not only because it has tons of books–and air conditioning for those hot days, but also because many really cool things happen all throughout the year [especially during summer break].  The public library has so much to offer, so here are a few things you can do alone, with friends, or with your family at the best place to learn a new language, gain perspective on a historical event, or build a new skill.

Join a club.  What to learn how to speak English or a new language?  Need parenting help but don’t know which way to go when the kids get tough?  Is knitting your fancy?  Many public libraries serve as meeting spots for small businesses and civic organizations hosting the clubs.

Give a book a new home.  Or get a deal on some previously loved goods.  Many libraries have Friends of the Library organizations, which is extremely important to helping libraries survive.  You can use the mass sales towards the end to get the big bucks.  When I was building my child’s home library, I was sure to find books and CDs that were in great condition and place them in my shopping bags for checking out!  Bonus points if your place has several sales throughout the year and has a stockpile of books to give to the children if need be.

Take a class or seminar.  Interested in your genealogy?  Are you a senior citizen needing help with taxes?  Or are you looking to take up painting literacy-inspired artwork?  Many libraries have classes offered by staff or by community partners looking to serve the community and expand their brand.  Enrolling in classes for yourself and your little ones help take advantage of the many resources available to you.

Make a memory.  Libraries go beyond just getting books.  At some local libraries, they can have kid-centric classes and workshops, kid-themed classes, and sponsored plays or entertainers.  In addition, they have story times as well as contests where they can meet the author after finishing a scavenger hunt or bookmark design.  Our family’s favorite so far was one where my oldest was in the actual educational math show with the magician.

Pick up a book.  Don’t underestimate the simplicity of this statement.  Stop by the information desk near the front of the library and tell them you’re looking for some great recommendations or a section to get started.  They may point to a new book releases section, recommend some books based on topics of interests, and show you an area where you can read about cooking or playing a musical instrument for example.  Perhaps you can pick up a few books to build that traveling home library.  Who knows?  You might learn something new about your local history or favorite hero from our history.  So often society can seem preoccupied with getting things done that the joy of reading is often lost.  Here’s to picking up an old, dear friend that’s only a few minutes or miles away.


What’s your favorite way of using the library?  Share with us below.

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