Last week T and I hit our local public library for their weekly story hour. This was something I hadn’t done with T since he was about two-years-old. I think I stopped going because the one we’d found before was aged slightly older than he was at the time (read: he was not able to sit for more than 30 seconds without running around or yelling about something versus the other kids in the room, so I opted to not return again). However this one that we found at a friend’s suggestion is definitely for all-ages, from babies all the way through preschool. Ahh, so much better.
This story time was great for other reasons, too. First, the hour is held at a time the library isn’t even open to the general public, which means we have the story room AND the library all to ourselves. It’s so nice to be able to go into the library and have some private time with the kids to work on having them use hushed tones without outside judgment. Second, the librarian breaks down the hour into a variety of activities not limited to just reading; there’s reading, of course, but there’s also music, toys, and arts and crafts. I can’t tell you how happy it made me to see this nice mix of play for the kids, as obviously not all kids are able to sit still for an hour at a time to listen to books, not even my own (and as I’ve mentioned before, T loves books). Having this variety available also introduces the library in a fun and playful way for all kids, not just the quiet ones. It also makes a perfect play date opportunity for those looking for something free to do locally.
Finally, our outing provided the perfect opportunity to get T his first library card! T was so excited to see all the books, DVDs, and CDs available for his use, so I seized the moment and sat him down to explain to him that the library was a place where everyone “shares” all these wonderful things. I further explained that if we got him a library card not only could he share these items at the library with others but he also could take a few things home at a time, use them, and return them. I told him this was a special kind of sharing called “borrowing” and that it’s not like buying something because we have a date that we need to return it so others can take a turn in borrowing it, too. I plan to put these due dates on his calendar and we’ll front-load beyond belief when the dates come up so there’s plenty of warning that our borrowing time is coming to an end.
Of course I left the best part until last: I told him when we return items on-time the library will allow us to borrow more books, movies, or music disks. I tried to emphasize that borrowing is even better than buying stuff because we can check out (literally) more items than we’re ever able to purchase – and just a reminder, it’s all FREE!