If you haven’t taken your kids in a while, here are some tips on making your visit to the children’s library successful:
- Talk to your kids ahead of time to remind them that a library is a place to be quiet. There should never be any running around or yelling in the library. With that said, today’s libraries are not the silent places that you may remember as a child; kids’ librarians tend to understand that children talk in voices above a whisper. So, don’t feel as though you need to constantly shush your child; simply make sure that she is speaking in a relatively quiet voice.
- Put some limits on how many books, movies, CDs and other media that he can take out. It’s fun for your child to choose his own reading and viewing material, but remember that you need to keep track of it all and return it within the allotted time period! Fines and fees add up fast if you find it difficult to keep up with dozens of books. When my children were little, I allowed them each to take out three books and one video per visit. Now that they’re older and more responsible, they can take out as many as they want.
- Find out the details about special children’s events at the library. Many libraries offer story times, craft sessions, and even days when kids can meet friendly dogs right at the library! Many of these will have age restrictions, and some libraries don’t allow older or younger siblings to attend. Also, you might need to register in advance for classes that fill up quickly. Call ahead to reduce the risk of your child being disappointed when you can’t get her into an advertised class or activity.
- Don’t hesitate to ask the children’s librarian for help! If you need assistance finding a book on a particular topic, or don’t know whether a book will be too difficult for your child’s reading level, ask the librarian. She is experienced with both children and books, and can help you match your child’s interests and abilities with the books available.
- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. We all have had a toddler or preschooler who decided that an inopportune place would be a great arena for a meltdown! If this happens to you in the library, pack up and go to avoid bothering other patrons, but don’t be too embarrassed to come back. The children’s librarian has seen it before and will see it again, and library skills are both important and enjoyable, so just use it as a learning experience and try again in a few weeks!
Do your children love going to the library? Try to make the effort to visit sometime soon if you haven’t recently!