Libraries are more than just books for the summer. I have been a library advocate for many years. I became a stay-at-home mom when my now 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was about 18 months old. The first activity I sought out was story time at our local library. It was also a chance to check out books for my daughter who loved being read to. It helped us raise readers in Charlotte and our younger daughter, Julia. I frequently walk into a room and see them reading, without being told.
This summer the local libraries are offering various programs from story tellers to jugglers to Polynesian dancers. This is a chance to learn about different cultures and ideas, something that is not on the SOL Test. One of our favorites is Hilby, a juggler from Germany, who will be at Larchmont Library in Norfolk on June 26 at 1 p.m. It is an outdoor performance so bring a lawn chair or blanket. Some libraries are offering a weekly movie for free.
The summer reading program offers kids a chance to earn prizes for what they read each week. We have gotten everything from restaurant coupons for free kids’ meals to T-shirts. Each library system varies on their rewards. My children have become so used to visiting the library during the summer, that when we began our list of things to do this summer, that was one of first activities they mentioned.
They also enjoy seeing their favorite librarian, Cynthia Temple, at the Main Street Library in Newport News. She has known my kids since their diaper days. In fact, she is the first person outside of my family and children’s expert, who said Charlotte was really smart. Turns out she was right. Charlotte has been on the A/B honor roll in the gifted program for the past two years. As a new mom back then, I was happy to have her opinion.
Then there is the traditional reason to go to the library – borrowing books. I really like that we can give our kids (and ourselves) a chance to read various books without the expense and without the need to store them. Borrowing a book from a library has a community feel to it. Keeping your kids reading is a great way to keep them from sliding back with their learning. In fact, it will probably keep them ahead of the curve.
Finally, there is the part that you, as a taxpayer, have already paid for this service. Why not get your money’s worth?