The other day we went to our local library for craft and story time. We found out that the library we went to all this time, was no longer our library. Our city decided it wouldn't support it anymore. I was so upset. I wanted a free place to go with the kids, where we could interact with other people and where they could develop a love for reading.
What seemed to be a loss, was really the beginning of something wonderful. You see our library is a one room library. It doesn't have many books and only a few computers. There really isn't a good area for the kids to sit and read. But it was what we had.
After leaving the library I was bound and determined to find a library where we could go. Certainly, we wouldn't be left out in the cold. I pulled out my trusty phone and called neighboring cities. I was so lucky to have found a neighboring city that allows anyone with a State ID to join.
I didn't really expect much, maybe something along the lines of what we had before. Little did I know we were going to be welcomed into Nirvana!
The library is connected to the cities police department. It is surrounded by a lot of restaurants, shopping and parks. The parking lot was shaded by a lot of trees and it felt like a clean, safe place to be.
You walk up the stairs into a building that is cool and smells fresh. Wonderfully clean bathrooms are right there, for the toddler in the midst of potty training and the 7 year old who holds it until the very last minute.
When you walk further into the building there is the information desk, staffed by some of the nicest people around. They were so helpful and welcoming. It took a matter of two minutes to get my new library card.
Within steps of the information desk is the children's wing. Yes, I said WING. There are about 6 computers set up (first come first serve) for the younger children. They have three touch screen computers and three standard computers. All loaded with educational games and programs. Even my two year old couldn't get the darn thing to shut down and she tried. About 15 feet away there are another 6 computers set up for older kids, wanting to do research and homework assignments.
To the right of the computers is a big area full of play centers. There is a kitchen, blocks, trains, and more. There are comfy chairs surrounding the area for the parents to sit.
There are several sections of books, separated by reading level and types of books. They are all on a children's level so that they do not have to ask for a parents help to pick out a book.
The free fun, doesn't stop there. The library offers summer reading programs, where the kids get prizes for reading either 25 days (for 30 minutes), 25 hours or 25 books. Just for signing up, they got tickets for Legoland and the Aquarium. They offer a ton of free entertainment programs and story times. I didn't hesitate to sign them up. Even babies can sign up! All the parent has to do is read to them. At the end of the program they get a free book and other prizes.
There was an adult reading club too. For every 3 books I read I get a raffle ticket. The raffle tickets go into a pot for the big prize at the end of the summer. But I also get a free paperback and prize package. If I choose to do a book review, I get a drink tumbler.
Needless to say, a really bad day turned into a fantastic day. I have a FREE place to take the kids to play and read. Which is fantastic when you are pinching pennies and don't want to spend every waking moment at the pool.
The moral of the story is to check out your local library. If it isn't a great library, check out neighboring cities to see if you can join their's. We do not have to spend a lot of money to have fun things to do. Get out of the house. Have some fun. Read a good book.