Books, music, videos, story times, and homework help all FREE! Gotta love the public library. I have always been a huge fan of the library and enjoy going to hang out with the books, but had no idea the plethora of services they offered until I had children. The Central Ohio libraries have story times, host author readings, musicians, movies, crafts, holiday focused story times and songs – so many wonderful educational opportunities for children and caregivers. From babyhood to preschooler age, my children and I have been attending library story times at the Worthingon Public Libraries and the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries. The story times are about 25 minutes in length and are lead by the children’s librarian. She or he tells stories, leads rhymes and songs, plays puppets, and creates an educational good time for the kids. Afterward, my kids play on the computers that are set up to be accessible to children, pick out books, play quietly in the castle room, or color. Fun activities can be found for kids just about any time of the day. And, get this, the library even has concerts and shows movies – just check the libraries’ schedule of events here: Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, Worthington Libraries, Southwest Public Libaries.
Recently, I attended the Summer Reading Club kick-off party at the Columbus Metropolitan Library downtown (main branch). Each summer the Central Ohio libraries offer a summer reading program for children and adults. Anyone can sign up and it lasts eight weeks during the summer months. An activity sheet is provided with boxes to check off for the amount of minutes/hours spent reading, and includes incentives (coupon sheet, raffle to win a bike, and a tote bag) to be awarded along the way. If the activity sheet is completed the tote bag is awarded to be used for carrying library books. I signed each of my children up for a library card and have already filled in seven boxes on their activity sheets.
Thank goodness my daughter and son each got a card because I was tired of them fighting over checking out books. Nothing more delightful than a high-pitched squeal in the middle of a quiet library to give you a jolt…I apologize to those of you my children have startled. My son has been known to have a “stink-eye” stare down with a librarian simply because she was trying to help him scan the book’s barcode. Not a pretty site. Hopefully now, as long as I have his library card key fob on my key chain, we’ll bypass those two-year-old check out temper tantrums.
Columbus Metropolitan Library was named the 2010 Library of the Year by Library Journal, and is consistently rated a top-ranked U.S. library. There are three library systems in Central Ohio: Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, Worthington Libraries, and Southwest Libraries. They all have a number of branches and are generally on a public transit route. Be sure to take advantage of all the library has to offer for yourself and for your kids.
Planning a trip to bookville:
- No child is too young for books. Even a six week old baby can benefit from story time…and so can a mama jonsin’ to get out of the house.
- Bring a bag to put books in. Picture books add up. I have tried to balance books and a baby on my hip – it wasn’t fun.
- Sign your youngster up for a library card. They think it is fun to have one of their own, and can be used for lessons in responsibility.
- Let your child scan the books at checkout. They love to do it.
- Downtown library visit? Bring your parking card in with you. When you leave the library there is a place to exchange it for a token (right by the elevators) to use when leaving the parking garage.
- Check out the libraries’ websites – tons of information, online fun for kids, homework help, a calendar of events, etc., etc.