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The Library is Always Here for You

Image by wal_172619 from Pixabay

In our increasingly commercialized world, the public library is one of the few places that is free and open to the public. Being able to check out books allows you to transport yourself to new worlds, to widen your mind through study, and to learn about new viewpoints that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved going to the library. I went to story time growing up, then when I was a teen, I would go on my own. I would spend hours picking out books, and researching on the internet. The library was a safe space for me, and one of the few places my parents allowed me to go by myself.

But, in addition to providing access to books, the library does so much more for us, that most people aren't even aware of. There are classes for babies, toddlers, children and families. These help introduce children to reading, so they can develop a lifelong love of learning.

When you take your child to a weekly story time, typically there will be songs, games, and crafts for them to do in addition to reading a new book. The book will provide the theme for the other activities. This allows children to develop a love of reading, play creatively, and socialize with other children.

You can typically also get important forms for free from the library, such as tax forms and booklets about elections when that time of year comes around.

Here at the library in Colorado, you can also get access to additional services if you are low income. The library is a safe space during the day if you don't have anywhere to go. There is free wifi, and access to computers if you don't have your own.

The service desk also will provide free bus passes if you are struggling with transportation, and referrals to additional services. You can get referrals for meals, housing, a hot shower, a snack, or whatever you may be in need of. Some libraries even provide activity kits that you can take home with you.

Having these services available free of charge, seven days a week, can make a huge difference for people who don't have access to things like this at home. Books and computers open important doors. There are also classes on things like how to use LinkedIn to further your career.

In addition to my own positive experiences with the library, I Love Libraries provides the following ways that libraries provide value:

  • Libraries Provide Access

  • Libraries Build Community

  • Libraries Promote Literacy

  • Libraries Protect Your Rights

Having access to your local public library can help you to learn new information and skills that can further your education or help you succeed in your career or as an entrepreneur. There are library programs available for people of all ages, from babies to seniors. This makes the library a useful resource for everyone.

Signing up for a library card is easy, too! When I got my new library card, it only took a few minutes to get signed up. All I needed was to show my ID, then give my email and phone number. If you don't have an ID, you can still read while in the library and use the computers, you just can't take anything home.

Libraries advocate against book bans

In addition to all the services provided by the library, public libraries also fight against book bans and censorship. Many libraries have advocacy programs to fight book bans, which typically seek to ban books about minority groups. This is important, because it allows representation in literature, so people can find books about people they can relate to in a personal way.

Across the country, there are librarians, authors, parents and students fighting back against book bans. This may come in the form of lawsuits when there is a proposed book ban.

“We believe that our Constitution, our First Amendment, and our Bill of Rights firmly support the idea that no government should be in the role of telling people what to think or read,” says Caldwell-Stone, “and libraries, as community hubs of information, discovery, and sharing, have a responsibility to collect books across a range of ideas and opinions and to let individuals make their own choices about what to read.” 

When we deny access to books for children, we are reducing the amount of viewpoints that they have access to as well. We reduce representation for groups who are already marginalized. And book bans are on the rise, unfortunately, due to hate groups like Moms for Liberty. These groups especially seek to deny books talking about race, gender and LGBTQ+ identities.

Since children in many of these groups are already subject to bullying in schools, being able to find books where they can relate to the characters is a way to promote inclusion and help children feel like they fit in. Allowing children to find representations of themselves in literature helps to level the playing field for those who are marginalized in society.

Summer Reading

With schools out for summer, participating in a summer reading program is a great way for kids to prevent summer learning loss. By reading books at the library and participating in the program with other kids in the community, it can help your child to stay connected and mentally active over the summer.

As a kid, I always loved the summer reading program! We would write down all the titles of the books we read, then get a prize for every 10 or 20 books that we read. Sometimes, it would be a free book, other times we would get a sticker, a pin, or a gift certificate for a free pizza through the Book It! Program.

For a list of additional summer reading programs for your child, you can check out this list from Imagination Soup.

Participating in a summer reading program can help children develop their interests, learn new things, be transported to new worlds, and develop a sense of pride and accomplishment in themselves.

Many libraries provide additional free programs for children during the summer, and you can check your local library's webpage for details.

When your child discovers the library, they are open to new worlds thorough reading. They also can find a safe space in the library where they can spend the day without parents having to worry about what they are getting up to.

Final Thoughts

Connecting with your local library is a great way to enrich your life, or your child's life. One of the greatest things you can have in life is a love of learning, because the more you learn, the more doors will open for you.

Next time you are looking for something to do during the day or feeling bored, come check out the library and all the great stories that are waiting there for you!

You can also get involved with community programs through the library, and help to stop censorship and book banning. With access to books, you have access to a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips. This is a right that the next generation should have access to as much as we did as kids!

For more information about the importance of reading and learning for kids, check out:

Do you go to the library, or take your kids to summer library programs? Let me know some of your favorites in the comments!

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