We go to the library once a week. My children love the books and activities there. All moms must know these 5 hacks for almost (every) public library:
1. Free Activities
I’m sure you know the library has storytime, but they also have lots of other activities as well. The great thing is that they are free. My children have attended a six week kids cooking class during the summer, arts & crafts classes, as well as STEM class. If you are looking to stretch your budget, definitely look at your local library for their events. Also, since the library has different branches, you can look at each branch for their events. Most of the events do require that you register in advance, so once you decide on a class you should register your children. Check to see if your library has a monthly calendar, then you can schedule your entire month in advance.
2. Used Book Sales
The used book sales at the library are great for finding new books. The books are usually super cheap .25-$1.00, and are in nice, used condition. I also like to donate books that my children have outgrown for the sales. This helps me give back to the library as well. I recently bought a brand new Hooked on Phonics set for $1.00. Luckily my techie husband had a cassette player around so we were able to use the tape as well. These same Hooked on Phonics set are on ebay for $13 each! I also found a brand new children’s dictionary for .25! Don’t skip out on the book sales, you might get a great steal!
3. Curriculum (Try before you buy)
The library is a great place to try out your curriculum for your children. We recently tried out the popular BOB books (see my full post here), and my children weren’t that impressed with it. I saved $15 just by using the library. I also checked out Now I’m Reading, which my twins love! Whenever I do my thematic units, I check books out in the library so I have multiple read-alouds to keep my children interested.
Although we try to limit our children’s screen time, the library is a great source of electronics. Not only can you check out cds, but also DVDS, audiobooks, and even electronic learning games! I love playing educational songs for my children while they are playing, and for free! Again, by checking out a DVD, you can try it before you decide to buy. We recently checked out the Leapfrog video series, and my twins love Tad. I also like the fact that the characters are consistent, and since we have the Leapfrog cellphone toys, they can actually talk to the characters which makes it “real”.
5. Online Reservations
I love the online reservation feature! My children would live at the library if they could, so sometimes we don’t have enough time to enjoy the library. Whenever I want to have a quick trip, we’ll use the online reservation feature. First, go to your public library website and search for your books. After searching you can place a hold on your books, even if they are at different branches. Our library system ships books from different branches and send them to your preferred branch. I enlist my older children ( 6 & 7) to choose what books they would like to reserve. They also have pictures of most covers so they can see if they have already read the book or not. Last, they send me an email once the books are ready. I simply go pick them up and check out. It is usually a ten minute library visit!
Let me know your favorite library hacks in the comments below.