you are what you read: episode 003

For a full listing of topics I hope to cover on this issue, click here. Last month I wrote about my favorite book. See that post here.

Today, as summer is practically here and many summer reading programs are amping up, I wanted to dedicate this post to the benefits of having a library card!

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{Yes, I wear this mantra proudly on a t-shirt. It gives me street-cred with all of the librarians.}  

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Some might argue that the most valuable thing we carry in our wallet is our library card. I don’t disagree with that sentiment. That one little card can unlock your mind to a world of possibilities.

Nearly every town, city, or municipality in the United States (and worldwide) has a local library. And nearly every library offers membership for free or a nominal fee. Thankfully we are part of a wonderful system of libraries here in Georgia and as residents we have access at no cost.

We visit our local branch at a minimum of once a week, often more. Since they were very young, each of my children has had his or her own library card.

1

Having their own library cards has given each of our children excitement about going to the library, responsibility for returning their own books, and freedom to check out what they want on their own accounts. 2Even before we were officially homeschooling, I believe all of our trips to the library, summer reading programs, and story time were laying a foundation for the value of books and the love for reading (and learning) that is so evident in our home.

As their ages have allowed, I pretty much turn my kids loose to select their own reading material. They now look forward to going to the library as much as I do, if not more. As we go through our week, our kids will say, “Hey Mom, I’m out of reading material, when can we go to the library?” That’s a phrase that’s music to my ears!

3 So what does the public library have to offer you? Membership does have its privileges, but what are those benefits of having a library card?

Libraries:

  • are open all year long and only close for federal holidays so information and books are always available.
  • offer a wide range of new releases, classics, and every genre in-between; if your local branch doesn’t offer a book you’re looking for, most of the time they can get it for you through the ILL (Inter-Library-Loan).
  • have computer labs, printers, free Internet, kid-friendly learning computers
  • offer story time, book clubs, discussion groups and other formats for creating community with other patrons and readers.
  • organize wonderful summer reading programs to encourage kids to read, read, read; many end with celebrations, parties or generous gift bags from community businesses.
  • bring in authors, speakers and offer classes; right now our public library is offering Financial Peace, a genealogy class, a class for navigating and managing care for the elderly, a civics and community class, ESL classes, learning Microsoft Word, learning Facebook, learning email, Investment basics, and others.
  • provide community meeting spaces for the public
  • have more than just books for check out. Our library has a DVD collection that would rival Blockbuster (when it still existed). There are television series DVDs, movies, educational DVDs, language or exercise DVDs…all for free check out.
  • staff their branches with knowledgeable and reliable professionals who can help you access the information you need, make suggestions for reading material, answer just about any question you may have.

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As someone who values information, the access to information I have through my library card is unlimited. I can get any book I want, read any journal or article I want, watch any movie or television show I may want. And if my local branch doesn’t have it, they will track it down.

If you don’t already have a library card or visit your local library very often, I would encourage you to make a trip there soon. It’s not just for homeschoolers or the weird people who go there for the free Internet. The library is for everyone and I promise you will find something there you’ll like.

What do you love most about the library?

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