There’s more to libraries than books
My baby is old enough to get bored. I know this because he grizzles when I read him the same story three times in one day. Or maybe that’s me.
So I asked my friend Google if there were any kid-friendly activities in my neighbourhood that would keep him entertained and give me a little piece of my sanity back. It turns out that my local library was the place to be.
Jack and I rocked up to Wriggle and Rhyme on Tuesday morning for a fun hour of wriggling and rhyming. We sang, danced, bopped noses, and did spirit fingers. We said ‘‘hello’’ to other babies and commented on their cuteness to their mums. We smiled at screaming babies and pretended it wasn’t happening so those mamas didn’t feel embarrassed that their child was having a tantrum in the middle of a place that’s meant to be quieter than a mouse. And the best bit? It was totally free.
I had no idea the library put this sort of thing on. There were about 40 other big people with little people there (and this was the second session of the day), so obviously plenty of others did. That got me thinking. What else does my local library do that I wouldn’t have even thought of? It turns out … quite a lot.
Most libraries offer free access to computers and the internet, which is awesome for people who don’t have access at home. Some offer computer classes for people who aren’t very technologically savvy. There’s also support out there for anyone looking to upskill, including CV writing and Microsoft Office training, and most libraries let you use their printing and photocopying services for a small charge.
Aside from basic infant education like Wriggle and Rhyme, some libraries offer other kid-related services like afterschool clubs, school holiday programmes and homework centres. Many communities also have a toy library which is a great service for families who can’t afford their own or want to cut down on clutter.
The housebound members of our communities aren’t forgotten about either. Some libraries offer mobile services for people who can’t leave their homes and don’t have anyone who can take them out. A librarian establishes your reading preferences and a good reading schedule, then delivers suitable books and magazines straight to your door and returns the ones you’ve read.
Some libraries are even tackling the age of technology head-on and holding workshops where people can make things like robots, mobile apps, digital music and learn about 3D printing.
The moral of the story is: the humble library isn’t just about the book anymore. In fact, it could be the heart of your community without you even knowing it. It’s free to join and 99.99 per cent free to use, and every member of your family is catered for. Not sure what your library offers? Ask your neighbours on Neighbourly or just turn up. They’d like that.
There are lots of events for youngsters at your local library.