Li­braries Of­fer Boun­ti­ful Ben­e­fits for Kids

Do your chil­dren a fa­vor and check out a lo­cal branch

Times of the Islands - - Contents - san­lib.org lee­gov.com/li­brary/branches/cv BY MANDY CARTER

I’m a huge ad­vo­cate of pub­lic li­braries, which is why my chil­dren have had li­brary cards since be­fore they could even com­pre­hend what I read to them. Ev­ery li­brary sys­tem is a great re­source for endless read­ing op­tions for chil­dren. By bor­row­ing in­stead of buy­ing, you’ll have ex­tra space in­stead of stor­ing lots of books and movies—and think of all the money you’ll save!

Li­braries, whether in a small town or a ma­jor city, give you a heap of ben­e­fits that go far be­yond a mas­sive se­lec­tion of books. Here in Lee County, lo­cal li­braries of­fer many fun and ed­u­ca­tional events for chil­dren. Best of all, the added ex­tras are usu­ally free be­cause li­braries want ev­ery­body to have ac­cess to a va­ri­ety of learning op­por­tu­ni­ties.

FREE EDUCATION AND EN­TER­TAIN­MENT FOR ALL

From fam­ily dance par­ties to af­ter-school STEM (science, tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing and math) clubs to ge­neal­ogy classes to Lego-build­ing ses­sions, your li­brary is a trove of ac­tiv­i­ties. Did you know that there is a large video se­lec­tion of chil­dren’s movies and TV series that you can check out? Plus, In­ter­net use is free on the com­put­ers at Sanibel Pub­lic Li­brary and Cap­tiva Me­mo­rial Li­brary.

AN IN­TRO­DUC­TION TO THE ARTS—AND THE CRE­ATIVES

Li­braries are sup­port­ers of cul­ture that ex­tends be­yond what is shared in books. Art ex­hibits show­case paint­ings, pot­tery, sculp­ture and ar­chi­tec­ture. Au­thors sign books and give read­ings. And since many of the artists and chil­dren are from the lo­cal area, young­sters have the op­por­tu­nity to gain a deeper ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the cul­ture in their own com­mu­ni­ties.

FOS­TERS LIT­ER­ACY AND IM­PROVES ACA­DEMICS

Li­braries help en­hance school per­for­mance through ap­proaches such as story times, sum­mer read­ing pro­grams, home­work help, read­ing con­tests and writ­ing work­shops. Dig­i­tal learning pro­grams—which typ­i­cally would have a monthly cost at home—tar­geted for spe­cific age groups are avail­able at com­puter sta­tions, al­low­ing even the youngest learn­ers to adapt to the skills of on­line learning.

LONG-TERM BEN­E­FITS

Tak­ing chil­dren to the li­brary is fun, but that’s just a short-term ben­e­fit. By tak­ing ad­van­tage of our lo­cal li­braries and their many facets, we’re show­ing chil­dren that information, the arts, com­mu­nity, con­tin­u­ing education and di­ver­sity all mat­ter. When you think about it, there’s no bet­ter start­ing point to teach chil­dren about our wide world than a place lo­cated so con­ve­niently close to home.

Mandy Carter is a lo­cal mom with a pas­sion for fam­ily travel, a pop­u­lar travel blog­ger in­clud­ing her own fam­ily blog at acup­ful.com, and the man­ag­ing edi­tor for TOTI Me­dia.

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