Back to School Guide: Public Libraries Part Two
In this post we’ll be touching on a few of many events that public libraries hold. Now, you may be thinking “But Monica, I can just Google this and find it myself.” Yes. You can. But you haven’t, have you?
I’ve seen a shift over the years in the ways public libraries have been trying to engage their readers. It isn’t just story time and book clubs anymore. Libraries are trying to keep readers of all ages involved, particularly teens and the 20’s and 30’s age groups. If you take the time to check on your library’s monthly events, I’m sure you’ll find something that peaks your interest. Oh, and 90% of these events are free.
For ages six months to five years most events take place in the morning and weekends. These time periods are geared towards busy families who want to take their little one to something entertaining and possibly educational without breaking the bank.
Story time is a popular event for this age group, but ya’ll, it has come a long way from sitting in a circle and reading a book. There are story times that involve a craft, story times that teach sign language, and even yoga story times.
Interactive activities are also offered for this age group, remember those giant parachutes you used to play with in gym class? Your library may offer a “playtime hour” with an activity like that. Lego building challenges and robot building is another fun option for this age group.
For ages five to 12 most events happen after school and on weekends. There are multiple reading challenges to take part in. Most libraries offer a summer reading list, this keeps kids reading outside of school as well as sharpening new reader’s skills. These often come with prizes from gift cards to iPads.
Many events are hands on for this age group, everything from using the 3D printer to book related crafts. Something that’s a trend right now is after school programming for children. Some libraries are offering homework help, after school video games and card games like Magic: the Gathering, and even book clubs and writing circles.
Events for teens have gained popularity among libraries. Anime and Manga clubs have been popping up in multiple libraries; events range from weekly meet ups, anime crafts (like fox ears), and Cosplay events. Many libraries will hold “teen takeovers” where they remain open after hours, or the teens spend the night in the library. Takeovers include Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings movie marathons, or gaming events where every console imaginable is available.
For teens and children of all age groups, watch for larger events like “street fairs”. This normally includes music, craft stations, and either catered food or food trucks. You may even see your local library with a booth at a city organized event like the fall fair or summer nights in the square. At events like this, you can normally count on your library providing something interactive for kids.
For adults, larger libraries often bring in local and best-selling authors for question and answer sessions. This can be a lecture type event, or I’ve been to meetings where the author takes the time for photos and autographs.
Your local library may offer software classes such as Photoshop 101, teaching the basics in their computer lab. Other libraries offer similar classes with Microsoft Office and Adobe programs. Coloring hour is popular for all age groups, but I’ve also seen an hour set aside just for adults with all supplies included. That’s one way to de-stress. Libraries also offer free Yoga Class. From what I’ve found, many libraries offer a free yoga class by a local instructor anywhere from once a week, to once a month.
I was very impressed by the amount of libraries offering free music lessons for all ages. Some offer classes for learning to read music, or how to play a particular instrument like the piano or guitar. Most classes require you to bring your own instrument, or some libraries have these instruments on site and you can practice on days the class doesn’t meet. Music lessons are costly, and buying an instrument certainly is. Utilizing your library’s music lessons can save you hundreds of dollars, if not more.
There are also events held that are just downright useful: Job fairs and job preparation seminars, passport acceptance, and application assistance (Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, and TANF). I even saw days devoted to signing up for a toll tag, and animal adoption days.
Like I said, these are just a few events. Your library may offer something completely unique compared to others. Many libraries are even teaming up with local wineries and breweries. Attending library events are a great way to support your community, save money, make a few friends, or gain a new hobby.
I hope you’ve found something that peaks your interest with the Back to School Guide. Go do something that will give you the opportunity to say “So I went to the library….”
-Go with the tide-