Now more than ever, libraries have become a center for community learning. No two libraries are the same. Depending on where you live, one could be a center of social equality and justice, while in another community, it could be a center for the homeless and people seeking jobs. Still, the focus of a library remains as a place for information and knowledge. It used to be a place where children were not welcomed, but now it has become a hub for community activity.
Holly Jackson, a former librarian and library director who is now a library consultant, says that year by year, library checkouts are going up, and programs and activities are well-attended. Jackson says all you need to do to visit a library is show up! When you arrive, there will be someone there to help you and your children set up library cards, sign up for programs or activities, and show you where all the materials are that you’re looking for.
“Just go,” says Jackson, “There’s something for everyone. Just go and figure out what it is.”
Jackson recommends visiting the library when there are lots of activities and programs going on, as well as when it is quiet time. She says parents can set an excellent example for their children by using the library themselves as a resource. It builds confidence in children to talk to librarians, use the information desks, and feel comfortable grabbing books off the shelves.
Quiet time is also an important time to take your children to the library. When there is a lot of activity, Jackson says some children can feel overwhelmed. But going during quiet times gives children a chance to explore at their own pace and allows you the opportunity to meet different people.
“So often people say. ‘Oh, I don’t read books or haven’t stepped foot in a library in years because I don’t need to know that anymore.’ Go find out what’s going on,” says Jackson. It could be for help filling out a job application, finding a book for a book report, or listening to a piano recital in a community room. “Go find out what it is and find what is there for you and your family.”
To hear more from Jackson, you can listen to a one-on-one interview on our OnLearning Podcast.