Introduce your kids to the library


Libraries have almost become irrelevant since the internet arrived but it’s still a great resource and it does offer a lot more that a Google search could ever do. 

Some of us remember spending hours at the local library researching material for a school project.  Looking up books in the index card file by sorting through hundreds of recipe card size pieces of card stock, searching the aisles for the right twelve digit code and hopefully finding the book where it’s supposed to be on the shelf.   

Once you found the books you wanted, you had to find a table where you can sit and read, read and read some more just to find the information you needed or at least parts of it.  Then when you found what you were looking for, you had to write the information into your report or project. 

If you were lucky, the library had a photocopier so that you could make copies to save yourself some time but you still had to write your assignment out.  It was the original cut and paste.

Looking back however I realize that while I was looking for specific information, I unintentionally discovered a lot more and every once in a while I would get distracted by reading something that was different but really interesting.  This method of research helped us to gather and decipher more information than we needed before we had to translate it into a written form that we hoped would be correct for the assignment.

Many years ago, the library created the original search engine.  It was in the form of an older woman with reading glasses on a chain wearing a button up sweater and sensible shoes.   She was called a librarian and she knew almost everything and if she didn’t, she knew exactly where to find it.  And unlike Google, she would ask you relevant questions, make suggestions and give an opinion…in real time!

Now you can search for the exact information you need online, find it and then cut and paste it into a document without having to even look at a pen and piece of paper but libraries now offer a lot more than just books.

I introduced my kids to the library when they were quite young.   Our local library had programs that featured story time which included sing-a-long songs and a craft afterwards.  When the program was over, we went over to the children’s section and picked out a few picture books to take home for the week.  It was a lot of fun and the kids always looked forward to it. 

Many libraries offer educational and special interest programs for different ages and sometimes bring in guest speakers on a wide range of subjects.

Most libraries have computers with access to the internet for those who don’t have one of their own and some locations have printers as well.  They also have large tables and meeting rooms for students to get together to work on group projects while some even have homework clubs that are a great way for students to get help.  It’s also a great place to go when you need some peace and quiet to read and work on school assignments.

If you’re looking for entertainment, many libraries have movies on DVD and music CDs that you can borrow as well.

The internet is a great resource but it’s never been a question of either, or.  A library can be a great resource for ideas, inspiration and creativity along with knowledge and information.  Introduce your kids to your local library and you’ll be giving them the opportunity to discover and learn more than how to do a Google search.

        
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