Access to books
This goes without saying. But it’s not just going to the library and checking books off the shelves anymore. We have multiple branches here in San Antonio and not all the branches have the same books available. I use our library website A LOT. I can check the online catalog for books I am interested in. I can easily see what branches have them and how many copies are available. But I typically only go to one branch for our weekly trips. On my profile I have set this particular branch as my Home branch. When I find books in the catalog that I need, I place a hold. The library pulls the book(s) and sends them to the holds shelf of my home branch (or whatever branch I request – the home is just the default). It doesn’t matter which branch the books are located at, they get sent to your requested pick up site. I get an email notification that my book is ready for pickup and I have a week to get them before they get reshelved.
There are so many different activities going on during the week at the various branches. There are Baby Storytime, Toddler Storytime, Discovery times, Family Fun Times that include crafts for homeschoolers, Teen Book Clubs, and more. Throughout the year, there are seasonal activities as well: Valentine’s crafts, celebrations for Dr. Seuss’ birthday, Chinese New Year, etc.
Kyri loves the Family Fun Time at our nearby branch – each week has a new craft or activity. Now that I am starting to look for more activities specifically geared toward kids in Ender’s age group, we are going to start participating in the Toddler Time activities.
Reading, crafts, hands-on activities – there are so many activities available during the week and most, if not all, are FREE!
Resources for homeschool groups
The libraries have meeting rooms that are available for a reasonable rate. We have participated in two different co-ops that have used the meeting rooms at the Igo Branch Library. Spacious, clean, with staff that are gracious and eager to assist.
Even if a dedicated meeting room is not needed, libraries are still great places to meet. Some branches are quite close to parks that make meeting for a park day coupled with library time.
Knowledge and Assistance
There are wonderful people working at the library, especially in the children’s section. If you are looking for books on a particular topic, ASK. The folks working in the children’s section are there to help – take advantage of this! The Children’s librarians also work to put together suggested reading titles that focus on different times of the year or themes – such as Spring, Back to School, or Black History month. I love looking at the suggested titles that have been put together by the library staff.
Encouragement for kids
Kyri was so excited when she was old enough last year to have her own card. She likes having the responsibility of her own card (and I certainly appreciate having more books that I can check out and have held…).
Now when it is time to check out books she makes sure to separate books into hers and mine, even though “my” books are all for her. As long as she is enthusiastic about reading, I don’t mind which card is being used to check out!