My Best 8 Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Local Library

Libraries are among my very favorite places on Earth to visit.  I may or may not have been known to visit more than 1 location in a day 🙂  I have 8 helpful tips on how to get the most out of your local library experience but first I’d like to highlight some of the many benefits that libraries have to offer.

Obviously the draw to libraries is the vast amount of literature offered.  You can name any topic in the world and the library will have a book (or be able to get a book) about it.  However, libraries offer so much more than just books!

Storytimes

Before I had kids, I dreamed of the day when I would be able to take them to storytime at the library (#booknerd). I’ll never forget when the day finally arrived.  The storytime we attended was specifically for preschool aged kids…and my daughter was 6 weeks old, lol.  Who was the overly excited new mom?!?  I remember walking in with my daughter and couldn’t wait for her to participate in the activities.  Again…she was 6 WEEKS old!  The lady leading storytime was so kind and told me that my daughter and I were more than welcome to be there.  As a new mom who was just excited to be out of the house with my brand new daughter, I was more than excited to stay. So basically I sang songs, listened to stories, and learned new rhymes along with all of the other preschoolers, lol.  My daughter slept through the entire storytime until she made the most gigantic poop in all the land…and of course her newbie mother forgot to bring extra diapers.  Of course!  I was so embarrassed and quickly wrapped her up in a blanket and fled the library without even saying good-bye to all of my brand new preschool friends and their mothers, lol.  Fast forward 7.5 years, another child later…and my kids both love storytime at the library.  AND they are totally age appropriate now which also really helps, lol.

DVDs

Checking out DVDs from the library is always such a treat for my kids! Holiday movies, classic movies, even entire seasons of past television shows (I’m looking at you, Full House and The Cosby Show).  There is such a wide selection of DVDs that the library has to offer.  I love taking advantage of this, especially for my kids.

Quiet Reading Rooms

Both of our local libraries have “Quiet Reading Rooms” where there are fireplaces, comfortable chairs, and…SILENCE.  It’s as dreamy as it sounds and I have spent HOURS in those rooms.  They are glorious.  The first time I discovered this room at one of the libraries, I asked to speak to the director just so I could thank her for the vacation I felt like I was just on in that peaceful room. 🙂

Sick Child?  No Problem!

One of our local libraries has the most amazing service.  You call them, tell them about your sick child’s interests, and within 2 hours they will put together a selection of books and movies that you can pick up at the drive thru to keep your little one entertained!  How awesome is that?!?

Side Note ***for the love of GOD do NOT bring your sick child into the library***

Programs/Events

My children have attended some amazing programs/events at our libraries.  Traveling zoos, jugglers, movie viewing parties, musical performers, and so much more!  One of our local libraries currently has a traveling dinosaur exhibit and I can’t wait to take my son!  Libraries offer amazing opportunities for adults as well!  Book clubs, classes, etc.

Libraries are truly wonderful places full of amazing resources and opportunities.  Some of my very favorite memories of my children were made within the walls of the library 🙂

Play Areas

Don’t even get me started.  UGH.  You can read this post to hear all about my feelings on this one.  Spoiler: I hate them.

Book Coffee Happy Pro Tips:

  1. If there is a book that you want to check out but your library doesn’t have it and can’t get it from another library, they might be able to order it…and you will be the very first person to read that new copy!  I have done this a few times. I loved that I was able to add some wonderful books to our library for others to enjoy…and I loved being the very first person to check them out!
  2. Place a hold on multiple books that you want to read at one time.  They won’t all be ready for pickup at the same time so you will have plenty to keep you busy while you are waiting or the others.  When you’re done reading one, anther will be ready for you!
  3. If you get the call that your book is ready for pickup but you know that you won’t be able to start reading right away, wait a few days before you pick it up.  Your checkout date begins from the day the book is actually checked out, not the day it’s ready for pickup. At our library, holds expire after 7 days so I plan on when I pick up accordingly, especially if it’s a popular book that I know I won’t be able to renew if I don’t finish reading in the allotted time frame.  **Be mindful of others waiting for these books and don’t do this often**
  4. Older books have a much higher chance of being available than new releases.  Always keep a list of older books that you would like to read in case none of the new releases are currently available.
  5. If you know there is a book coming out that you want to read, you can place a hold on it months ahead of time!  Get your name higher on that list before the book is even released!
  6. Many libraries have remote locations where items can be returned.  In my community,  there is a location at our grocery store and also at the community building where my kids take classes.  Easy!  Be sure to check and see where your library has remote locations.  I rarely return books to the actual library…but I’m always at these remote locations.
  7. You can return your library books to other local libraries, it doesn’t have to be to the library from where you took out the book.  Just be sure to allow travel time for the book to make it back to your library so you won’t incur late fees.  When you return your item to a different location, there is no way for that location to track when it was returned.  Only when it is actually returned to it’s home library and checked back in can that date be tracked.  Sometimes it’s just easier to return items other places depending on where I am on that day.  **Again, be mindful when doing this!  I would imagine that libraries don’t love when people do this often**
  8. Busier libraries will have a less likely chance of newer books being on the shelves (although these libraries DO tend to own more copies of these titles).  When there is a particular book I’m looking for, I know exactly which of our local libraries will have a better chance of having it on the shelf and which libraries I shouldn’t even bother trying.

Do you visit your local library?  What are some things that it offers?  Any tips you have for helping others to get the most out of their library experience?

Xo,

Jenny

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6 thoughts on “My Best 8 Tips on How to Get the Most Out of Your Local Library

  1. The library has a drive-thru? Wow!
    I mostly get books for the kids and use Overdrive for audio books, which is connected to my county’s library system. I got The Starless Sea (print) the other day. The wait list went fast!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So, about play places. On the one hand, you make a good point that “who would want to read when there is a play area”. BUT. Part of the library’s mission is to provide a safe place for kids and families, especially those who might not be able to afford to go to Chick-fil-A, or who might not have a park in their neighborhood. (Or the park might not be safe…) While to me these play places make more sense for city libraries (ours will never have one because there are literally two parks right across the street), I understand why libraries are moving towards them. I know that in the summer when it’s 100 degrees outside I often wish there was somewhere I could take my kids to run around without spending an arm and a leg at the trampoline park or having to feed them fast food for lunch. Right now libraries are just in a weird place where they’re trying to be all things to all people. I think this fad is probably here to stay, though.

    Great suggestions, BTW! I would also recommend ILL for getting the most out of your library, which you mentioned briefly. ILL is my lifesaver, but a lot of new library users don’t know about it.

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  3. Great post! I LOVE the library! My community has this super amazing library system spread over a few counties–so there is a branch in the town where I live, and the neighboring town FOUR BLOCKS from where I work! It’s amazing. And our library system allows you to return books to ANY branch–and it will still count as meeting your due date. I can’t say enough good things about the library! Both branches near me have reading spaces, but nothing like that dreamy reading room you described! That sounds WONDERFUL!

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  4. It honestly makes me so happy to read how much you enjoy your local libraries! I pretty much stalk my library’s events calendar and then I just found out that you can go to other libraries events too??? I feel like a whole new world has opened to me. Side note: I really could relate to that part where you said you felt like there had been a vacation spot in your library. My library just had “restorative yoga” that was meditation combined with yoga in one of the meeting rooms where the lights were dimmed and there was a diffuser and everything. I felt so stressed going in and that stress was completely gone after. I loved it!

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