Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Surviving the Library

On the top of most homeschooler's list of things needed is a library card. I agree. The library saves me money. The library gives us extra books that we enjoy. The library allows us to enjoy books on tape.

As a child, I remember going to the library. Of course, that was back in the days of writing your name on the card in the back of the book and then getting the date that the book was due stamped on the page. You could look at the card and see who else checked out that book and when you are in a small town and an avid reader you might even find your name on that book already.

I know going to the library is good but I needed to be able to survive our visit. I didn't want to spend the next 24 hours recovering from a one hour trip to the library. I needed a plan. Here are a few things that have helped me to survive.

1. Sign up for email notifications. I love this feature. I get an email notifying me that a book I requested is ready for pick-up. I get emails notifying me that my books are due back at the library. It does mean I have to read my emails but I don't have to worry about forgetting when the books are due. When I get the email telling me that my books are due back at the library, I will often print the email and give it to the kids to gather the books.

2. Have a bag or cart or maybe even a wagon to use. We have a library bag and it makes it possible to carry the stack of books that we get check out. It makes it easier so you don't have to do a balancing act on your way out of the library. I have forgotten my bag and it has been a challenge.

My big Costco bag works great as a library bag.

3. Have a designated place at home for library books. Currently in the house where we are living the coffee table in the living room is where the library books go except for the Jonathan Park CD's that are in the car. The library books are often scattered but I try to keep them in that one place. That way they are not getting mixed with our books, pushed under beds or lost in dresser drawers.

Enjoying George and Martha. 

4. Request books.  Requesting books from the library has made our visits easier. My kids walk in and are overwhelmed with all the books, so many books which books will make it to the bag. Actually for Miss K it is easy, go to the section with Angelia Ballerina and find some books. J wanders around and can't find anything. Requesting books guarantees that I know we will get some books. It also allows me to pick books for him. As I mentioned here, I have used the 1000 Great Books list and have also sat down with various homeschool catalogs and requested books.

These are just a few things that have helped me to survive and enjoy our library visits. We don't have a set day for going to the library but I do try to go every other week.

Do you go to the library regularly? What fun books have you discovered there?

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  1. I like your suggestions and already do a few. I love that our library system is online now - I just order everything online and pick it up once a week.

  2. :D We love the list from 1000 great Classical books too. I also use Ambleside lists to find great quality literature. Nearly everyone of the Ambleside Online's booklists books is a family favorite books: http://www.amblesideonline.org/curriculum.shtml They are a CM purists thus they have WONDERFUL books to choose from. One thing we have is a crate in our home luanch area for returning library books. My sweet husband picks up & drops off the books for our homeschool. So I survive by not really going to the library except during the summer when we try to go weekly! ;)

    1. I will add Ambleside's book list to my list of books to find. I need more boks to read to Miss K. Where we used to live my husband drove past the library all the time and he would stop. Now that doesn't happen so I have to go.

  3. Yes, going to the library with little ones can be a challenge. It is with older ones, too, because so many of the books available are not appropriate. We, too, order books, because our little library has a very poor selection.

    The 1000 great books list is fabulous and Ambleside Online even more so. There are so many quality books out there that no one needs to settle for the trash that is generally available.

  4. What a fund topic for a post! I am thankful that my local library lets us have up to 199 books out and we can renew then online up to three times, which gives us 3 months before books have to go back (unless someone puts a hold on one). I love that because we can check out what we want and always get around to finding it before the 3 months us up =)

    We try to go to the library weekly and my kids are generally doing a great job with it. It does drive me crazy the amount of toys and electronics that are there to distract the kids from books. I mean, it's a library! Oh well...

    Annie Kate, I worry about the inappropriate books for when my kids get a few years older too. I'm not sure how to handle that one yet. Hopefully I'll 'figure it out' in the next few years ;)



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