In our home, we loved going to the library for new books. The children had their own library cards and book bags. We timed our visits around “story time” and heard stories read aloud, watched puppet shows, sang songs, repeated finger plays, and danced on a large, comfy carpet. After the fun, we gathered books for our book bags, checked them all out, and went home to put them in our library book baskets.
Whether it’s the library or bookstore, young children choose books by what they see. The picture on the cover stimulates a child’s curiosity. (This is why bookstores put books on shelves with the covers facing out.) At the library, little ones can quickly gather stacks of storybooks. All that matters is the pictures on the covers. When parents try to put books back, a family outing becomes a disappointing power struggle.
Here are some ideas to keep your library visits fun:
- Bring a book bag and stick the number card “3” inside the bag. Talk to your little one before you go inside. “We’ll each choose three stories today.” Let your child find the card and match her books to the number.
- Make three bookmarks for three library books for your child to decorate with markers and stickers. Be sure to write your child’s name on each one.
- Keep a folder handy for check out receipts. Help your child remember when her books are due.
“Dollar for dollar, the greatest bargain in America today is still the free public library system – yet less than 10 percent of the American people are regular patrons. …parents (rich and poor) say they’d like to bring their children to the library more often but there just isn’t time.” Jim Trelease, The New Read-Aloud Handbook