How Our Library System Helped Prevent Summer Brain Drain
|My library-lovin' kids.|
We live in Charlotte, N.C., home to the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library System, which has 20 (yes, you read that right) branches within our metro area. We regularly visit three near our house. Once my kids discovered how to use the library website, I was in trouble. They can now look up books, CDs and DVDs they are interested in checking out and see exactly where they are in the library system. They also learned how to request items (this is where I got into "trouble," as I was constantly having to drive them to pick up the requested items). For fun one day I showed my son how to look up the branches using Google Maps. This helped him see how far our house was from each branch. One day we were leaving an indoor trampoline park across town when he suddenly asked me “Are we near the University City Library?” It turned out, we were two minutes away, so we made an extra stop on the way home and they got to visit a library they had never been to. We left with books and DVDs for all of us. They even asked me to snap their picture in front of the door for fun.
We always made sure to stop at the book sale section of each library, and came away with armfuls of gently used books and DVDs practically free. Because we were all participating in the summer reading program, we also collected our earned prizes during these visits. At one point, my son wanted to visit each library on the list before summer was over, but timing didn’t work out. Some of the libraries are a good 45 minutes away from our suburb. I did try to combine a few new branch visits with other activities we had going on. For example, one day I took them to lunch at one of my favorite pasta restaurants, we visited another library we had never been to, and then hit a popular park on the way home. It was a great day. I hope that next summer we’ll be able to visit all the libraries on the list, and I’m starting to think there’s a children’s book idea somewhere in all this.
Do you visit your local library regularly? When did you first discover your love of libraries?