Teach Your Kids to Love Their Library!
“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”—Neil Gaiman
It’s Library Lovers Month—the perfect time to discover the true value of your public library!
Across Florida’s 67 counties, hundreds of libraries offer a wide range of free and easy-to-access resources. The first thing to know? It’s not just about books anymore!
While reading and literacy remain the core mission, the state’s public libraries have morphed into vital, diverse nerve centers that incorporate everything from cutting-edge technology to the expertise of their local patrons. Libraries help bridge the digital divide with wi-fi access for all, build community by hosting makerspaces and book clubs, and serve as safe havens for students when schools are not in session.
Public libraries are especially helpful for parents looking to enhance their child’s educational journey. Whether you’re parenting small children, tweens in middle school or busy teenagers, a library can support your child at every stage of learning.
Here are four great ways to take advantage of Florida’s public libraries:
- Early Learning: Research shows that what a child learns in the first three years serves a critical foundation for everything that comes later. Libraries can teach your child to love books and reading with statewide programs such as 1000 Books Before Kindergarten, which challenges and empowers kids—and their parents—to read 1,000 books by the time they enter kindergarten. And don’t forget all the weekly in-person and virtual story time events with experienced children’s librarians. So, take a tote bag and let your little one fill it up with books, and watch as their love for reading and libraries starts growing!
- Homework Help: When your child gets stumped by a particular subject, the library can be a lifesaver. Many libraries have online Homework Help databases as well as the statewide Ask a Librarian program that allows student of all ages to text, chat or email with a librarian.
- Summer Reading: When school’s out, libraries offer many fun ways to keep your student mentally active and engaged, and most summer reading challenges kick off around June 1. Working from an official list of age-appropriate books, kids can track their efforts old-school with paper and pen or with online programs, often earning prizes and awards.
- College Prep and Community Service Hours: Preparing and applying to college can be a stressful process, but the public library can ease some of the load. In addition to hosting college readiness workshops—covering how to decide where to apply, making your application shine, and paying for college—libraries are a great place to volunteer to fulfill the Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship community service requirement. As library volunteers, high school students can shelve books, assist with programs, assist patrons with locating items and navigating the internet.
Libraries really are a treasure, and we hope this helps you and your family make the most of them as a free resource right in your backyard!