As my mini van window sticker states, I love the public library! I have so many fond memories from my childhood in the `90s spending time at the library with my mother. And while in-person visits perusing the shelves and attending storytime are core childhood activities, I have found as a working mom of four that I haven’t had as much time to visit the library as I anticipated. However, I have found a few other ways I have to utilize the public libraries as a resource, even when I don’t have time for in person visits.
1. The first time I took my girls to the library to pick out books was when they were four, and I immediately regretted it. Within minutes, a dozen books were scattered on the floor and they were begging me to check out obscure titles that were questionable. Meanwhile, I was trying to find a few books that I had in mind, but had to keep Googling the authors and bounce back and forth through the shelves to find them. This was stressful and not at all like I remembered as a kid. To be honest it was so off-putting that I avoided the library for another year.
Then, I discovered a better way to check out books: the online catalog. I absolutely love using the online catalog! Once a month, I go to the library website and search the catalog for various books by title that I have “pinned” throughout the month (I have a special saves folder on Instagram for books). I will also search by topics such as an upcoming holiday or a topic we are covering in our school lessons and scroll through the book suggestions. This has really come in handy for homeschooling. When I find a book I want, I can put it on hold. I also love pursuing the similar book suggestions that pop up after you put a book on hold. You can hold a bunch of books and have them sent from any library branch in the county to your branch of choice!
After giving it a few days to let all the books gather at my branch, I pick them up. Sometimes, I get them on my way home from work. Other times, I let the girls come with me and give them a few minutes to pick two of their own books to check out as well. At least then I know I am leaving with a ton of books I am excited about reading with them, but I also give them a controlled opportunity to explore the books on their own.
2. Another thing I love about our public library are the used book sales. These book sales are the perfect way to grow my home library! The Friends of the Knox County Library organization hosts multiple book sales throughout the year including ones at each of the branches as well as very large sales a couple of times a year at Central United Methodist Church. Prices for these books typically range from $0.50 to $1.50 with a half-price day that makes them even less. They also have a fill-a-bag for $5.00. And the book selection is great. Lots of amazing titles to snag for your home!
3. Finally, I love using the public library to snag a good mom read! I can do this anywhere, anytime using an app on my phone. I use the Libby app, which allows you to check out books from your local library and read them on your phone. I have read dozens and dozens of titles this way and saved myself from accumulating book clutter (I like to save the space for kids’ books).