Even as a child I loved visiting the library – I loved to browse the rows and rows of colourful books and pick out something new to read for the week. Our local library had a huge children’s room and I could spend hours in there….if my mother let me, which she didn’t. Now, as a mum myself, I love the library for so many different reasons. It’s a free, safe public space that I get to enjoy with my children, there are heaps of activities for children to do and they even run really cool workshops for adults, including how to keep a pet goat! I mean, where else can you learn the art of keeping a goat?? Goats aside, here are ten reasons to love your local library.
The children’s level at the City of Perth Library
1. Dedicated children’s sections and books
Let’s start with the obvious – libraries are your go-to place for borrowing children’s books, talking books, DVDs, CDs…all housed in a dedicated children’s section. Some libraries, such as the City of Perth Library on Hay Street, even have baby change facilities housed in the children’s level, which is pretty handy.
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2. Baby and toddler activities
Most libraries run ‘Rhyme Time’ and Story Time’ for babies and toddlers on weekday mornings (check with your local library) and if they are anything like our local library, they are packed with parents at every session. It involves singing and stories and you might even meet some other parents!
3. Activities for older children and school holiday activities
During school holidays and on weekends, many libraries run activities for school aged children, including Lego Club and Creative Kids.
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4. They run some awesome community events Book club, tech telp, writing groups, learn to make sushi, make your own tofu, keep a pet goat, make a worm farm, iPad training, green cleaning – these are just a fraction of the events and workshops I’ve seen happening at just my local library – imagine what else is happening out there! Subscribe to a mailing list and stay up to date with events and what’s happening at your local library.
5. Free wifi and internet access!
Most libraries offer free wifi and computer and internet access to members of the community. Printing usually isn’t free, but does tend to cost less than printing at other places.
6. A hub for information and community resources Just some of the services your local library may offer include:
• Local history – learn more about where you live
• English Conversation Groups for people who speak English as a second language
• Justice of the Peace service
• Support groups for disabled people and their carers
7. Reading Records and Book Stars
Reading Records and Book Stars sessions are for children aged 5 and over and are run by an experienced teacher. Designed to encourage children to read more, it includes a reading and activities with stories and craft and each participant completes their Reading Records to receive certificates and prizes!
8. No cost to join
Joining your local library is absolutely free, making it a fantastic no-cost resource for just about everyone in the community.
Image: State Library of WA
9. Some run competitions for kids
Many Perth libraries run regular competitions for kids, which could be colouring competitions or Lego building, for example.
10. Some allow you to bring in food and drink
My local library has a café right outside the door, so it makes sense that you can bring that precious coffee in, rather than trying to drink it quickly (and too hot) while the kids have already run into the library. The only rules are that you have to sit at a table and no stinky food is allowed in, so leave that fish curry at home. The City of Perth Library also has a café on the ground floor and has similar rules around food.
Libraries are a wonderful resource for families and children, with so many great things to do that won’t cost a cent!