Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fall Means the Start of the "Holiday" Season

Many public libraries have collections of "holiday" books. Some libraries have them together in one place and other libraries put a holiday sticker on them and keep them with the rest of the books. Parents looking for these seasonal books will find that they are mostly picture books though there are titles for older children as well.

Timing is important when looking for holiday books. Halloween is very popular and there are many titles available so it shouldn't be too difficult to find something. However, far less is written about Columbus Day so you may be disappointed if you wait until October 11. Teachers and others who need a book for a specific date should try to get the book as early as possible. However, keep in mind that sometimes these books may not be taken out for as long as other books. Some libraries do this so that the books are available to more people during the "holiday" season. Some libraries may not let you extend your loan period for this reason as well.

One of my favorite Halloween books to read aloud is Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman which is available in paperback if you can't find it at your local library.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Save Money and Gas by Using Your Library Card!

Now that the needed school supplies are purchased and all the forms filled out, take some time to visit your local library to make sure each family member has an up-to-date library card.

Save money and gas by using all of your library's resources - your library card gives you access to many online resources that you can use at home. In some states libraries have online help 24/7 so you can still ask a librarian a question even if your local library isn't open. (This may help when there is a homework crisis Sunday evening at 8 pm.)

You can browse your library's collection without leaving home by searching the library's catalog online. If you find something you want, you can usually call ahead and ask to have it set aside for you.

Many parents are reluctant to have their children use the library because of late fees. While they are usually small amounts per item, they can mount up when a child has several items checked out. Parents can avoid late fees by extending the borrowing time online. (That is, only if someone else isn't waiting for it.) Parents can keep track of what each child has and when it is due back by checking online at any time.

In tough economic times families have to be careful about expenses. It is very important for children to have some books of their own. Be selective about purchasing new books and borrow books from the library as well. Also, used books are cheap and many libraries have used book sales. For example, preschoolers love to have someone read to them, usually several books at a time. The library can provide a wide variety of titles for preschool children. Often a child will ask for the same book over and over. Parents should consider purchasing such a book for their child. It does not have to be a brand new hardcover book. Many picture books are also available in paperback or can be purchased used.

Also, save some money by taking advantage of the free programs your library has to offer. Many libraries have book discussion groups for adults as well as children. Most libraries provide something for everyone - from infants to senior citizens. Visit your library's web site to see what it has to offer.