I think I’ve finally figured out how to make the best use of our local library! We have always enjoyed visiting it, but finding good books to read there or take home with us was always fairly unpredictable and dependent on what other patrons had been leaving out – it’s hard to browse the shelves with two babies/toddlers wanting to get out and play and read RIGHT NOW MOMMY!
So over the past couple months I’ve been doing a lot of preliminary research online, finding 5-10 books at a time that fit a theme of interest to either myself or the boys, placing a hold on them all, and then making a trip to the library when they’re ready for pick up. The library gives me a week to pick them up after they’ve been set aside for me, which helps when some are ready earlier than others for various reasons, and gives me some flexibility with actually getting over there.
At the end of September we found 3 books on apples and apple pies to celebrate fall and complement our apple activities (apple-printing in the archives, apple-pie baking at Grandma’s house, and apple fizzy painting coming soon!), as well as 5 dinosaur books to accommodate Rondel’s recent enthusiasm. All the books lived on our new display shelf and so were pulled out constantly to be read, re-read, and thoroughly enjoyed during their 3-week stay.
(Have I shown you the new shelf yet? It is one of the best simple changes we’ve made to the house:
It lets me get books off the bookshelf – where the boys can’t see them well or find what they’re looking for easily – into a visible space, and has encouraged significantly more read-aloud time! In fact, I liked it so much that we put a smaller one in the boys’ bedroom for their bedtime books.)
Today we took all of those books back to the library and were able to pick up another batch of books, mostly fall-themed this time, with a few extras that had caught my attention. Rondel especially is going to miss the books we had to return, but I’m hoping the excitement of the new books will help 🙂 This serendipitous timing did require me to be proactive enough to start finding and requesting new books about 5-7 days before the old books were due 🙂 I think a trip to the library just for returns would have left me with two very sad little boys, so I’ll need to continue to stay on top of the library cycle for this to keep working… we’ll see how that goes.
How do you all integrate the library into your family’s reading? Any great ideas you’ve implemented or challenges you’ve faced?