In an era where time and money are often in short supply for families, public libraries are an often overlooked resource for entertainment, education, bonding, and just plain fun. Introduce your child to your public early, and they will reap a lifetime of benefits.

I Love Libraries, an initiative of the American Library Association, offers the following tips for parents on how to connect their children with their local public library.

  1. Read Together. Get your child their own library card, even before they’re officially readers! Go to the library together to select picture books. On those days when everyone needs some time out of the house, cuddle up in a corner of the library and read a book together. As your children grow and can read independently, choose a book of your own and read side-by-side. Let your children see that you’re a reader, too!
  2. Learn Together.  Rather than only doing research online, take your children to the library and explore resources to help them with their homework. Next time they have a report or paper to write, plan a trip to the library and discover resources together.
  3. Play Together. Most public libraries offer classes and events, many of them free! Visit your library’s website to see what programs are offered and join in as a family. Create fun at home by getting a book on how to build something together.
  4. Start Family Traditions. Start a tradition of making regular family dates at the library. You’ll come to cherish the unplugged time exploring together.