What should be your number one homeschooling resource?
A place you can go to ask questions, access information, and build community? Somewhere that is completely FREE!?!
The library, of course!
Obviously, there are books aplenty at the library, but an abundance of other fantastic resources abound as well.
Are you making the most of your public library?
Now before you even step foot in your library, there is much to explore online through your library’s website.
Most public libraries allow online access to their catalog.
This makes it easy to check the inventory and renew any books that you still have checked out. It’s also a simple way to review their calendar and discover any upcoming events and opportunities.
There is also usually a way to make a specific purchase suggestion online if your library doesn’t have the item you’re looking for.
I have made MANY purchase requests over the years and every single one has been approved. This also means that I am the first to receive the book once it arrives so it’s brand new when I get my hands on it!
Once you step foot in the library, there is so much to explore.
At our library, the entryway contains community bulletin boards on both sides. When time allows, I like to peruse the boards to see what community events are coming up. Everything from concerts and art shows, to lectures and poetry workshops, to cooking events and game nights, I always find a variety of offerings.
If your library has a community board, be sure to check it out!
While books are clearly plentiful at libraries, there will also likely be an abundance of magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks. Copy machines, computers, and internet access are usually available too.
Resources extend well beyond books!
Another great resource for studying history is the History Room that many public libraries have. Usually, there is information on local history and law history, and sometimes even an area dedicated to ancestry.
Keep these resources in mind as you’re planning your history for the school year.
When you’re looking for an alternate place to study that isn’t your desk, kitchen table, or coffee shop, consider reserving time in a meeting room if this is an option at your library. These meeting rooms are also great places to hold homeschooling related meetings with other families or to arrange tutoring times.
Interested in using one of the library’s meeting rooms? Simply ask!
Are you aware of the ongoing activities offered at your local public library?
I encourage you to check online to see what types of specialty classes, lectures, events, and opportunities are available.
As an example, here are some ongoing weekly and monthly activities offered at my local library:
- Preschool Songs and Stories
- Baby Rhyme Time
- Construction Club for Kids
- Food Themed Stories and Hands-on Cooking for Kids
- Teen Book Club
- Teen Anime Club
- Gaming Club
- Adult Book Club
- Ukulele lessons
And here are some upcoming seasonal and annual activities:
- Annual Teen Writing Contest
- Teen Cooking Challenge
- Yoga & Meditation Class for Kids
- Music & Magician Stories for Kids
- The ever-popular Summer Reading Program (Available at most libraries during the summer months – this program encourages reading through special events and prizes. My children and their friends have participated in this many times over the years, and it has saved many a tired parent’s sanity.) My library offers Teen, as well as Adult Summer Reading Programs. Perhaps your does too?
Additionally, here are some resources available at many public libraries:
- FREE or discount tickets to local museums, science centers, zoos, and other cultural attractions. Our library participates in the Discover & Go program. Library cardholders can browse offerings and reserve tickets online.
- Downloadable ebooks and audiobooks.
- FREE music through Freegal.
- Borrow a telescope. Or how about a ukulele, board games, or seed packets?
- Online homework help. Currently, our library offers this from 3-10pm daily.
- Drop in and scheduled ebook and tech help.
- Ongoing community computer classes.
- A variety of design, software, and web development, as well as business classes offered through Lynda.com.
- Information on internet safety.
- Volunteer opportunities.
And the best resource of all?
Librarians are basically like research magicians.
They’re available to recommend specific reading lists, websites, and databases. They can also suggest interactive games and other opportunities for enhanced learning.
And they do all of this for FREE!
My heartfelt suggestion is to let your Librarians wave their magical library wands and introduce you to fantastic resources you didn’t even know existed.
So tell me, how often do you take advantage of your local public library? What unique resources have you found there?