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LEARN TO love YOUR library


For my kids, turning five and getting their first library card was a rite of passage. Summers meant the excitement of summer reading programs and family-fun entertainment like magicians, clowns, and dancing dogs. When they were preschoolers, the library meant Story Time and Mommy and Me classes. When they were teens, it was a quiet place to study. It’s where I learned to knit, where we rented movies before streaming, and where we still go every time the internet crashes in our rural neighborhood — often!

September is Library Card Sign-up Month. And at a time when kids and adults are reading less, libraries have risen to the challenge with amazingly creative programs to keep patrons of all ages engaged and enriched. Libraries around the country are taking on the role of community centers with farmers markets, yoga classes, plant swaps, pop-up playgrounds, author readings and book signings, lecture series, and more — a few even loan out power tools or neckties for job interviews.

Many libraries keep puzzles, color sheets, and educational games on hand to occupy kids while parents research or study. Some urban libraries have bookmobiles that bring books into communities that otherwise wouldn’t have access. Others maintain book-club bags with multiple copies of the same book for book clubs to check out together and collections of themed books for classroom teachers. Still, others offer seed-exchange events, home-brewing tutorials, bilingual story hours, 3-D printing makerspace, family movie nights, available meeting space, DIY workshops, soundproof karaoke rooms, passport services, tutoring, and genealogy research.

If you haven’t visited your library lately, you might be surprised by all they offer. And who doesn’t need a quiet place to get away, snuggle into a comfy chair, and get lost in a good book.


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