I love the library. Once a week (at least), you’ll find us browsing the stacks at our neighborhood branch. My kids get really excited on Library Day — as soon as we get home, they scatter all the books on the floor and read* them all. (*Technically, my 6 year old is the only reader, but his younger siblings study each and every page, which in my mind is as important as actually reading!) The library is an awesome resource, and not just for the obvious reasons (story time, it’s free, summer reading programs, etc.), either!
Here are 6 things you probably didn’t know you could do at the library:
1. Rent movies
Obviously, the library is about books. And I have strict screen time rules with my kids. But over winter break, when the temperatures plunged and it was way too cold to play outside… we definitely watched a few Disney movies. You’ll find all the big titles at the library, and can even request to have movies sent to your preferred branch. (Oh, and my husband and I enjoy lots of cheap at-home movie nights this way, too!)
2. Buy books
The Friends Used Book Store at the Warehouse (Hartwell) is one of the best hidden gems in Cincinnati. The children’s section is astounding. It’s as large as your favorite branch’s children’s department – but better, because everything is for sale! All the books are priced to sell: most of the kids’ books are between $1 and $3. And unlike other used book stores, these library books are in mint condition – and virtually indestructible thanks to their heavy duty covers.
3. Make Valentines, do yoga, go to parties
The activities offered at the library branches are unparalleled. It’s not just weekly story time! Browse the calendar for crafts, kids yoga, cooking classes, special events, author visits, movie nights and more! Oh and the best part — all of the library’s activities are FREE.
4. Try 3D printing
The Library MakerSpace is a space for creativity and creation — kids can make buttons, try the 3D printer, record their own MP3. If you’ve been wanting to publish your Great American Novel, you can even do that with the Espresso Book Machine! Most of these programs are free, or require a very small fee for materials. The MakerSpace is open daily and is definitely something to check out on a rainy day!
5. Check out ebooks
As parents, we do a lot of waiting. Car pool lines, pediatrician’s offices, the floors of our 3-year-old’s bedroom as we wait for him to fall asleep. And instead of scrolling through Facebook, what about reading the latest Liane Moriarty? Use the library’s Overdrive program to search for, request and check out virtually any ebook (seriously – if they don’t have the title you want, you can request it!). There are tons of kids’ titles, too. We had a recent visit to the hospital and my three-year-old was kept busy by the many LEGO ebooks we checked out via Overdrive.
6. Browse the largest collection of children’s books in Cincy at Children’s Learning Center
The Children’s Learning Center at the Main Library downtown has the largest collection of children’s books of any branch. There are pop-up books, board books, parenting books, audiobooks, juvenile fiction and non-English language books. There is ample opportunity learn through play at the library. There’s a play area right next to a shelf of jumbo books large enough to hide behind.Craft supplies are available for kids who would like to color. The computer terminals feature early learning software with games that teach language and math skills. Get your kids their own library card – and they’ll never pay a fine!
The library is full of surprises and great resources for parents. And — most of them are FREE! So definitely make more library dates with your kids this year and check out everything our library has to offer.