Gawd, this is going to feel like such a nerdy post, but I can’t say enough good things about my local library. This introvert will tell you that yes, beach days are fun to an extent. When it’s too hot and moist outside, I seek air conditioned shelter. One of those air conditioned places where you can hang out is at the library. It’s an excellent place to go if you could use a chunk of time to give your senses a break.
What I want to tell you is that some libraries try to bump up the amount of programs and activities offered during the summer months because they know kids are out of school and some adults might also have extra free time on their hands. This is going to be a post mostly geared towards kids.
Summer Reading! As a way to motivate kids to keep reading while on summer break, the summer reading programs are great. In Rhode Island, the Office of Library & Information Services sponsors a read across the state program where they provide a book for free and allow libraries to host various programs and presentations based around a theme. This year’s theme is A Universe of Stories in conjunction with NASA’s 60 years of achivement and the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. On the local level, each library has their own program where children can log in book titles or time spent reading to reach a goal for a prize. One summer, the goal was to read a certain number of books and then a kid could trade in their log for a stuffed animal that they could stuff and decorate themselves. Free stuff like that is pretty cool!
Museum passes! One perk to participating in the summer reading program this summer is that my kid received a card listing museums generous enough to offer free admission to children with a paying adult. Real talk- my kid might only be interested in the Zoo out of everything on this list but I’m still going to take him to as many of these as I can. I’m not sure if this is offered in other libraries outside of our state, but if yours does, take advantage of it! Take all the free stuff offered to your kids!!
Don’t forget to ask at your information desk about museum passes any time of the year. Usually generously provided for by the “Friends of the library,” you can borrow museum passes that should cover some or all of the cost of admission. It’s a bit of a godsend when you’re planning to go to an aquarium or seaport as a non-member.
Daytime programs! This is a short list but the library will probably host weekly offerings of activities like a movie with free popcorn, family story times, toddler activities, drop-in crafts, and sensory activities. Sometimes there are special appearances with a magician, someone brings in some animals to interact with, musicians, artists, dancers, poets, or there’s a party. These are good for when your kids are non-stop all day and you need just one more thing to entertain them in the middle of all the other things happening in one day. Some of our days are honestly like this. (The other days we learn to love being bored.)
Pretty much all of these things are offered for free to the public. Some things might need registration ahead of time or the use of your (free) library card. I do want to mention that if you like what your local library offers, please consider attending the programs that interest you. By showing up shows the library that the programs they schedule are of value to people, and having the attendance data helps them provide that information to the state and municipalities who give grants and funding so that the library can continue to offer more of those programs in the future. So if like it, show up. You’ll make a librarian very happy, too.