10 Things Your Librarian Wish You Knew About the Library

My family loves libraries. We kind of have to since I’m a children’s librarian! I’m always asking people if they have a library card or if they take their kiddos to storytime. On the other hand, I’ve encountered SO many misconceptions about what libraries do.

With summer reading upon us, I wanted to share ten things I wish everyone, especially moms, knew about the library.

1. Libraries are free to use!

This seems obvious, but you’d be amazed how often I’m asked how much a program costs. It’s no secret: public libraries are FREE to join, FREE to borrow items from, and all of our programs are — you guessed it! — FREE!

2. We have so much more than books.

Of course, we still have books {they’re not going anywhere!} but we have even more to offer you and your family: movies and music, special events, recommendations, and more!

Your library card gives you access to interlibrary loan {Translation: items that are sent from another library to pick up at your location}, online resources like e-books, and research databases that cover everything from homework help to auto repair to genealogy. Michigan residents can access e-resources from anywhere, often without a library card, by visiting the Michigan eLibrary or your local library’s website.

Many libraries also offer specialized services, like one-on-one tech help, 3D printing, notary services, printing, and faxing. Some of these services might cost money, but it’s almost always cheaper than other places.

children's section of library, library

3. Can’t find it? Ask!

Ever had trouble finding the book or movie you {or your child} really wants? Librarians to the rescue! We can request it through interlibrary loan, but we also purchase materials on a regular basis to keep on our shelves. Chances are if you or your child wants it, another family does too — so let us know!

4. We have programs that rival what you might otherwise pay for.

The library’s program calendar is a great way to save money. I’ve had patrons ask about specific programs they’d like and found a way to put them on my calendar. From yoga to pottery painting to babysitting classes, it’s SO rewarding to give patrons exactly what they want, especially when we can also save you money!

So please, tell us what you want. We really do listen and want to know how we can best meet the needs of our users.

5. Your child is NOT too loud to come here!

If you’re worried about bringing your kiddo to the library because they won’t be able to sit still and be quiet, rest assured that we don’t expect them to! I’m constantly telling parents that the children’s room is a place kiddos can have fun, although walking feet and inside voices are appreciated. Some children’s librarians are parents themselves {like me!}, but all of us are well-versed in what little kids are like: they run, they’re noisy, they make a mess — even in the library. They’re still learning! I promise we won’t yell OR shush you or your child.  

Plus, I mean… I’ve been shushed by library kids, and I’m the librarian.

child at library, library

6. Summer, fall, winter, and spring — we’re here ALL the time.

Summer reading is a busy time. At my library, we have weekly puppet shows, storytellers, concerts, storytimes, STEM activities, free lunches, and lots more. But the fun doesn’t end when the kids go back to school! We have special events throughout the school year, storytimes for preschool-aged children, as well as after-school and weekend events for all ages — kids, teens, and even adults.

7. We have books for busy moms, too.

It’s important for your kids to know how much you love reading, too. If it’s hard to get out of the children’s section, you can browse the catalog online and place holds, or even get your reading materials digitally via services like Overdrive or Hoopla. The library staff is happy to show you how to get {FREE!} e-books, audiobooks, magazines and more onto your tablet or phone!

e-reader, library

8. You can use other libraries!

If your local library doesn’t have the programming, materials, or hours that work for you… you’re allowed to use other libraries, too. My family visits lots of libraries in addition to our local one. You don’t usually need a library card to attend programs, but you will if you want to check out materials. Check with library staff to see if you’re eligible for a card.

9. Libraries are for everyone.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is helping to make the library a destination: a community space where people can meet, engage, and get involved. I’ve loved seeing friendships develop among my library families, children, and caregivers alike! Libraries are for everyone. We have diverse collections and events for all ages, evening and weekend hours; we’re a place you can visit for as long as you’d like and not be expected to buy anything.

10. Did I mention… it’s all free?

Yeah, I included this one twice, but it bears repeating. Put your pocketbook away and take advantage of the money you’ll save using the library!

What is your favorite thing about the library?

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