Community,  Resources,  STEM

Libraries: Beyond The Books

I know that everyone knows the value of checking out books from the library. Finding endless imaginative stories and information in the texts while promoting responsibility and respect when borrowing/returning products on time are important. Teaching kids how to look up a book title or author using the library’s website, searching by alphabetical order, or learning the cataloging system is a beneficial skill that will help them gain independence. But is that all the library has to offer? NO WAY!

I’m not sure if this is the case with all libraries, but our local libraries have a friends of the library program. People donate their used books and media or submit a monthly donation. In return, guests can purchase these books at a steep discount-usually between .50 and $1.00 per item! This is one of our favorite resources for finding affordable storybooks for the kids and for us! In addition, I also tend to find amazing homeschool curriculum books or materials! I have found textbooks for elementary through high school age, as well as handwriting copywork books and education resource books in general. The materials are never written in or damaged, and I intend to keep them that way to pass on for someone else to use. We scan in the pages that would require cutting or writing on to reproduce for home use only so that when we are finished with the materials, another family can benefit from the wonderful resource!

The monthly donations and book sales proceeds go toward funding some amazing programs at our libraries! Just in the last 10 days we’ve been to the following events:

1) A kid’s comedy magic show (my friend said I was more into it than the kids). The magician’s name was Elliot Smith and he was absolutely incredible.

2) A mad science program called Sounds Like Science. The host performed 10 science experiments on stage in front of the children and reviewed everything from sound waves to exothermic reactions. She even electrocuted a pickle! It was very engaging and interactive as the kids got to participate if they volunteered.

3) A coding class on the computer through Disney’s website called Wayfinding With Code. This class introduced kids to coding and the children were set up at their own laptops. The game’s theme was from the Moana film and the kids had to click and drag directions to navigate Maui through an attack from the Kakamura. The children had to figure out if Maui would need to turn left or right or continue straight and perform different functions like dodging and attacking. They programmed these actions ahead of time (so sequence skills were important!) and were required to group some actions in loops if applicable. Once they programmed their character, they hit play and watched him perform the actions they had set. If they made a mistake, they were able to solve their error and amend the code. This was a wonderful learning experience for my son who is very interested in programming!

4) Chess Club! There is an adult instructor there to guide and help with strategy and techinques. But, the class is set up so that children are challenging their peers (which is better experience for my son than always playing against me.)

5) A one-man circus show! The entertainer’s name is Fritz and he is absolutely incredible. He asked for volunteers from the audience to participate and he was hilarious as well! He even balanced a 6 ft unicycle on his chin!

6) Science In Music was a kids’ class (no parents allowed) that included all things science…and music! There was loud music and the kids’ played freeze-dance. The hosts had experiments set up on tables around the room for kids to ‘hear’ science! They made slime and tapped on glasses filled with different amounts of water. They sent the kids home with an activity packet including a maze and a code breaker and so much more. It was extremely stimulating and led to a lot of discussion on how sound travels and how ears work.

Next week we are attending Will Sam’s Instrument Explosion show, Magic Mayhem Present’s “8”, and a STEAM program called Aquatic Adventures. These are all free thanks to the amazing  friends of the library. Some programs require registration in advance because spaces are limited, but that information is on the library’s county website. These events keep us busy all summer long and are a great way to learn, have fun, and make new friends!

Let me know what your local library does for the community!