We would attempt the story time with major failure in the beginning. Some libraries are not fans of children, apparently. Others are just fabulous and understand that this is a learning experience. But, to the new mother, it is just a major disaster.
We have visited about 4 different libraries in our town until we found one to call ours. Each library has their own rules, their own children's department, and their own way of shelving the books. And, when you are trying to teach your child how to use a library (which can most certainly be done), you have to find the one that is doing the same for each child that walks through their doors.
TIPS FOR TAKING CHILDREN TO THE LIBRARY:
1. Talk to the librarians! They are there to help you and your children. Get the calendar of events. Ask for a recommended reading list for children (some have this available by age group). Have your kids say hi to the librarian, too. Mine have gotten so used to this, that they run in before me and are already having a conversation with whichever librarian they found. Go to a few story times and events that are offered. We have done some cool things at our library!
3. Books "live" on a certain place. This is the part that was big for me. The library that you choose should be organized. There is one that we will no longer visit because you can't find anything - even if the catalog says it is there. So, when the boys find a book and pull it out, I get them to put it back when they are done. Andrew knows all about that little white label on the spine. And he is now showing Alex what it is for, too. Please, teach your children this.
4. Get them a library card of their own! One day, Andrew saw the Arthur episode about D.W. getting her Library Card and he thought that was so cool. So, the next time we went to the library, he asked the librarian (on his own - because of #1) how to get one. As long as he could write his name, he could have one. So, he has his own card! (Alex can write his name, too...but we are waiting a bit.)
5. How many books can we check out? I can't remember where I saw this tip, but they are allowed to check out the same number of books as their age. Andrew is 5, so he gets 5. Alex gets 3. Not only do they know how many they can get this visit, but I know how many to keep track of at home. Also, it really doesn't matter what the check out at this point. They are learning and what's better than that!?
6. Use the HOLD system/option. If there are certain books that I know they want to read or I need for school, I just place them on hold through their website. When they are ready to be picked up, we have a library day. Now, I have quality books that are waiting for us and I don't have to bother with searching.
7. Teach them to use the catalog. Andrew is at the early reader stage and can spell/read a few things. So, we run with that and learn about the card catalog. He wanted to find some new train books. We went to the computer and I let him type in "trains." Once we found a few that were on the shelf, we wrote down the numbers/letters and went book hunting. And, since this library actually uses the Dewey Decimal System...we were able to find the books. I show Andrew how to find a few and now he can do this mostly on his own.
8. Stay a while! Explore your children's department. Our has creatures, tables for the little ones to sit at and play with the puzzles, sofas for the mamas to check their email/nurse a baby/read to their kids. Enjoy your library. Don't just run in and run out (unless you have to...we had to one and the boys were kind of mad at me about that...)
9. Let them check out their own books, if possible. Our library has a computer system at their level complete with a step stool. They both know how to scan their cards and place the books on the sensor. Once they are done, they bit the button and grab their ticket. They think it is awesome!
10. Enjoy them but, don't forget to return those books! The boys love return their books just as much as they love checking them out. They have learned where the return slots are, and where the books go versus the DVDs.
There you have it! That is how we enjoy our library. We have finally built up to the point where if I need to grab a book for me, the boys understand to still use their inside voices in the "grownup section" and go right back to the kids books. One day I found out that the library had a coffee bar... Oh, yes. Another reason that this library is our FAVORITE library.
Do you take your tots to the library? If not, visit a few until you find the perfect one. And, get reading!