Save the planet and develop your child’s character through a trip to the library… HOW, you may ask? Read below to find out more.

Helping your child enjoy reading is one of the most important things you can do as a parent and is well worth the investment of your time and energy. Kids will learn reading skills in school, but often they associate reading with work rather than pleasure. Thus, they lose their desire to read. And it is that desire — the curiosity and interest — that is the foundation of learning how to use reading skills successfully.
It's important to remember that you can give your children this kind of desirable and fun reading experience even if you don't have a lot of books in your home. Your local public library has plenty of books, plus many other valuable resources available to you free of charge (as long as you bring your books back in time.)

A trip to the library can benefit children in the following ways:

1. It teaches them about responsibility, consequences and deadlines

As card-carrying library regulars, children learn about looking after things that belong to others. When children check-out books in their own name, they feel trustworthy and responsible. If a child damages, loses or returns a book after its return date the library will charge a penalty fine and children will feel the consequences of their actions. It is important for children to learn the simple value that with responsibility come consequences. Returning a book by its return date teaches children the important skill of meeting deadlines and in today’s society, that is a skill that seems to be lost on far too many people.

2. It Teaches Sharing

Libraries were the original sharing economy, long before Airbnb or Netflix. There is a major environmental advantage to sharing copies of books, DVDs and other media rather than everyone purchasing new copies. In addition, libraries foster a commitment to sharing that is so beneficial and can carry over into the rest of our lives. Rather than fostering a disposable, selfish attitude towards objects, children learn that library books are just on loan to us and belong to everyone in the community. Children learn to think beyond themselves and how to take care of things so that they last and can be used by many other people.

3. It Fosters Bonding

The journey to the library, the search for books that your children enjoy, and the excitement shared when your children check out their selected books all aid in fostering connection between you and your children. And let’s not forget how reading aloud connects you — reader and listener — in a very intimate way. When you read aloud to children, you send them this message:  “You are important. This time is for you.”

4. It Improves Self-Regulation

The library's number one rule is quietness. This can be daunting for parents of rowdy, boisterous children and for fear of embarrassment it may cause you to avoid taking your children to the library, however this is actually the perfect place to take your child. In a world so filled with constant noise it is hard to find a place of silence, a place where you can hear your thoughts and dream. For introverts, the library can offer a sense of peace and some alone time, since even if others are there, you'll feel like they're not. Children who are boisterous and rowdy are often over-stimulated by the noise and sights around them in the world and visiting a library can provide them with the perfect opportunity to find balance in themselves and calm them. Children will need to regulate their behavior so that they may remain in the library, and if they act out and make a continual noise they will be scolded or asked to leave by the librarian and they will then learn that there are consequences to unregulated behavior.

5. It provides them with a multi-cultural experience

By providing access of information to all members of a community, libraries support communities in their exploring and challenging of barriers, values, and behaviors as these relate to social inclusion.
Through books and other forms of media available from your library it is possible to expose your children to other places, cultures and ways of living. As you and your children browse through the aisles of resources and attend story-reading hours, you will be surrounded by people of various socio-economic status, creed and colour and various relationships may be formed- the library thus serves us, brings us together and provides us with a multi-cultural experience that we don’t necessarily intentionally seek out.


6. It broadens their knowledge and understanding of the world

Long before Google or Encyclopedia existed, libraries used to be the source where people accessed a wide variety of knowledge. Our world can never progress without access to knowledge and libraries give the public open access to books, articles, documentaries and other resources. The librarian can recommend books that you may not know of or think to suggest, broadening children’s tastes and expanding their minds and vocabularies. Books from all around the world, featuring characters and stories children couldn't meet or hear otherwise let them see how big and varied the world really is while also showing them how much is the same across the globe and different cultures. Understanding more about different places and cultures makes for better global citizens, and aids in the development of compassion for all people and living things.

7. It aids in their establishment of connection with the community

Libraries are communal spaces that cater to various needs of the community, whether these are educational, social, recreational or informative. Visiting the library is a way to connect oneself to the community you live in as you share a space and resources with other members of the community. Additionally, libraries engage communities on matters of social importance and libraries often display special collections about our towns, regions, provinces or country so that we can learn more about them and feel a greater sense of place.
Visits to shared community centers make a community stronger and the members of the community feel more connected and are often more willing to protect the community and be better prepared to do what's best for the community rather than for ourselves as individuals.

8. It will encourage them to read more

Regular library visits inevitably lead to more reading. Research shows that reading aids in brain development, especially in your child’s first five years of life. When kids are read to, their brain cells are literally turned on, and existing links among brain cells are strengthened and new cell links are formed. Reading is also one of the best activities to provide the foundational language and literacy skills your child needs to succeed. By visiting the library and giving children the opportunity to take out books you encourage a reading culture in your children. You can even teach them the alphabet, or teach them to read through tools available at your local library.

Get your children excited about the library in the following ways:

- Visit the children and teen sections of your local library
- Help your children choose books related to their interests
- Have “mystery hunts” with the children, having them search for a book by a specific author or publisher or around a specific theme
- Look for books with poems and rhymes
- During your first visit to the library, introduce yourself and your child to the librarian and ask for a tour. Don't be shy — it's part of the librarian's job!
- Make the most of the other resources your library has to offer

Libraries are a wonderful resource for everyone because they have books, videos, music, newspapers, computers, and much more for children and adults —you can therefore expose your children to many more resources than you can afford to buy. Whether you are seeking books for your children, information for your family or just a "good read" for yourself, your local public library has a lot to offer your entire family and the visit will benefit you and your children in ways far beyond that which you perceive.
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the original author.  The information set forth herein has been obtained or derived from sources believed by the author to be reliable and it has been provided to you solely for informational purposes.
 While every caution has been taken to provide readers with the most accurate information and honest analysis, please use your discretion before taking any decisions based on the information in this article.  The author will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this article.
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