I'm too lazy to look it up, but I am positive I have mentioned, on many occasions, how much I love our local library system.
Our local library branch has been a godsend this summer. When the times/dates of the summer library programs were published I sat down immediately and placed them on our calendar. We've attended story times, craft days, puppet shows, a Ronald McDonald show, live animal demonstrations... Harper's even taken a bubble-ology class which was a great introduction to the scientific process. We've been at our library two or more times a week every week since June 1st. In addition to all the great programming we've checked out tons of books and a few CDs and DVDs as well. In the past I've laughed about the 50-item limit on my library card, but this summer we've come close to hitting that limit several times.
Harper and Michael have enjoyed tracking their reading for summer reading club - I often hear one of them call to me, "Mom, start your timer!" I've also been reading library books for the adult summer reading club and I feel like I need to remark again on the marvel that is the automated library request system! When I'm chasing the kids around the library I don't always have time to look for my own books. I have as much fun browsing the online catalog as I do browsing at Amazon.com. How great is it to just click a button and a few days later the book I want is sitting on a shelf, waiting for me? LOVE. I appreciate this service in a whole new way since having children.
Twice in the last couple of years I have submitted requests for books that I was looking to check out, but the library didn't already have. Both times the books were ordered and set aside for me to check out first after they came in and were processed. Now there's some customer service!
Another really wonderful thing about our library right now is that the children's librarian at our branch is on the current Caldecott committee. Once a month she has a special read aloud time when children can explore some of the contenders for the 2012 Caldecott Medal and share their opinions - Miss Pat has assured them that she is taking their feedback into consideration as she prepares to make her recommendations to the committee. So, in a small way, my children can feel like they are a part of this year's selection process - they may not appreciate it now, but it will be really fun to see if the winner is a book that they enjoyed with Miss Pat this year.
I know that not every community has a library system as well supported or active as ours, but if you haven't done so yet, I really encourage you to see what your local library has to offer. As the school year concluded this I was seriously concerned that we'd drive each other crazy this summer and I am not sure I can fully express my gratitude for all the library has given us to do.
In a couple of weeks we'll go to the summer reading wrap-up party. That afternoon my children might earn raffle prizes as a result of the time they spent reading this summer - I know they'd be excited to win, but I also know they've already been rewarded by all the great things our library has to offer.
On another note, we run into friends nearly every time we set foot in the library, so not only does it offer great services, seeing so many people we know there makes me feel more connected to our community as a whole. We don't exactly live in a small town, but this summer our library visits have given me that nice small-town feeling. Now I just have to remember to brush my hair before we visit...