I can’t walk through the Cameron Village Regional Library and not experience a feeling of nostalgia. For the first 6 months to a year of my motherhood, in all its newness, storytimes at the library were a godsend and I went to them religiously. It got me out of the house, I was able to have conversations with other adults, and I always returned home armed with books for both me (thank you Express Book Bag!) and my little peanut.
In fact, one of my dearest “mom friends” was the result of storytime. More than 4 years later, I can still recall the songs we learned at storytime and then sung nearly every night during bath time. It’s funny—my views of the library are so different now with kids. I used to think of the library as a quiet, calm place to be on your best behavior, but anyone who has been to storytime knows that’s not always the case.
And that’s why, three kids later with our oldest being 4, storytimes are still a huge hit and a preferred activity for our family!
As a mother, I always appreciate that the Wake County Public Libraries’ Storytimes are focused on the principles of Every Child Ready to Read which introduces children at the youngest age to those pre-literacy skills necessary for a successful launch to kindergarten.
It’s not limited to the reading of a book or two. Depending on where you are there might be bubbles, a librarian playing the ukulele, instruments passed out, or a mini puppet show. There are always songs and a stamp at the end and important reminders parents can often take for granted – to do little things like read, sing and play regularly. My kids still are so excited to be able to do something like stomp their feet and clap their hands, in the library of all places. As a parent, it can be so easy to conjure up these grand plans on any given day, like trekking to a dairy farm or museum or hosting a play date with crafts and snacks. Yet, every time I go to the library’s fun, engaging storytimes, I’m reminded that simple little outings can yield just as much joy (while also having long term benefits) as the more grandiose ones.
Our experience with storytime now looks a little different than the baby bliss days at Cameron Village. But, they’ve still remained a constant in our life. Often our Saturday mornings are spent walking over to the Athens Drive Community Library, where the kids chase bubbles, sing, boogie and of course read books—something we happily have too many of in our home.
A few of the best kept secrets about the library and a reminder:
Express Book Bag AKA Books for mama– Your kids don’t have to be the only ones that leave story time with books. At regional locations, the library offers something called Express Book Bag which translates to a librarian saying “tell me what you like to read and I will go check a few books out for you since I know you are too busy to do it yourself.”
Automatic renewal– The public library system here is working very hard to decrease acquired library fines which often discourages folks from returning to the library. So, they now automatically renew books for you if they’re not returned by the two-week due date as long as someone else hasn’t requested them!
It’s unlikely you will be charged more than $10 for a late fee– I can’t tell you how many times I hear friends say they are scared to go back to the library because they have late fees. Guess what? The most the library charges now is $10! They’d rather see you back at the library than have you not coming because of an accumulated late fee. How generous!
Show up at the library and you might be able to walk away with one of those New York Times Bestsellers thanks to their Lucky Day Collection– I’m often struck with a book dilemma, I have a whole list of books coming out that I want to read but I don’t want to pay full price for. I end up at the bottom of the waiting list at the library or wait until they show up at a used bookstore which by then, they’ve likely been turned into a movie and old news. Ta—da! Enter the libraries Lucky Day Collection–they pull a set amount of those new releases that everyone’s reading and have them set up front and center at the library for you to take home with you, no waiting required. But you have to come to the library—do so for story time!
A reminder-it’s for your kiddos– I can admit to sometimes feeling a bit silly at story times singing and clapping along. And then depending on who is hosting it, the level of energy can vary across location. But I always remind myself that these little outings are for my kids and not me. They’re for them to be opened up to the fun, educational, engaging magic world of books. They have yet to attend storytime they didn’t like.
Some helpful links:
Library events (not just limited to storytimes and most of them free!)
Library locations (you’d be surprised just how many libraries there are in the county-22 total!)