How To Teach Your Child To Use A Public Library

This weekend, why not introduce your child to the world of books by visiting a local library? Here are some ways you can go about it.

By Leena Ghosh

How To Teach Your Child To Use A Public Library

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one” - Neil Gaiman

Through this quote, the popular author perfectly explains the importance of a library in this digital age. As parents, whenever we plan a day’s outing for our kids, we think of malls, parks, activity centres or maybe even a resort in the outskirts of the city. The library is hardly ever the first choice.

However, when a child steps into the world of books, he not only learns a great deal about different concepts, but he also learns a few important things about himself. A library is a place for self-discovery and learning.

Here are some key reasons why libraries are important in this digital age:

  • They offer exceptional resources for learning
  • They are a reliable source of information
  • They help establish a sense of community
  • They help develop language skills
  • They contribute to preserving history
  • They provide an environment conducive to learning

Now that you know the importance of a library and why you should introduce your child to one, here are great ways you can help your child use a public library.

Enrolling your child as a member in a library

Find a library near you: Look for a library closer to your home. That way you and your child can visit it more frequently to get new books, as per your convenience.

Become a member: If you like a particular library and the activities they conduct periodically get a membership card for you and your child. Once your child is familiar with the setup of the library and its members, he will be more interested to visit frequently.

How to teach your child to use a public library

  1. Check out the programmes: Some libraries conduct weekly programmes for children as young as toddlers. From story-telling sessions to poetry reading and learning ‘how to spell’ activities, many libraries focus on getting the young reader interested in books. Find out if you need to be a member or can partake of these activities as a guest. Make sure you and your child participate in the library activities as frequently as you can. It will also help you bond with him over reading.
  2. Introduce him to the librarian: No one knows the library better than the librarian. To motivate your child to become a regular visitor to the library, introduce him to the librarian, who can not only help him look for authors or books he wants to read but also give him great references based on his liking.
  3. Make her use it for school projects: Explain to your child why and how the library can be a great resource for school work. Here, she can study about topics in-depth and get a better understanding of the subject.
  4. Let her choose: If your child is slightly older, let her decide what she wants to read. Whether it’s a superhero comic or a simple story book, making the decision on her own will help her fall in love with the habit of reading even more.
  5. Teach her to care: A true book lover knows how to care for her books. Teach your child to treasure books and learn how to take care of them before she becomes a member of any library. This will also teach her to be responsible about her personal belongings.

Don’t restrict reading to libraries. Depending on your child’s age and capabilities, read a book with him every day. This will inculcate in him a love for books and also teach him how to sit patiently and read. Also, show a genuine interest in reading yourself and make it a part of your daily routine, she is bound to follow your example.

In the age of malls and hi-tech play stores, a simple library is where your child will learn and broaden his horizons. Books are the best gift you can give him. Nurture the habit of reading in your child and help him become a life-long reader. 

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