Slacker Saturday — Know Your Library

Today’s Slacker Saturday activity is simple — visit your local library! For families on a budget, getting to know your local public library can be a tremendous resource. Make it a habit to visit your library on a regular basis, and pick up a calendar of events. Resources your library may offer include: free cultural passes for local museums, free DVDs, free audio CDs, free VHS tapes, free magazines, and most importantly lots of free books! You may also find story time, crafts, or even puppet shows for kids. Many local libraries offer Summer reading programs, so it is worth your time to find out exactly what your library has to offer.

Here are some of our family’s favorite library tips:
  1. A Card of Their Own — If the kids are old enough, encourage them to get their own library cards. This is a great way to teach kids about responsibility and the value of books. Plus, you can borrow books that interest you without having to check out kid books that cut into your borrowing limit. 
  2. Avoid Fines — Be sure to keep all library materials in a central location within your home. Also, keep track of due dates to avoid paying any overdue fines. Google Calendar works well for this, and you can set it up to send email reminders.  
  3. Power of Example  — If you want your kids to grow up to be avid readers, make sure they see you reading. 

I would love to hear about your favorite aspects of your local public library! Is it the convenience of renewing materials online? The selection of movies? The story time for the kiddos? Leave a comment and share your stories with us!


  1. I just found your blog today and I am loving all of your creative ideas! I used to think of myself as being fairly creative, but I am often at a loss with what to do with my 2-year-old. I have gotten a lot of good ideas.
    By the way, of all the blogs I follow of people I don’t know IRL, you are the first to actually visit mine (as far a I know?). Thanks! Mine is not as exciting as yours however 🙂

  2. We love the library! We rarely buy books…just get them from the library. We are avid readers and so are our kids!

  3. Infant Bibliophile says

    We’re really lucky to have moved cross country last year from a city with a wonderful library to a city with an even better one (only a few blocks away). I love the ease of putting books on hold online, so I do it whenever I read about books I think our guy would like from other blogs. One great feature is the email notification a few days before a book is due, to allow you to renew it online or return it before racking up a fee. The library has great playspaces within the children’s area, and many different storytimes every week. For some reason our son, who loves reading, doesn’t like the formality of storytime, though. They start reading and he starts to cry and points to the door to go back into the main library!

  4. Great post. We try to get to the library every week. My daughter just got her own card last week and she was so excited!

  5. Questrade Coupons and Promotions Lover says

    I have to admit you have incredible creative ideas.

  6. ONe PiNK FiSH says

    Last summer we loved visiting the music shows out on for the kids. They were engaging for infants through probably 2nd grade so my boys both could enjoy the fun even with a larger age gap of 4 years. We alos like participating in the summer themed read-a-thon. Not sure this summer's theme yet. But kids of any age can participate. You can read or be read to. You log the books or hours depending on the program joined. At the end of your reading journey, you get a free t-shirt. Perfect modivation for the little ones.

    As always, your blog is by far one of my favorites. This summer I plan on trying to complete the &5 Friday challenge with my kids. I may have to spend $10 and get them each their own. Fighting these days has become the norm. Hopefully, a summer full of crafts and loving will do the trick. Thanks again.

  7. @ Sheri — Welcome! I really enjoyed the photos on your blog today… very cute! I’m sure you’ll find plenty of ideas here to keep your little one occupied. Thanks for stopping by!

    @ Frances — That is fabulous! Isn’t the power of example amazing?

    @ Infant Bibliophile — I thought of you when I was writing this post! The email reminder feature your library has sounds great! Ours doesn’t do that yet, so I set up my own in Google Calendar, but I’m going to suggest that they consider doing it… great idea!

  8. @ Jenny — How cute that she has her own card. She must be so proud!

    @ Questrade — Thanks so much for stopping by, and for the kind words. They are very much appreciated!

    @ One Pink Fish — That is a great point about the reading program appealing to kids in different age groups. Ours offers some fun prizes throughout the summer too. It’s great incentive to continue reading, even though school is out. 🙂

  9. I don’t know what we’d do with out a great library. Like Infant Bibliophile I rely on the email reminder system, and I’m always putting things on hold from home. We all love to read so much that we’d spend a small fortune on books if we bought them. As it is we probably have more than enough. The library let’s us read and read and read more. And then there are the DVDs. As we get very few TV channels, the grown-ups and kids in our house rely on getting DVDs from the library to see all the stuff we miss out on by not having 250+ channels. Thanks for encouraging others to use the library. It is a great resource.

  10. MaryAnne says

    We love our library, great post! I really like your suggestion of using Google reminders. We also have a dedicated shelf in our house for library books, which helps keep them from getting lost. We can put holds on books and renew online like Infant Bibliophile, two features we also love!

  11. Kimberly Eddy says

    We love our library!!! I think the best part of our library are the children’s desk librarians…they are the best! I can go to one of them and say, “I have a 9 year old who is interested in ponies” and before I finish, she has books for me to look at.

    She sometimes walks over to the kids, having gotten to know them from the years we’ve been coming there, and say, “Hey, there’s this book I think you’d really love…” so they get their own book recommendations.

    I do love ordering stuff online for the library. I recently did a video to demonstrate to my blog readers how to use the online card catalog, and you can see it here:

    I noticed that many who didn’t grow up with the computerized card catalog (like me!) needed some visual guidance. 🙂

  12. sunnymama says

    We love the library too! If only I was better at avoiding the fines it would be perfect 🙂

  13. @sunnymama – If you want to avoid fines, check out this RenewBot service that renews your books for you. You can use it for free for 2 months, then it's only $3 per year. If you get usually get fines, it'll probably save you money overall.

  14. sunnymama says

    @Nathan, that sounds such a great idea! I just got another fine this week because I lost track of the date our books were due back again. Unfortunately I don't think we have anything like this in the UK though but thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  15. @sunnymama – RenewBot says they will do any library in the world that supports online renewals – they have a Contact page where you give them a link to your library and the library name, and they say they'll add support for it in 24 hours! Here's the link from their FAQ: Contact RenewBot.