Reading with Baby: Public Library

Provo Library
Provo Library, courtesy of Edie Dean

How much would you pay for subscription to a service with unlimited access to any book, audiobook, magazine, ebook, movie, or television show? Seems too good to be true. Well, based on the title to this post and the beautiful picture above, you probably know where I’m headed. You can get all of this and probably more things I don’t even know about for free at your public library! The public library is an incredible and highly under-used free resource! It’s FREE! Okay, that was the last time I will mention that.

The public library is a great place to start when you want to read with your baby. You have access to countless amounts of children’s books and board books. Most libraries also have free classes or read aloud time for babies and toddlers.

The first thing I did when we were searching for places to live in Washington was search out how close the library was and how close grocery stores were. When we chose our apartment, I found our closest library and immediately requested a library card. The first day we got there, my library card was waiting for me in our mailbox. The library was one of our first stops. Basically, I don’t know who I would be without a library.

When I was younger, I used to love taking spending money to a bookstore and buying something that caught my eye. Although, I still occasionally do this with picture books, it is much rarer. I now check out books before buying them and buy the books we love. I keep a list of books we’d like to own so that when it’s book buying time, we know which ones we want. This way our home library is full of books I know we love, rather than books I read halfway through and put down or books Madi didn’t like for some mysterious baby reason. (It really does seem arbitrary, although I suppose we’re all like that with books).

Madison and I make a trip to the library 2-3 times per week. When we lived in Provo, we had an amazing library that had pretty much any book your heart could desire (unless it was a popular book and so you were #1,001 on the holds list). For my books, I’d often put a request on hold but for children’s books, browsing & selecting was just fine. When we moved to Washington, the library system was a bit different. Our county has 49 libraries (I just counted) and my city has 2! Some of the libraries are bigger, but the one that is closest to us is quite small. The selection there isn’t great. However, if you add the other 48 libraries, our selection is INCREDIBLE. I have been able to find almost every book I’ve ever tried to find. I then put in a request online for the book and if it’s at another library, they bring it to my library within a day or two. It also makes wait time for really popular books much shorter. If a book is really popular, there are high chances there are copies of it at every library–so even though there may be a long waiting list, there are so many more copies to go around. Although it can be fun to browse and select picture books (and Madison and I still do this!), I have found it’s also fun to browse and select online and then put them on hold. It also feels exciting to go to the library to pick up the books that we have reserved–a feeling similar to getting mail (which we all know is very exciting!)

Each library and library system is unique. My best advice to you is to get to know your library! Look at its website, visit in person, talk to a librarian! Find out about each of its programs and offerings. Go to your library and browse! It’s like a bookstore–for FREE (okay, really the last time). Let your children browse. Oh, and if you end up having to pay some late fees or even possibly some replacement fees because your husband may have put your child’s sippy cup in your diaper bag (which you may have told him not to do) and soaked two books, then just consider it paying a small fee for the most incredible service ever! It’s worth it.

Provo Library, courtesy of Lori Bailey
Provo Library, courtesy of Lori Bailey

I was going to post a picture of our current library, but it is just not beautiful and regal like this one. Miss you Provo Library.


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