Ahhh, the library! Where we can talk (quietly!) and our kids can learn stuff. After all, readers are leaders. I saw that on a sign at the library… While our family lives in Lake Oswego, we call the Tualatin Library home. Besides respite from the Portland drizzle, here’s FIVE reasons to frequent your local library.
1. Online Access
No need to actually get in your car and drive somewhere to place a book on hold, just use the library website. For new releases, I’m often queued at number 300 or more. Oh well. I have a stack of books to get through first, anyway. I also put books on hold for the kids when they bring home those book catalogs from school. “Okay kids, circle everything you want.” (Kids open catalog and circle a bunch of erasers and gadgets and junk.) “KIDS. I meant books.” And then I get an email when the books become available. If you are homebound, you can even get books through the mail.
2. Peace and Quiet
I want to hug the genius who invented the “be quiet inside the library” norm. The real reason I visit the library is so someone, besides me, will force my kids to use inside voices. Like I said, it’s been a long, rainy winter, and I crave quiet. I sleep with earplugs. It’s hard to be a parent and a reader, no? Our library actually boasts a fireplace with cozy chairs encircling it. It’s absolutely dreamy. Grab a seat facing the children’s section (as to appear responsible) and read away.
3. Kids Events
Each Wednesday after school, our library hosts a kids event for school-age children. Sometimes we attend battle of the books (participants receive complimentary books to keep and read!), while other weeks offer an engineering class or LEGO Maniacs Club. Invite another family and let the library babysit while you converse as adults! Check your local library calendar for activities geared toward babies, toddlers and preschoolers, too! Friday nights and Saturdays often host teen and tween events.
4. Meeting Rooms
One day while hanging at the library, I noticed study rooms lining the back wall. Each enclosed room has a glass door, a window, table and chairs, whiteboards on the walls, and free WiFi. I needed to meet someone for a conference call the next day, so I reserved one of the rooms. We enjoyed our conference call in a free, public, sunny room. Brilliant! What will they think of next? Maybe a suspended indoor track so I can do laps while the kids are occupied?
5. Cultural Passes
Most public libraries in the Portland Metro area offer up to four one-day passes to eight different local museums:
- Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
- Gilbert House Children’s Museum
- Lan Su Chinese Garden
- The Oregon Garden
- Pittock Mansion
- Portland Japanese Garden
- Rice NW Museum of Rocks & Minerals
- Washington County Museum
Must have a library card to reserve. Do you have friends coming into town? Wow them with a trip to a museum AND get free passes to get in!
There are lots of other reasons to visit the library, including wine tasting, game nights, English classes, tutoring and much more. Best of all, it’s is a place to meet friends and build community. Let’s all put down our electronic devices, at least while we drive there, and head to the public library! And feel free to shush me and my kids when you see us. For more information, visit the Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas counties resource websites.