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The Public Library: A Great Resource for Homeschooled Children

by Miriam Downey 10. May 2013 07:52

One of my fondest memories as a child was walking up the marble steps of the Carnegie Library in the little town in Minnesota where I spent my early childhood. I was overwhelmed by the surprises that awaited me--more books than I could possibly imagine and a story time once a week. And that was before computers, DVDs, and audio books and all the other wonders that libraries now hold.

Some important new research from the Pew Research Center finds that the majority of parents, especially those with children younger than 18, view the library as an important resource for their children. See how you compare with the parents in the Pew study. "Some 50 percent of parents with children under the age of 12 read to their children every day, and another 26 percent read to their children at least a few times per week." The younger the children, the more likely that parents are to read with them every day. Mothers especially are more likely than fathers to take their children to the library.

A research analyst for the Pew project commented: "Parents' ties to libraries are all the more striking because parents are more likely than other adults to have computers, Internet access, smartphones, and tablet computers. the presence of this technology in their lives might make them less reliant on libraries . . . but the opposite is the case--the more technology they have, the more they're likely to take advantage of library services." You can find the Pew research study here.

It is likely that the public library is even more important to home school families. All across the country, public libraries are realizing that the homeschooling population is growing, and many, if not most, public libraries are offering services to families, including programming, resource services, special computer services, websites, and special story hours for home school groups.

Here are 10 good reasons to take your child to the library:

1. It's Free.

2. It is much more than a collection of popular fiction books. There is something for everyone.

3. Downloads, online resources, and media are free. Most libraries now lend ebooks.

4. There are great librarians eager to help.

5. You can get recommendations and help with material choices.

6. Children's programming and special events.

7. Free wifi and computers.

8. Special programming and materials for home schoolers.

9. Supporting your library supports the community.

10. It's free.

 Free public libraries are one of the great assets that we have in our democracy. We will only have them if we continue to support them and use them. Here are some interesting books about libraries and librarians that you can find in--of course--your local library.

Picture Books

Miss Brooks Love Books! (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner. A first grader finds a book that she can love.

D.W's Library Card by Marc Brown. D.W. has learned to write her name and can get her own library card.

Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. The animals wander into the town library with humorous results.

The Inside-Outside Book of Libraries by Julie Cummins. A well-illustrated look at a variety of libraries.

Walter's Magic Wand by Eric Houghton. Walter finds magic in the library.

Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack. Tricia Ann is on her way to the library for the first time in the Jim Crow segregated South.

Chapter Books

Return to the Library of Doom series by Michael Dahl. The librarian and the specialist save the world in a series of chapter books for grades 4-6.

The New York Public Library Kid's Guide to Research by Deborah Heiligman. an excellent guide for middle graders who are doing research for the first time.

The Library Cat by Vicki Myron. How an abandoned kitten changed the life of the librarian-author. There is also an adult version of this book.

Here Lies the Librarian by Richard Peck. How a small town library changed the lives of the inhabitants.

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians series by Brandon Sanderson. Four zany adventures involving thirteen-year-old Alcatraz and a host of evil librarians.

The Library Card by Jerry Spinelli. Four stories about the magic of having a library card.

Teenage Book

The World's Strongest Librarian by Josh Hanagarne. A remarkable memoir about a librarian and weightlifter with Tourette Syndrome. Very inspirational.

The Library Cat by Vicki Myron. How an abandoned kitten changed the life of the librarian-author. There is also a chapter book version of this book.

Dear Miss Breed: True Stories of the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II and a Librarian Who Made a Difference by Joanne Openheim.

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