I had always planned on having lots and lots of books in our house for our kids to read. For baby gifts or birthday gifts if I am asked, I usually say books or art supplies. I still like having books that we own, but as we have began trying to live more simply and with less “things”, books have also come under scrutiny. We realized that we don’t necessarily need to own shelves and shelves of books because we have good libraries available to us free of charge. Right now, most of the books that belong to the girls fit into a large African Baobab (or is it Sisal?) bag. Of course, their library will expand as they grow and as we discover titles that we really want or that they are given. At this point though, the Library is a great option.
–    It is a fun and free outing that adds flavor to our day, especially during the winter months.

–  Most are have a section just for kids, which includes kid sized comfy seating, a few toys for the little ones, and boxes of books that they can freely look through with low shelves that are accessible for choosing take home books.

–   You can read books before purchasing and it is a much more economical way to rotate books without spending a lot of money.

–  The variety is great and often there is a broader lending system. For example here in Alberta, we have our town library, municipal system and then the entire province so I order books from all over the place if our system doesn’t have what I want. And I can do it all online before going to the library. Librarians are also often excellent resources when you need ideas.

–  I like that the borrowing from the library teaches responsibility. We learn to care for what doesn’t belong to us, we learn to return books on time (I am the first to admit I am still learning that one!) and sometimes we even learn to take responsibility for damage we cause. (I actually think it was good for Aneliese to come to the bookstore with me when I replaced the book that Cecily tore and she is now careful to keep her library books out of Cecily’s hands).

–  This may just me but I feel like it fosters a sense of community. We are sharing a resource given to us, we meet other families when we attend things like story club and mother goose, and Aneliese considers the library ladies very valuable people in her life.

–  Best of all, the library is for all members of the family! Usually, we all leave with something, whether it is a book, magazine, novel, how to book, or movie.

So may I suggest that if your kids don’t have a library card they should get one and if they do, use it often!