If you are not a regular visitor to your public library, I strongly encourage you to begin bringing your children to your local library and taking advantage of the many services and programs offered by public libraries.
The first and most obvious benefit of a public library for children is books. Books and books and more books! As a resident of a town, you are entitled to a free library card. The way it normally works is that your property taxes help to fund the library and so you are entitled to all of the library’s services without charge. Sometimes there may be a fee to participate in a program and some libraries charge fees for checking out movies, but the library card is free and the vast majority of the library services are free. So you can take your children to the library and they can check out as many books as they like or you can choose books to check out that you want to read aloud to them. This is a great way to read a lot of books without spending money buying books. In addition to books, there are also movies, audiobooks, music CDs, and video games to check out, as well as puzzles and puppets for younger children.
Libraries also offer many great programs for children. First of all is the storytimes that almost all public libraries offer. There are normally storytimes offered for various age groups, such as toddler storytime (ages 2-3), preschool storytime (ages 3-4), and early elementary storytime (grades K-2). Storytimes are normally once a week. The librarians read books to the children, usually accompanied by music and movement, and then do a simple craft following the stories. This is a great way to get kids excited about reading! There are also book discussion groups for older elementary students, where one book is chosen to be read and then discussed. These groups usually meet once a month.
In addition to storytimes, libraries offer a variety of other programs for children. These vary throughout the year. They may include arts and craft activities, movies, special presentations with guest speakers, and author visits. There are many cool programs offered at public libraries and, as I said, most of them are free, so do take advantage of your local library and sign your children up for these fun and educational programs. Some libraries also offer clubs for children, such as a chess club, a video game club, or other such clubs. Programs are available for all ages, from preschoolers to high schoolers.
Some public libraries may also offer homework help for students after school. Public libraries also normally have textbooks from the local school district available for use. They also have computers with Internet access and software programs on them such as Microsoft Office available for children to use. They are also a safe place students can work quietly on their homework.
As you can see, public libraries have much to offer children, so do take advantage of your public library.