6 Library Hacks You Never Knew You Needed

When you think about the library, the first thing that might come to mind is that dark, musty place you used to go to take cat naps between classes back in college. But if you haven't been inside a library since you were a student, you might want to think about getting reacquainted. Your local library can be a great place to take your children, especially when it's too cold for the playground. And the best part of all — it's totally free. But before you make the trip, there are some useful library hacks all moms need to know.

Believe it or not, the library is more than just books. Most branches have story time for babies and toddlers, arts and crafts, homework help and other kid-friendly activities on an ongoing basis. Get familiar with your local branch's schedule so you know the best days and times to visit.

But even if there aren't any structured activities going on, most libraries have a kid-friendly section full of books, toys, and games for the little ones. And in case you were wondering, it's probably one of the only places in the library where it's perfectly ok to speak above a whisper.

The next time your kids have cabin fever, take a trip to your local library. It can be a great way to have fun and cultivate a life-long love of reading.


Don't Forget The Due Date

When you check out books or videos from your library, be sure to keep track of their due dates so you can avoid paying fines. If possible, sign up for email reminders, or check the status of your account on the library's website.


Get The Lay Of The Land

Whether you're looking for picture books, easy readers, or YA novels, it can be helpful to know where everything lives. This is particularly important if your local library is fairly large. If you know exactly where to look, you and your little ones can have a lot more time for reading.


Reserve Your Favorite Titles

My daughter is a huge fan of the Fancy Nancy series. . . and so is every other girl in our neighborhood. So if I see that my local library has a copy of one of her favorites, I grab it like a pair of Super Bowl tickets. Most libraries will allow you to reserve titles online to pick up at a later date.


Know The Schedule

Libraries usually have lots of kid-friendly activities that are free of charge. Find out when your local library has story time, craft projects, or other activities geared towards your child's age group and plan your visits accordingly.


Get To Know The Librarians

When you're visiting the library, make sure you get to know the librarians. They can be a great resource for finding your favorite titles, and introducing you to some new authors you and your kids may not be familiar with. They may also be a resource for other events and activities going on in your community.


Know The Rules

If you're traveling with kids, it can be helpful to know ahead of time if your library has any special rules to help you plan your visit. Are snacks allowed? Is there a stroller parking area? What about a changing table? Knowing the answers to these questions can help you pack accordingly.