How to Enjoy Library Visits

with Young Children

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I regularly take my daughter to the library, luckily for me, she loves books as much as I do and we both enjoy our weekly visits. I know that a trip to a library can seem intimidating to some parents, not knowing how children will behave or respond to a relatively calm environment can be difficult. 

If you want to take your child or toddler to a library but you’re not sure how to start keep reading as I’m sharing lots of tips in today’s blog. 

Will you both enjoy it?

I’m very lucky that my daughter loves getting new books each week. She regularly asks to go to the library and I know she enjoys it. But what if you’ve never taken your child and you’re worried their personality might not suit a visit? If your child is loud, hyperactive, and excitable you may be worried about how staff and other visitors to the library will react. If you and your child may not enjoy going to the library that’s totally ok. There are lots of activities that don’t suit my daughter as she’s very sensitive and quite demanding at times. Sometimes we have to accept that not all places will suit our children. 

 However, if you want to give it a go sit down with your child first and discuss what a library is and what it’s like there. Perhaps you could role-play that you’re visiting before you really go. Set your child up for success and prepare them (and you) beforehand. If it doesn’t work out whilst you’re there it’s ok to leave, it’s not a failure.

Choose the right library

We go to two libraries, one small community-run one and a large council-run one in the city where we live. Both have wonderful children’s areas where play is encouraged. Our small local library has lots of toys and crafts set up and it’s also a very important part of the community. It’s a well-used library where children are encouraged to come. The larger city one has a separate cornered off “room” just for children, again the staff are welcoming and love to see children using the space and playing. 

It’s important to find a library that welcomes and encourages children. This way you’ll feel more relaxed about your visit and won’t worry about being perfectly quiet and well-behaved.

Be prepared

Bring water and snacks for your child and find a comfortable place to sit and set up a “base” where you can pile up the books you’d like to take home, other little hands do tend to take books you’ve set aside so make sure your books are in the pram etc!. By making sure tummies are full and no one is tired before you arrive will mean you’ll all be able to enjoy the visit a lot more.

It was always difficult to convince my daughter to leave the library so when she was younger I’d pick a pop-up or lift the flap book for her to look at in the pram ride home. Having a new book for her to read helped her leave tantrum-free, usually!

Give your child some autonomy

Letting your child choose a few books that they’d like to borrow helps them feel part of the whole process. My daughter usually chooses books that I dislike but it helps her confidence and gets her excited about reading. My local library also encourages the children to stamp the return dates on their books which is very cute.

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About the Author

Nancy Straughan a is stylist, and interior photographer in Newcastle upon Tyne where she lives with her husband and daughter. Follow Nancy and her gorgeous photography at @nancy_straughan.