Where can you expand your kids' horizons and skills for free? The library

Where can you expand your kids' horizons and skills for free? The library

As a parent, I want to both give my teen the perspective she needs to know just how much this big world has to offer and the skills to take advantage of all those endless opportunities.

Do you know where I can do that for free? The local library.

As Albert Einstein said, "The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”

I've been thinking about the awesomeness of the library given that this week is National Library Week. I fear that teens are pretty oblivious to what the library offers. They have all the answers in their phone, right? And it's possible that many adults feel the same way. But libraries can be great places for teens with some pretty amazing resources.

These stats from the Young Adult Library Services Association offer some good insight:

  • 97% of libraries have a dedicated teen section, 
  • 87% of public libraries offer services and programs for teens,
  • 46% of libraries offer teens leadership roles via teen advisory groups, and
  • There are more public libraries in the U.S. than McDonald's or Starbucks.

If you haven't checked out the local library's teen offerings lately, take a peek. A quick look at my local library's website showed some pretty helpful events, including a teen resume and job interview workshop, a prep session for upcoming AP tests, and a seminar on how to take better notes in class. There were also groups and events focused just on fun, including a Wii U Tournament, an Anime Club and a showing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Tech was also well-covered, with a 3D printing session just for teens.

Libraries also offer volunteer opportunities over the summer, which can be a great opportunities for tweens and teens who have aged out of summer day camps but aren't yet old enough to have a job, and those who are just looking to contribute to their communities.

Speaking of summer, one of our family goals for this summer will be regular trips to the library. For programs, to pick up movies, for CD's and audiobooks to listen to on our road trips,  and also just to see what's happening there at any given time.

I realize that I often stop by the library when my teen isn't with me, and I know that seeing me use the library regularly is really important. She did know that I checked out a few travel guides for our recent trip to New York and  took them with us. They were full of great info and not purchasing them saved some money.

It's possible that teens think the library isn't cool, but a few visits may just change their mind. (Or perhaps try sharing this article from Teen Vogue with them.)

Prior Post: Information parents should know about Netflix's 13 Reasons Why

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