Is the Public Library a Dying Institution?

When was the last time you or your children visited the library? Devoted patrons sing the praises of their local libraries, but others don’t really see the point of visiting any longer. In fact, with the rise of the digital age, many people are wondering if libraries are a dying establishment. We believe there are several reasons local public libraries are still a valuable resource to the public.Are Libraries a Dying Institution? Red Apple Reading blog

Red Apple Reading offers up a few reasons why visiting your local library is still a good idea!

  • It’s fun! – If you give me unlimited access to a building filled with books – that’s enough for me! However, there is so much more to experiencing a library than wandering the bookshelves (though you really should give that a try sometime!). I find that one of the best outings I can offer my younger son is a trip to the children’s section of our local library. He can use the cool interactive Promethean table, visit the pet turtle, and play with all of the cool blocks and games they have available.
  • Peace and Quiet – Parents know how challenging it can be to get work done at home. However, I can always pack up my laptop and head to the library. Not only do I have access to free WiFi, I also have access to a peaceful and relatively quiet environment.
  • Technology – It’s easy to think of libraries as antiquated buildings with dusty books, but in reality most libraries have changed with the times. Our local library has several computers available for public use. They also have a wonderful website that allows me to checkout or renew books online, download books, and view computer tutorials.
  • Public Services – Libraries also offer wonderful services to the community. Very often they present classes on government programs, personal finance, and computer seminars. They also often have weekly story time and activities for children. A quick check of the library website will show you what services are available in your town.
  • Socialization – While it is super convenient to take care of tasks from the comfort of your own home, this doesn’t allow you to interact with other people. Local libraries afford visitors the opportunity to socialize with one another. Book clubs, creative writing classes, story time, and movie viewings are just a few examples of ways libraries encourage socialization.
  • Books! – Yep, this one is a no-brainer, but it bears reminding that libraries offer access to a wide variety of reading materials. Sure, I could download any book I want onto my tablet, but it might not be free!

Perhaps, instead of heading toward extinction, libraries are merely evolving. Whatever your views are about the relevance of libraries, we think you will be touched by this heartwarming story about a secret library in Syria. You’ll be amazed at how one library has changed the lives of a war torn community.

 

5 Reasons School Libraries Rock!

Support Your School Library - Red Apple Reading

Many of us have fond memories of visiting our own school library as youngsters. Unfortunately, most of us are guilty of taking the libraries in our schools for granted. Have you ever considered what your local school system would be like without its library? In honor of School Library Month, Red Apple Reading would like to remind our readers why school libraries are such precious gems!

 

  1. School Libraries Provide Opportunity – Many of us would take our children to our local public library if the school system did not provide one to its students. However, this is not the case for many children. For some kids, visiting the school library is the only opportunity they have to read books.
  2. School Libraries Afford Convenience – Let’s face it, even those of us who love books don’t make it to our public library as often as we would like. Children in most school systems have the convenience of having a library within walking distance of their classroom. You can’t beat that for easy access!
  3. School Libraries Speak to Importance – Having a whole section of school dedicated to a collection of good reading material speaks volumes to students about the importance of reading. When a school system invests in good libraries, children understand (even if only sub-consciously) that books are valuable.
  4. School Libraries Offer Inspiration – School libraries help produce creativity in children. The fun atmosphere and abundance of books from which to choose inspires kids. Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, says, “School libraries introduce kids to whole new worlds and new perspectives and are so important in broadening kids’ minds.” School libraries provide a stimulating alternative to much of what passes for “entertainment” these days.
  5. School Libraries Employ Librarians – You can’t possibly overstate the importance of a good school librarian! After all, what is a library without its librarian? School librarians cultivate relationships with their students and point them to books that will interest them. They teach children to respect and properly take care of reading material. Plus, we all remember how fun it was to go to the library and listen as the librarian read a story to us! We owe a debt of gratitude to these “keepers of books”!

If your kiddo attends a school with a library, you have good reason to be grateful! Why not pop into your child’s school sometime and thank the librarian for her hard work? While you’re there, ask how you can help support the library program. Let’s do all we can to invest in this important institution! Visit the A.A.S.L. website for more information about school library month.

 

Love Your Library!

Love Your Library! Red Apple Reading

Has your love for your local library grown cold? How long has it been since you’ve spent quality time together? Perhaps you used to have a serious relationship with the library, but over the years other commitments have come between the two of you. It’s never too late to renew a relationship with your local library and there’s no better time than now – Library Lovers’ Month!

 

 

When is Library Lovers’ Month?
The whole month of February is Library Lovers’ month. Although half of the month has already passed, you still have many more days to express your love, as well as the rest of the year! So while you’re remembering that special someone this Valentine’s Day, make sure to think about the libraries in your community as well. After all, libraries need love too!

What Is Library Lovers’ Month?
According to librarysupport.net, “Library Lovers’ Month is a month-long celebration of school, public, and private libraries of all types. This is a time for everyone, especially library support groups, to recognize the value of libraries and to work to assure that the Nation’s libraries will continue to serve.” Now that’s a mission we can all get behind!

Why Should I Love Libraries?
Libraries provide a plethora of free educational resources to the community. How great is it that we can visit a library on any ordinary day and borrow a book for free?! Libraries not only provide books to the public, they usually also offer other resources such as children’s story time, tutoring, internet access, and other fun activities. Visit your local library for a calendar of upcoming library sponsored events.

How Can I Show Love to My Library?
I’m glad you asked! There are many ways that you can express your affection for this great reading institution. Get the whole family involved and have the kiddos make cards for their school and public librarians. You could also contribute books, money, or your time. Even something as simple as a smile and a “thank you” will go a long way to making your librarian’s day! For other creative ideas on how to show love to your library, visit librarysupport.net.

It’s time to rekindle a relationship with your community library! Encourage your children to visit their school library and make sure to take everyone on regular trips to the local public library. Red Apple Reading is passionate about increasing childhood literacy, and consistent library trips are a great way to promote literacy within your own family.

Taking Advantage of Your Public Library

Taking Advantage of Your Public Library - Red Apple Reading Express

When was the last time you visited your public library? If you already have a hefty collection of books in your own personal library, you may not see a need to make a trip to the library in your community. However, your local library may have a plethora of resources for you and your child that you are unaware of. In this post we will explore just a few of the hidden gems you can find in your local library.

Story Time
Aahh…story time. Many of us have fond memories of circling up on the carpet and listening intently as the librarian read to us while she held the book open so we could see the pictures. How did she read upside down like that? This time honored tradition is still alive and well at most libraries across the country. Many even offer a related activity or craft afterwards. There is something magical about listening to a story read aloud with a group of our peers. When we give our little ones the opportunity to share a story together, it helps to instill a love of reading in them. Most libraries have at least one scheduled story time available each week. Check your local library’s calendar and see when your little one can participate.

Downloadable Products
While story time is an oldie but goodie, our kids have access to something we never did as young library patrons: a digital library! Many local libraries have links on their web sites where you can check out free downloadable books. Audio, EPub, and Kindle books are a few of the options that are typically available through a digital library. Is your child obsessed with electronics? Why not offer him a book to read on your e-reader? Do you have a long trip coming up? How about downloading some audio books onto an MP3 player to help your youngster pass the time? And remember…there are several great adult titles available as well. So while you’re at it, download a couple for yourself. You can check your local library’s policy on how many digital books can be checked out at a time and when they expire.

Virtual Library
Gone are the days of going to the bookshelf and choosing which encyclopedia you need for a report. A simple look on your library’s home page will most likely reveal a link to a world of knowledge! You will probably find access to your state’s virtual library. Virtual libraries give patrons access to encyclopedias, periodicals, and many other child-friendly resources. For instance, I found a link to the Britannica School Edition for elementary school kids via my local library’s website. So if your kiddo is interested in penguins, the two of you can poke around and find lots of cool (pardon the pun) facts from a kid friendly source!

Homework Help
If your child is struggling with a subject and needs a little extra help, talk to your librarian about available tutoring options. Many libraries offer free after-school tutoring on certain days of the week. If drop in tutoring is not an option, many libraries offer online tools that match students to live online tutors. So whether sitting down across the table or via computer screen, your library may be able to provide the homework help your student needs!

Is your public library an overlooked resource in your community? Today is a great day to explore the many benefits of your own local library! What do you think? We would love to hear about some of the resources/events you take advantage of at your public library.

Establishing Reading Routines at Home – Reading Essentials Series #3

I can remember when my daughters were little; my favorite time of the evening was story time. Their hair would smell freshly washed and they’d have their jammies on. They’d each pick a favorite picture book from the shelf, or we might be in the middle of a chapter book from the Magic Tree House series, and we’d crowd together on the bed and snuggle in to read before bedtime. Even now, when I say goodnight to my 16-year-old, I know she goes to bed and reads on her eReader before the lights go out.

Many experts suggest that you establish a reading routine with your child early on. You can begin building your home library by purchasing books or making frequent trips to a local public library. Library trips can become an enjoyable family outing, and can build excitement for your child around the selection of books. Ask family members and friends to buy books for holiday and birthday celebrations – your children may already have plenty of toys as it is. For tech-savvy families, downloading eBooks and visiting websites with book reviews and online storybooks can be just as much fun.

In establishing a reading routine at home, one of the most important goals to keep in mind is the creation of a positive reading environment. While the acquisition of specific reading skills is essential to a child’s development, so too is the establishment of reading as an enjoyable activity. Children who are forced to read or given no choice in reading materials will often end up not reading for enjoyment at all, and without the continued practice they will inevitably begin to slip in their reading skills. There are many ways in which you can foster a positive reading environment for your child at home:

  • Model the importance of reading at home by demonstrating your own interest in reading, letting your child observe you reading books, magazines, the newspaper, or materials on an eReader.
  • Fill your home with reading materials your child can access, such as children’s magazines, picture books, or reference books written for children. Use these materials to learn new information, or as a basis for research.
  • Find internet reading resources, and let your child experience reading through interactive games and electronic picture books. Red Apple Reading has instructional videos and engaging activities that will help your child learn how to read.
  • Encourage your child to share information learned through reading, and acknowledge when a child draws a connection from reading material. You can also share news articles that are of interest to you with your child.

Also important to fostering a positive reading environment at home is establishing a daily reading time with your child. Once you have reading material in the house, pick a particular time of the day–perhaps just before bed, first thing in the morning, or both! -and designate that as a time to read with your child. When reading a book, take the time to point out anything notable in the pictures, and pause on any page that your child seems particularly interested in. When your child begins to speak, be sure to answer questions he might have about words, pictures, and the story line as it develops.

Reading to your child with expression can also be helpful in maintaining her interest, and it gives your child an introduction to the natural phrasing of sentences and written language. You can emphasize punctuation, create dramatic build-up when a big event is about to happen in the story line, or even come up with distinct voices for different characters. The more engaging and entertaining a story seems to a child, the more likely he will be to focus during reading. Here you’ll find even more great tips on reading aloud to children.

Do you and your family have any reading routines you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!