Library Strategy: Toddler Edition


I visit the library a lot.

Almost as often as once a week.

Which, if you have a toddler, may seem like a lot.

But I’m here to share the good news: if you love to read and your current obsession with browsing the shelves isn’t working for you, there is a better way.

Here’s how to do it:

Keep track of the books you want to read. I use Goodreads (add me or follow me !) but I’m sure you could use a paper and pen (I just always lose those!). Whenever I hear about book I might like to read, whether it be by word of mouth, blog review, or just seeing what my goodreads friends are reading, I add it to my ‘to read‘ list. This list is handy because you can choose what order everythings shows up in. You can list by author or title or put them in the order you want to read them. I put them roughly in the order I would like to read them. I like this because I get to read what I’ve actually decided I want to read instead of just getting random books that may or may not actually be good.

Utilize your library’s online catalogue and hold system. I began doing this when I was in my last couple semesters at school, was pregnant and did not have the time to trundle up and down four floors of our library to find the two or three books necessary for my research paper.
These days I put the top 3-4 books (my library has a limit five book hold limit) from my to-read list on hold and then wait for the email telling me one or more of them is ready to be picked up.

Make your trip to the library confident that a major meltdown can be avoided. The boring (pictureless) book part will take the two minutes it takes to find your books in the hold shelf and the rest of your trip can be spent picking out more interesting picture books with your kiddo. Or at least in the kid section of the library where your little is slightly more welcome to rampage and you can select books as you will.

Take advantage of the kid-friendly activities your library has to offer. We recently started going to story-time once a week (though we’ll have a bit of a break now because they take August off). Ranger is so social and adventuresome he would really like to go places everyday. That doesn’t usually happen. But these free activities are fun options for his entertainment.
We’ve only gone to the Spanish story-time so far, but we’ll try the English story-times (Spanish isn’t offered) when they start again in September, providing the newest little allows it.

Keep it interesting. For him, I try to vary the books I get him each week. This time he got one book in Spanish* (Goodnight, Moon) and a few others just for our entertainment (usually at least one he chooses himself). He really enjoys looking at books on the way home from the library.
For myself, I try to get one books from each category I have going in my to-read list. These days I am likely to be reading a parenting/birth type book, a marriage book, a book on some spiritually growing issue, and a book for fun/self-improvement (whether it be a novel or a book on some aspect of one of my hobbies – writing, running, reading, etc.). It’s been interesting and good for keeping my brain going.

*I recently started trying to get him a book in Spanish every now and then. And yes, we’ve gone to Spanish story-time a couple times. It’s fun for me and interesting for him and maybe, just maybe, he’ll be closer to learning the language if we actually spend time in it every day or two. Even if it’s just a few minutes. He tends to get impatient with the spanish books more quickly, but I think it’s good for his brain. I guess that’s what happens when your mother double-majored in Spanish and Linguistics. :) I might start speaking to him in Spanish a bit more when he gets a little bigger, but for now English is enough trouble for him to communicate in. :)

Do you have any tips to add?
Who else is on Goodreads?
Are there any other library addicts present?

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