I’m a longtime library lover. I have the best memories of spending long summer afternoons at the library with my mom and siblings, browsing books and picking our favorites to bring home. I still get swept up in the delight of a fresh stack of library books and I especially love sharing that joy with my kids. As the weather (hopefully) gets cooler, now is the perfect time to get a stack of books for cozy reading.
Ever since they were little, I’ve loved taking my kids to the library. Whether for story time, to meet up with friends, or just to browse, its a staple to our weekly rhythms. In New Orleans, my favorite library locations is the Rosa Keller Library at Napoleon and Broad and the Old Metairie Library on Metairie Road, which is actually part of the Jefferson Parish Library.
One thing I love is that as an Orleans Parish or Jefferson Parish Library resident, you can get library cards to both locations. This is especially great in regards to using the Libby app because you can enter both your card numbers and gain access to even more resources. If you’re not using Libby yet, you’ve got to get on it! Our family uses Libby on a regular basis. My older two daughters listen to audiobooks via the Libby app and I use it for both Kindle and audiobooks. It’s absolutely free and pretty straightforward to use.
I love letting my kids look through books at the library, but as far as getting quality books that I actually want them to read, I always reserve books ahead of time and pick up our holds stack on our way out. This can be done on the library website just by searching for the book you want, reserving it at your desired pick up location and then waiting for a text or email when it’s ready for you. I will often reserve ten plus picture books and wait for our library visit until those are ready. I also am always reserving books for myself, my favorite is when the hard copy, kindle version and audio version are ready at the same time: I’ve struck gold!
As far as what books to reserve, here is the beauty of Bookstagram. There are several accounts I follow and we usually always enjoy the recommendations. In addition to sharing their favorites on Instagram, these accounts also have blogs where they compile recommendations. My favorite blogs/Instagram accounts for kids books are Every Day Reading, Read Aloud Revival, Heritage Mom Blog, and Brighter Day Press. My favorite Instagram accounts for me are The Lit Homebody, _the_bookish_blonde, Wacoreads, CurrentlyReading (and they’re podcast!), and WhatShouldIReadNext. Plus a little plug for myself, I share lots of book recommendations: JillianBArmstrong.
Another resource that I was recently introduced to the STEM Library Lab in Metairie. At this location you can borrow all sorts of science equipment. This is especially helpful to homeschool groups. Additionally, they have a warehouse space where patrons can get a bagful of free school supplies. An incredible resource.
Another incredible perk is the Library Culture Pass is an incredible way for patrons to enjoy museums and attractions the city. With just your library card, you can reserve tickets to the aquarium, zoo, and a variety of museums—absolutely free of charge!
If you don’t already, make sure to join the library. You can get a card for yourself and your children and add into your routine this amazing resource in our city.