I remember as a child going to the local library with my Mum and getting my first library card at the tender age of six. I was amazed that I could borrow any book and devour its contents. My world had suddenly expanded with the excitement that this new world had brought. This very act of having my own library card made me want to search, borrow, learn and read. It encouraged me to strengthen and build my literacy skills while exposing me to new information and knowledge.
The local library has historically been a place for the community, where we connect, learn and are encouraged to self-educate regardless of our age, education, access or level of wealth. For children, the library is a place of equal access, opportunity and freedom. Through weekly children’s events at the library and through summer reading programs, your local librarians increase your child’s literacy and language skills making them on average far more prepared for the transition into primary school. But far beyond their literacy and language development, children’s programs within a library also fosters their social, emotional and cognitive development through interactions with their peers and the provided programs.
Libraries also provide space for parents to bond with their children whether it be through the programs and activities arranged by library staff or separate spaces for parents to sit with their children to read, enquire and learn. It is through this that lifelong learning habits and appreciations of literature are formed and fostered. Libraries help us learn about the world outside of our families as children and about the other people that inhabit this world. The library informs and educates children about how to empathise and care for others while teaching us about our own history. It is through this that communities are built and children are empowered to grow into independent, educated and empathetic adults who inspire the next generation of children benefiting from the local library. By providing children and their families with positive experiences in the library, we are also giving them space to learn how to process information and develop critical thinking skills that will assist them in dealing with their emotions, social situations and their relationships with others.
It is a joint partnership between the library staff and parents that makes this possible. While the librarians may place time and effort in creating programs that will encourage children’s linguistic knowledge and skills, it is the parent’s integral part of spending this time with their children and encouraging them to recreate their experiences at home that will reinforce the positive association children make between the library, literature and learning. Bayside library provides children’s programs at our library branches where you and your children are more than welcome to join us.