Looking for Free or Cheap Family Entertainment? Try Your Public Library!

Today’s libraries are nothing like they were, even as recently as a decade or two ago. In the late 1990’s some libraries were still transitioning over from card catalogues and many still had microfilm catalogues until very recently. And if the truth be told, it was only in October 2015 that the Online Computer Library Center announced that they had ‘just’ sent their last order of cards to a library in the Bronx.

While some schools still have a paper card catalogue as a backup to a digitized online catalogue, today’s libraries across the nation have gone hi tech. Because of this, libraries have expanded to more than just a book repository and are now a source of education and community activities that are affordable as well as entertaining. If you are looking for free or cheap family entertainment, you just might want to see if your county library has any programs or workshops you could attend.

Image Credit: PennyMindingMom.com
Image Credit: PennyMindingMom.com

Advice from the ALSC

A head librarian with a library science degree such as an online masters in library science has much to offer the community. The Association for Library Services for Children, ALSC, suggests that librarians seek out and offer their communities more than just book related activities. As a division of the American Library Association, the ALSC suggests that other activities that are educational, informative, entertaining and offer a ‘hands-on’ experience to adults and children alike should be offered.

Today’s master of science librarian would be unrecognizable in yesteryear. They now offer classes in computer technology and help with their school district’s literacy programs as an adjunct to what county schools are doing. It’s amazing to see that a library is not a multifunction space where people can learn to sew, knit, cook, fix automobiles and even how to write job résumés.

Programs Suggested by the ALSC

It only stands to reason that librarians of today, and going forward into our digital future, would earn an online MMLIS degree. After all, they are working in a digital age and many of the programs suggested by the ALSC focus on computer science. For example, they suggest that librarians teach a kids’ e-reader class so that kids can learn how to use their Kindles to read e-books. They also suggest a Pokémon Club with kids working in groups with adults on Pokémon GO activities and playing Pokémon Wii games. The categories they suggest county libraries offer include:

  • Drama
  • Games
  • Crafts
  • DIY Classes (i.e. basic home and auto repairs)
  • Tae Kwon Do and Yoga classes
  • Petting ‘Zoo’ Days (for domestic pets like cats, rabbits, mice and dogs)

With a huge assortment of other educational and fun activities. They suggest libraries offer the traditional puppet shows and reading clubs but in addition, they suggest librarians offer help in key areas such as how to operate an office suite, format a spreadsheet and do intensive online research that would not have been possible just a generation ago.

Into the Future

Libraries are nothing like they were and as they continue to move forward into the future, it only stands to reason that a library science degree would change along with the times. More and more emphasis is being placed on Information Technology, IT, so most masters degrees are now inclusive of this forward-leaning trend and are now listed as MMLIS degrees, Master in Management in Library and Information Science.

That’s what the future holds for librarians and so activities will continue to expand along with the times. Looking for free (or cheap) entertainment for the family? Start your search at your public library. There’s always something on of interest to people of all ages.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *