Eight Ways to Help Your Library
Many librarians love homeschoolers. After all, we are often their best patrons. We know what we want and how to find it. Our children are (generally) well-behaved. But in addition to being good patrons of the library, there are other ways that we as homeschoolers can help our libraries. We can:
- Volunteer on a regular basis during the day. Entire families can shelve books or do “shelf reading,” checking each book to make sure it is in the right place. Older children and teens can plan a storytime or a program for the summer reading club. Plan a program for after-schoolers who go to the library to hang out instead of going home to an empty house. If your library has any sort of Teen Council, encourage your teens to join. If at all possible, join the library board yourself. A homeschooler’s perspective may be a welcome change.
- Participate in the library’s programming. Take the preschoolers to a story time. Go to author visits. Join a book club. (Or, move your existing book club to the library if it’s not already there)
- Teach a class. Parents with tax preparation experience or training can offer their services. Become a computer tutor or reading buddy.
- Raise funds. Massive cuts are forcing many libraries to raise most, if not all, of their book monies. Can your family or homeschool group have a bake sale, yard sale, car wash, or another fundraiser for the library?
- Donate the books we don’t need anymore. I don’t mean those picture book treasures we want to save for our grandchildren, but what about those living books on the Greeks we won’t need since our last child has finished them?
- Do any of us have more Paperback Swap or BookMooch points than we could possibly use? Use these points to request books we wish our library had, and donate them. Or, if our library is a member of either site, donate our extra points.
- Offer to speak or write letters on behalf of the library to the elected officials when budget meetings are held. Write letters to the editor of our local newspaper. Regularly post or share good things about the library on social media.
- Be honest when asked to fill out surveys about the library. Your input, even if it’s negative, helps your library know the community’s interests and concerns. This helps the library staff when they set up budgets, plan programs, and order materials.
We, as homeschoolers, are in a unique position in regard to our libraries. Many of us depend on them to provide or supplement our curriculum. Let’s give them all the support we can.
Karen Robuck is a homeschooling mother of two, an eighth grader and a fifth grader. She holds degrees from Blue Mountain College, a Christian liberal arts college in northeast Mississippi, and from the University of Southern Mississippi. She considers her homeschooling style to be literature-based eclectic with a dash of Charlotte Mason. Formerly a teacher and librarian, she is currently working in media support for a local community college. She lives in Pontotoc, MS with her husband, two children, and a fourteen-year-old cat named Ivan.