Play a game of word association with someone born during the 20th century, and they’ll likely respond with “books” when you mention the word “library.” Ask a child, and you’ll hear everything from “animals” to “puppets” — because libraries in the 21st century do more than promote reading. They’re also community connectors. Activity centers. Gathering spaces. And more.
There’s still plenty of time for kids to enroll in summer reading programs, but don’t stop there. Encourage your child or teen to give other library experiences a spin. It’s a great way to meet other kids, reduce summer boredom and learn new skills. Check out just a few of the options your kids can enjoy at Valley libraries in coming days and weeks…
The Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix is currently home to several exhibits — including one featuring artists’ books from Arizona presses, and another featuring children’s books and original artwork “exemplifying the history and culture of Arizona.” The library’s @Central Gallery is now showing charcoal drawings and abstract imagery from a Jacob Fischer collection dubbed “(un)Familiar Routines.”
Introducing children to art exhibits in library settings helps them to recognize that art is relevant and accessible. They learn to watch for art all around them instead of thinking art is only found in galleries or dedicated spaces. Families who head to the Scottsdale Civic Center Library Sat., June 30 can experience the last day of a traveling “1,000 Journals” exhibit.
The Arabian branch of the Scottsdale Public Library has two unique programs scheduled for July — one focused on computers, another on desert creatures. Kids ages 6 and up can “get up close and personal with some local reptiles” on Tuesday, July 17, during a presentation by the Phoenix Herpatological Society. A “teen tech” lab for youth ages 12 to 18 on Saturday, July 21 shares the basics on designing your own video games.
The Glendale Public Library’s Main branch presents a performance by the Great Arizona Puppet Theater on Monday, July 2 and a screening of the latest movie to feature the Muppets on Thursday, July 5. A four-day “Discovering Arizona” event later that month will help kids and tweens explore reading, writing, drawing and several styles of dance. Think Native American, Mexican, country western and hip hop.
The Tempe Public Library us offering several teen events during July — including an origami class on Tuesday, July 10 and a silk-screen printed T-shirts class on Tuesday, July 24. Most library classes and activities are offered for small groups, so it’s important to register early — and to let them know if you’re not coming after all, so someone else can sign up.
If your children are quite young, watch for story times grouped by age and stage. Often there’s something for the birth to 3 set, as well as children and teens. You can follow your favorite public libraries on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest and greatest info about which branches are featuring puppet shows, arts and craft activities and more.
The days of merely running into libraries to snag a couple of children’s books are long gone. There’s more reason now than ever before to stay and linger for a while.