I LOVE our Library.
I should restate; I love our Libraries. And I don’t just mean the branches of one system. I have a warm place in my heart for Dayton Metro, Washington-Centerville, Greene County, and Wright Memorial Library.
I’m going to let you in on the secret to finding abundant, free, and educational (library) activities all over town.
First, one thing to set straight: you do NOT need a library card to attend a Library activity. Some programs do need registration, but they for ask name/phone number/email. In Dayton, you CAN have a Library card from each of these systems (I do). Just be mindful if you check out from a Library you don’t normally attend, you’ll have to return to that same system.
The nitty gritty of what I do to find wonderful library activities is simple, really. At the start of a “library season” (think back to school, after Christmas and summer), I look for interesting or unique offerings. Yeah. That’s basically it. I find fun events because I look for them.
Here’s how to look.
At individual branches, there are often printed out schedules for current or upcoming months. Go to your most convenient branch and see if they have a paper schedule. My best advice, however, is the Library website. When using the search options in the program/event pages, check or uncheck menus for the date, type, age group, and location. THIS is the mother load of Library events.
Storytimes are listed for every occurrence and can feel cluttered to sift through, but sometimes even those can yield great information. For instance, a day, time or location that works for your family can yield an event you had not known about. Or around some holidays there are extra themed storytimes to attend. Some branches even offer offsite events like StoryThyme at Fresh Thyme.
Many of the special events are register-only so here is my biggest tip. When looking ahead in the schedule oftentimes the events are not yet able to be registered for. They list the day the registration becomes available, so mark that date down! Make a note in your calendar to register for that future event. By doing this, I have never missed out on an event I wanted.
My absolute favorite library activities I’ve found by looking through the library website calendars. We’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the Wave Foundation with Newport Aquarium, Boonshoft Museum of Discovery, Bellbrook Sugarcreek Park District, Brukner Nature Center, Aullwood Audubon Center, Think TV, Dayton Ballet, and more. All free, just have to look for them.
DMB Tip: Often special events circulate through several branches. If you see an offering the day or time doesn’t work for you, check other branches for a repeat.
Let me dish on storytimes. Yes, we read together at home but it is not the same. Librarians are gifted orators (the best ones are), bringing life and vibrancy to books you’d never think to open. Also, the songs and rhymes between books can be really delightful.
DMB Tip: Don’t be afraid to drag siblings along to their not-normal storytime. Older siblings to younger activities and vice versa.
Some library systems are very structured about their storytime attendance. Others offer family storytimes and are very come-and-go oriented. Check your branch to find how best to attend with your family.
The greater Miami Valley has a plethora of Library offerings and I encourage you to look and find your next great adventure. From babies to life-long-learners, our Library systems have so much to offer. I hope these tips help you fully experience your local Libraries.