We are frequent visitors at our local library — there’s a train table and a weekly Lego club, and the interlibrary loan feature of the Minuteman Library Network means I can request any book I want and it’s waiting for me at the checkout desk. If you haven’t discovered the digital resources yet, chat up your librarian on your next visit — ebooks, audiobooks, and some shows are just waiting for you to access them on your phone or laptop. There are also Playaway books (audiobooks loaded on MP3 players — great for checking out for car trips or afternoon quiet time) and Launchpads, which are kids’ tablets loaded with educational games and apps. And if you are in the Minuteman or BPL networks, be sure to utilize the museum pass program to visit local museums for free or at a significant discount.
As my son has gotten older, I’ve loved the increased library programming we’ve enjoyed, too. So far this summer we have participated in various building material challenges, taken in a Minecraft-themed magic show, and I’m helping plan an eclipse-viewing party for our local branch. I decided to poll my fellow BMB writers to find out what their favorite neighborhood library features are, and we’ve compiled their responses below. Who knew our library systems contained so many secret gems?
While the Fox Library in East Arlington is geared toward kids — and it houses The Little Fox Shop! — the Robbins Library also has plenty of kids’ programming, including Friday afternoon movies, Thursday evening concerts, and Taco Tuesday Nintendo tournaments for teens. Arlington also has unconventional items for checkout, like Instant Pots, yoga supplies, American Girl dolls, science experiment kits, and a sewing machine.
The main branch of the Boston Public Library has a beautiful new children’s space. This branch offers family yoga classes, concerts in the library’s lovely courtyard, baby dance parties, a Lego/Duplo club, and drop-in homework help for school-aged kids.
The Brookline libraries offer cake pans, telescopes, video games, board games, iPads, and coloring books and pencils for checkout. Plus, look for additional fun programming like Friday morning movies, weekly circle times (some outside or in Russian), and periodic concerts.
The Cambridge Public Library houses the Early Childhood Resource Center and hosts workshops on child development, education, and parenting.
The Dover Town Library offers many unusual objects for checkout. Try rice cookers, bread machines, power tools, American Girl dolls, and a 3-D printer.
Norwood offers knitting needle check out, knitting and sewing circles (including appointments to book for individual help), and you can process your passport application there. Amazing!
Check out toys and musical instruments, or read to a dog (on certain days). This is my local library, so maybe I’ll see you there!
Did we miss your library? Any great hidden perks?