So your child is interested in horses (or beetles or manta rays or castles). If you already read my post, Library Books and Rabbit Trails, you know how great a resource the library can be for answering your kids’ marvelous questions and generating new questions. But you may have a burning question of your own, How can I focus on anything in the library with small children around your ankles (or running down the next aisle over)?! I’m with you. My kids are six, three and two. When I take my kids to the library, it is all I can do to keep them quiet and corralled, much less search the catalog and shelves. That’s why I don’t look up books with my children.
What do I do then?
I keep a mental list of topics my children have asked me about and at night, while visions of sugar plums dance in their heads, I research books online and click the library “hold” button. That button is the sole reason we use the library in this chaoteriffic phase of life.
I’ll break down my process for you.
- On my library’s webpage, I click over to the easy-to-use kids page. There I can browse by book covers rather than by wordy descriptions and I needn’t sort through adult titles. (if your library website doesn’t have this feature, just adjust the audience filter to children’s books).
- There, I type keywords like “hibernation” or “battle ships” into the search bar then scroll through the recommendations and place holds on my favorites. Another perk to using the hold feature (aside from not having to search for books with kids in tow) is that I can choose books from all over my library system then pick them up at my nearest branch. More books to choose from!
- If I want to know more about a particular book, I look it up on amazon.com. On Amazon, I can check ratings and “look inside” the book. For more titles, I scroll down to view amazon’s “Customers who bought this item also bought” section (example). If one catches my eye, I type the title into the library search bar.
- A few days later, I receive a notification that my books have arrived. I can scoop them up on my way to the grocery store or take the kids on a library excursion. The difference is, I can focus on the kids while we are there and swoop by the hold shelf on my way out the door.
I hope this little guide helps you! If your kiddos are not bursting with questions yet, but you want to generate some by testing your library hold system, pluck some titles from the excellent book lists in: Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt, Books Children Love by Elizabeth Laraway Wilson, The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, or any Five in a Row-recommended books. If your library carries these parenting books, you can even put one on the hold shelf.