Let the Library Make Your Life Easier

In any given week, you can find me packing up several books and heading to our local libraries in Lansing usually with a kid, or four, in tow. My family has between 20-50 books checked out all year long. We are fortunate to live in the Lansing area where the Capital Area District Libraries link up together to give a wide range of access to all who live within the communities surrounding Lansing. The East Lansing library, as well, is superb. When most people think of a library, borrowing books is likely what comes to mind first and it is amazing! However, there is so much more your local library can do to make your life easier.

Connect With Others Through Books

It is likely your library has a variety of ways to connect with others in your community through books. One focus is to help you raise readers! All around the city are weekly story times geared towards every age group. There are even family story times. Often, especially for the younger readers, there is a theme with a story or two, a craft, and songs. If you’re unable to make a story time, there are other ways to help your young readers fall in love with books. Through the Capital Area District Libraries, there are “Raising Readers” backpacks that can be checked out. Each backpack is themed and inside are books, toys, and possibly a CD of music or a game to play. Take some of the pressure off yourself for helping your children love to read and bring them to the library! 

Here are a list of story times through the Capital Area District Libraries. 

Another way the library system helps bring people together is through summer reading challenges. Summer reading is for anyone and you can earn prizes while fostering your love for reading. My family does it every year and it helps motivate us throughout the summer months to make reading a priority. 

Finally, there are many clubs that can be found through the libraries in Lansing. Book clubs are held all over the Lansing area bringing people together in their love for mystery novels, non-fiction, books that are movies, and there are several kids book clubs that meet monthly as well. Finding others who share the same love of literature that you do is amazing.  

Here are a list of book groups through the Capital Area District Library. 

The Library Goes Beyond Books

One of the things I’ve learned recently about the library is that you can check out items that go way beyond books! The Capital Area District Libraries has a “Library of Things” catalog. You can check out games like Badminton, Spikeball, and Croquet sets. This would be a great way to try out a new hobby like sewing – you can check out a sewing machine right through the library! The “Library of Things” catalog has more than twenty board games, multiple coding toys, and a family pass to Potter Park Zoo just to name a few. They even have items to check out for your home such as energy meters, stud finders, and metal detectors. My family has had enriching experiences being able to borrow games, toys, and tools. Being able to check out items and bring them back has saved on storage space and made our life easier!

Here are a list of categories in the “Library of Things” catalog.   

Opportunities That Support Learning

One thing about the libraries in Lansing system is clear: they want to help you learn! Beyond the wealth of knowledge the librarians have to help you find just the book you’re looking for, the library community has many opportunities to help foster a love of learning. One service available at the library is homework and tutoring help. Many of the libraries in the Lansing area have drop-in homework help times. My local Capital Area District Library branch, Okemos, has an English to Speakers of Other Languages Reading Practice Group and a virtual group who meets to practice speaking Spanish. Our libraries offer so many services to support learning!

In addition, libraries in Lansing have clubs for many hobbies including knitting, video games, writing, trivia, Minecraft, and Euchre. Whatever passion you may have, it’s likely the library already has a club for it. What a fantastic way to connect with others in the community and the library has already done the work for you! Just show up!  

The libraries have such a variety of opportunities to connect us, support learning, and make our lives easier! Beyond being able to have access to countless books, there is so much more to experience through our library system. How does the library make your life easier? 

Looking to grow the love of reading even more? Check out How to Get Your Family to Read More and Picture Books That Celebrate Family Diversity.

Kristin Hundt
Kristin Hundt is a fervent teacher, learner, and global citizen. Spending more than twelve years as a middle school teacher, she is currently taking a leave from the classroom to explore her passions and stay at home with her children. She is a world-traveler in training, writer, music and photography enthusiast, and semi-professional book pusher. Kristin loves nothing more than to go on 'adventures' with her husband and four young boys learning about and serving the world around them.


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