Quick - Where Is Your Library Card?!

Jack checking out books with his first library card. Lake Elm Library, MN

Jack checking out books with his first library card. Lake Elm Library, MN

If you spend considerable time with the Grandkids, we really have to talk about the library – have you looked at their event listings lately?! And checked out the newest equipment - like 3D printers and sewing machines?! We have more than 100 libraries in our Twin Cities Metro area, but I hope this inspires all of you in other states to dust off your library card as well.


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Obviously, different libraries are going to have different resources, but an offering might still be close by. My Grands lived in Blaine through October, and we tried many libraries in the northern suburbs. The Brooklyn Park Library (pictured here) is like a small children’s museum, with fun vacuum tubes, a variety of play tables including play food prep with a grill, a reading house, an alphabet magnet board and giant lite brite wall. The Shoreview Library has lots of open play space and fab toddler story hours. The picture books are shelved in lower bins, so you can do your choosing while keeping an eye on the kidlets. I credit library story hours for my two learning how to “sit on their pockets” for any length of time. At Jack’s first visit to a story hour (then 2), he went right to the front, stood in front of the librarian, and announced, “Hi, I’m Jack!” like everyone was gathered to meet him! Yep, just like his mother!

Even little libraries have their charms. Jack and Grace are now in Lake Elmo where they get great personal attention from the librarian, and the library hosts wonderful community events, like building gingerbread houses with all the supplies and cleanup!

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In Minnesota, we have amazing resources available in many of our libraries and free classes to learn how to use them. The 3D printer and laser cutter at the George Latimer Central Library Innovation Lab are designed for adult use, but I think an older school age child would be really impressed by learning to use these machines together. And there is a “Making Stuffed Animals” class designed for adults on Sunday afternoons that would allow you to bring a 12+ with sewing experience. There is also a class in making movies with your mobile device on a Saturday you could both have fun with, and an Adobe Premier Lab for editing your movies. What if you started a genealogy search together? They’ve got a class for that. Or check out this StoryKit! Right now, just outside the library in Rice Park, they are stacking 600 lb. ice blocks for a Winter Carnival Ice Palace, and you could bring your skates for Winterskate. In warmer months, Rice Park is still compelling, grab a hot dog and soda from George's cart and lunch on a park bench.


The Library might be  just the inspiration you need to read a book together for those teens and tweens that are harder to connect with. Our library system has a Read Brave series, a annual, city-wide program encouraging youth and adults to read and come together around a young adult novel. The program encourages intergenerational dialog about thought-provoking, contemporary issues facing teens and culminates with an author visit. The 2018 pick is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

This month, the Minneapolis Central Library has offerings in Building a Portfolio and Marketing for Artists, Craft Clubs with all materials provided, and several Teen Clubs including Anime, and Dungeons and Dragons, and a Lego Lab - kids' events almost daily. Another month they might have writing classes put on by the Loft. The home page also offers related reading for the new kids’ movies, like Jumanji and Ferdinand. The littles will even like the elevators, with multimedia displays and views of the atrium at you ride.


SMART Passes, offer free tickets and museum admissions with your library card throughout our eight library systems.

MN Writes and Reads helps you create, design and export your own ebook with Pressbooks.

And don’t forget the fab Summer Reading Programs for the Grands with prizes and lots of reading engagement activities.

Check out the website to see all that is available for you too! Lots of tech classes, photoshop, making a business plan, you name it – ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines, 80 language courses, and the fab Lynda.com online instruction tool, all free. They even offer courses on how to use Lynda.com! There is so much you can do while “sitting on your pockets” on your own couch. Saint Paul Public Library System has an "older adult specialist" to guide you. In January and February there is the annual Fireside Reading Series by Minnesota authors, and a Winter Wellness Series with workshops. The New York Public Library offers more than 93,000 programs on everything from knitting to coding, for kids and adults of every conceivable age and expertise! 

Write and tell us what you discover at your library! We want to know!