We all know how awesome our local librarians are. And we all understand the beauty that is found from having a huge building full of books, plus all those within the network of libraries, at your fingertips. We also know what it feels like to always owe a fine because we check out three hundred books a week. But perhaps, like me, you are still uncovering the amazing ways homeschoolers can use their local library. If so, keep reading.

The Display Cabinet

Does your library have a big glass cabinet which is often filled with a selection of themed books or a local artists pieces? Every time I have asked if our co-op or a group of homeschoolers could display a handful of assignments or special projects, they have jumped at the idea. Librarians seem to love to refill the cabinet or other display shelves with items from the community, plus it is something they don’t have to plan! My kids love seeing their work displayed. We take our pictures next to it and make a big deal about having it shown to the whole (mini-librarian) world.

The Library Sale

Many local libraries have at least one good sale a year, perhaps two. At these sales, you can find books that are a little too tattered to keep in circulation or are no longer being checked out enough to warrant taking up shelf space. I often see outdated atlases or other research texts. I grab the largest world atlases and use the maps for craft projects or wrapping paper. One of my daughters always rips France out to hang in her bedroom and we enjoy looking at how European nations are renamed. The other research texts provide an ample source of good pictures to cut out for projects, science especially.

The Community Room

How many times have you walked through your library and noticed that great big room left all alone? These spaces are often available free of charge for non-profits or community groups to use. This is a great place to reserve for co-op events, book clubs, homeschool parent meetings or brain-storming sessions. Ask your library for their usage rules and get ready to use that room!

Random Things

Hopefully, your library system is cool like mine. We can check out specialty cake pans, tools, sewing machines, knitting/crocheting supplies, puzzles and other educational toys, and museum passes. I am thankful to have access to these great items because we get to “try them out” before we decide if we want to invest in owning them ourselves. This is a fun way to explore new skills without spending money, except for the overdue fines, of course.

What interesting ways do you use your library as a homeschooler? Does your library offer something amazing that you think other libraries should offer too?

Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.oaksreplanted.blogspot.com.