The girls and I have been on a quest to discover all about the libraries around us. Libraries are more than just books and we found many new things we loved about libraries that we did not know before starting our adventure. We started out in the Pioneer Library System since it’s in our city but quickly expanded to the Metropolitan Library System in Oklahoma County. Then we found smaller libraries that were not part of a bigger system. The fall was a perfect time to start our adventure as there was a plethora of holiday events offered.
This is my first post in Loving the Library Life. I will cover Oklahoma libraries and the magic we find. In each post, I will focus on five libraries and share what makes them special. If you are local, I invite you to visit these libraries as well. If you aren’t an Oklahoman, I challenge you to explore your state’s libraries. Either way, why not start this new year with your own library quest?
The Norman Central Library is parent-heaven. They are, by far, my favorite children’s library that I have ever visited. There are plenty of activities for children to play or they can sit comfortably with their grownups while reading in snuggly rocking chairs. Madi and Ali love to build towers with the printed blocks, all the while learning how to interact and problem-solve with others. Children are free to be themselves (enthusiastically boisterous) more than other locations as the children’s library is separated from the adult library. The children’s librarians love “their” children. You can see it in their smiles, their enthusiastic attitudes, their voices as they read stories, and the way they light up as children ask them questions.
The Norman Central Library has an amazing program called Rhythm Babies on Fridays. I made so many life-long friendships when Madi was a baby through RB. We, along with our babies, played with instruments, sang songs, and made important literacy connections. Now that Madi is older, she attends an after-school special on Wednesdays for K-2nd graders where she has story time, watches a short film, and makes a craft that focuses on a common theme such as monsters or animals.
The Norman West Library is in a building that was previously Borders. Clever considering that location was already known as a place to find books. It’s extra exceptional in that one of the two 24-hour libraries in Norman is also located outside of this library. While I love all the librarians I know in the Pioneer Library System, the Norman West librarians are unique. There is a peaceful goodness that surrounds them that instantly calms my girls and myself.
The Norman West Library has bilingual books and playtime on Thursdays and story time for children Tuesday mornings. After the stories, it’s an outstanding time to stop by nearby Gymboree for some active play. Adults will love this library as they frequently have musical guests that play in the coffee bar. Yes, you heard me-there is coffee and food at a library!
I am sweet on the Noble Library as I taught kindergarten previously in Noble. I am proud to see “my kids” when I visit this library. Whenever I have visited with my own girls, there has always been a big kid who has volunteered to help with my little ones either picking books or helping them on the computer. I have visited this library most often when I met with La Leche League Leaders for training. It was an ideal location so kids could play and read to each other while the moms talked. A bonus that I’ve found at all the libraries that I’ve visited is that they are breastfeeding friendly and I’ve always felt comfortable nursing in public.
The Noble Library has tutoring on Tuesdays (Give yourself a break and let someone else help your child with their homework!), family yoga nights on Wednesdays, and preschool story times on Tuesday mornings. Adult can find activities such as a twice-monthly art project Maker Meet-up and resistance band training.
Moore has a very convenient location for their library. It’s right off the highway on a quiet road. Our family’s favorite part of the children’s section is their Imagination Station, which is a play area that changes every so often. A few of our favorites have been a pretend pizza shop that includes pizza boxes with felt pizzas to decorate and an ice cream shop with bowls, scoops, and cardboard cones with pom-poms. We also enjoyed playing (hiding from the real world and the possibility that Trump could become president) on Election Day this past November at the Moore Library and taking part in their Kid Election event. The kids had voted a few weeks before on their favorite candy, book characters, and animals. They released the results on Election Day along with crafts and candy that matched the election results. As a parent who loves saving money, I was excited to take part in their Fall Clothing Swap. I took all the girls’ outgrown clothes to the library, was given tickets for each item of clothing I gave, and returned the next day to use my tickets swap for other donated clothing.
The Moore Library has enjoyable activities such as Barks, Books, and Buddies (children can read to dogs), bilingual programs with art and literacy, yoga, and after-school activities for children. Adults can join in the merriment by attending upcoming events like coffee roasting and world dancing.
Mustang is not part of a bigger library system like the other ones I’ve mentioned. While they do not have a reciprocal library card agreement with either Pioneer or Metropolitan Library Systems, anyone can visit their library for events or in house reading. For a $5 fee, we could also receive a family library card for a year.
We popped in one afternoon for a movie event. The girls and I watched Secret Lives of Pets while crunching on popcorn provided free from the library. The movie was shown in a meeting room adjacent to the children’s area. Ali, a toddler, was not able to stay for the whole movie unlike her sister. We left Madi in the movie room while we explored the children’s area. The children’s area has its own room with doors so children can be their spirited selves. Ali loved playing on the rocking horse and examining blocks, spinning wheels, and board books.
The Mustang library has story time for children three days a week, a weekly coding class for preteens, several teen events monthly, and assorted adult classes like genealogy and book signings.