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Love on Your Library

Love on Your Library

Photo courtesy of North Vancouver District Public Library.

In our consumerist age, it is hard to imagine that any form of family entertainment could be both free and fulfilling, but that is exactly the resource available to Vancouver moms through your library. With today being International Special Librarian’s Day (who knew?), we figured it’s the perfect time to give you the scoop on what libraries offer. Bonus: using your library is a green choice, since borrowing books means fewer books wind up in landfills.

Promote literacy

Are you a mother seeking community and early literacy opportunities for your children? Most branches of the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) offer Baby Time for newborns to 18 months. This drop-in circle time includes interactive singing and storytelling, as well as a wonderful opportunity to meet other parents and caregivers. Baby Time graduates into Toddler Time for children 18 months to three-year-olds and then Preschool Story Time for three to five-year-olds.

Involve teens

Do you have teens who love to read and discuss literature? The VPL has an interactive website geared towards teens and includes details of VPL youth events. Teens can also write reviews of books and seek homework help through VPL’s online search engine.

Get advice

Need parenting advice? Parenting materials are available at VPL, from how to teach your infant sign language to introducing sex education to children. If you don’t know how to begin your search, there are often pamphlets available in the kids’ section with a plethora of information on how to effectively use the library for your family. The VPL website is also a user-friendly resource for parents, and if you prefer face-to-face interaction, VPL librarians are available to answer questions.

Grab a flick

Suffering through a rainy Vancouver day? Have kids at home sick with the flu? Going on a long road trip? The VPL isn’t limited to books, it also offers a wide range of DVDs and music. I find the DVD section especially useful for rediscovering great family classics. E-books and downloadable audiobooks are also available on VPL’s website.

Get inside tips

April is the children’s librarian at the Kitsilano Branch of the VPL and was kind enough to offer  insight on how to become a savvy library user. Here are some of her useful tips:

1. New books arrive at the library almost every day and VPL’s updated online catalogue allows users to view lists of books, DVDs or music received during the previous 30 days.

2. If you’re looking to clean up your shelves and donate books, parents can bring their gifts to any VPL branch and take them to the librarian’s desk to be assessed. The library can only take nice, clean things, so leave anything with rips or grubby fingerprints at home. If you have more than a box full, donations should be delivered to the Central Library downtown as community branches have limited space.

3. The library has children’s books in a number of languages so families can share reading experiences in their preferred language. If you call your local branch, they can let you know what languages they have available.

Need more convincing?

Need more reasons to visit your local branch of the VPL? Library cards are available even for newborns and here’s the clincher, there are no late fees on children’s cards! When you discover a story book buried in the abyss of your child’s toy box, it’s not going to result in a hefty fine! Library cards can be used at any branch and if you’re having trouble making it out of the house, books can be renewed online. Even if your family prefers to own its collection of literature, the library is worth visiting for book sales where books range from $.50 to $2.50.

There’s no time like the present to visit your local branch of the VPL, or the library in your area, to take advantage of it’s invaluable and free resources!

Michelle Gadd is a wife, mom and the creator of, a blog dedicated to examining how motherhood has shaped, stretched and influenced Michelle’s lifestyle.

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