“The only thing you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” Albert Einstein
What happens when you combine travel, books, and magic? Why a library adventure of course! Like people, each library has its own personality and quirks. My daughters and I have traveled around Oklahoma to find what different libraries offer. This is my third post in the Loving the Library series. In each post, I will focus on five libraries and share what makes them remarkable. You can find other libraries that we’ve visited here, here, and here.
Southern Oaks Library is easily my favorite Metropolitan Library (so far) that we’ve visited on our library adventure for many reasons. They are located next to the Southern Oaks Community Center and many activities partner the library and community center. Madi wandered in to a photography class at this library that was meant for kids much older than her. When class let out, the teacher brought Madi over and I was asked if she could continue with the program! She ended up completing the semester with the photography group and even had her photography shown in their art exhibition at Myriad Gardens. I was very impressed that Madi wasn’t scoffed off as a little girl but taken seriously with her talent. Southern Oaks will always have my heart. It doesn’t hurt that they have a park right next door as well.
Citizenship classes for the Naturalization Test are offered throughout the school year. Story-time meets on Saturdays, Mondays, and Wednesday and homework help is available on Thursdays. Two levels of Tai-Chi is offered Thursday mornings. Register for after school crafts and science experiments on Fridays. Do you need some extra help reading, spelling, and writing? Adult classes meet Mondays and Wednesdays.
Southwest Library has been on my list for a quite a while to visit. They offer events frequently but somehow, I’ve had conflicts every time I’ve wanted to take my girls. Our family finally made it to Southwest library but still missed making safety crafts after 3-year-old Ali decided she needed to buckle her own seatbelt and thus we arrived after the event ended. All ended in our favor because Madi found another little girl who wore princess dresses and fancy shoes daily like Madi does, and they played until both the girl’s mom and I had to beg the girls to go home for dinner. With contact information exchanged, we already have another playdate scheduled at this library soon. The librarians at this library are very patient and do well under pressure. We also attended a kid’s garden event. We noticed a large group when we pulled into the parking lot. A daycare had arrived to attend the event as well. The librarians took charge, found extra activities, and made sure the families as well as the daycare had plenty to do for the event. Madi loved making ladybugs and Ali loved eating dirt pudding!
Story-times run Mondays, Thursday, and Fridays. Family Music Time is offered once a month on Saturdays at 11. STEAM club meets for on Tuesdays at 4:30 alternating between the Jr group (5-7 year olds) and the Tween group (8-11 year olds).
The Downtown library was the first Metropolitan library the girls and I ever visited. Our family adores making trips here on Sundays due to free parking and that we have found another family that pops in on Sundays as well. I love that the kid’s area has an open entrance with glass sides to look out into the lobby area. I still must keep my eyes on Ali, who likes to use this opening to run for the stairs which wind through the whole library floor after floor. Gorgeous but exhausting! Most of the libraries we’ve visited have train sets. What I enjoy about this library is that you need to check out trains (2 trains per child). This eliminates the situation where one child has all the trains from the library and everyone else fusses. My girls can connect their trains together if they feel like sharing or use their own set of trains if they don’t want to share. The best part about checking out the trains? Adorable librarians like Reagan, who are incredibly welcoming, not to mention very creative.
This gorgeous library has an incredible program on each weekend called Sundays Together. This family programs rotates between creating imaginary worlds, art, story-time, and collaborating with the community on projects that benefit many. LEGO Club meets each first Wednesday of the month. Bring the young kids in on Thursdays at 10 where you can enjoy music, art, playtime, and parachute time.
Do you have a picky child? I do! I was skeptical to bring Madi to cooking classes and worried that she would turn up her nose and declare how much did not like the food. I decided to bring her and her sister to an after-school cooking class but also invited some of her friends. The librarian read some books about pizza and the kids were able to add their own toppings to pita bread. Madi even ended up choosing some new toppings, took some of them off, but she ate it! Success! We’ve attended several cooking events at the Blanchard Library since and Madi always enjoys trying (a little) new foods. I also tried my own crafting abilities and made a pumpkin wreath (success) and painting (fail) at adult events.
Blanchard loves the Maker Movement and specializes in teaching STEAM skills through art, cooking and science experiments on Mondays afternoons for pre-k through 5th grade. Mondays are also stories and songs for families in the morning from their amazing librarians and stories can be read to a therapy dog by your own new readers in the afternoon. Thursday afternoons are full of fun LEGO challenges and robotics.
How about a library with an outdoor amphitheater? You can find it at this library. The Village library also has a lovely children’s area. Ali was memorized by the fish tank. In fact, when I mentioned this library to friends, they always commented about this alluring aquarium. While we have stopped by this library many times, my favorite visit was when my daughters attended an apple pie event. I had signed my older daughter up for a spot but not the younger one. I was delighted to find someone hadn’t shown up and Ali was able to participate! The girls were given recipes and a few of the ingredients. The participants took turns measuring spices, sharing ingredients, and using an apple peeler/corer. What fun we had! We loved taking the pies home and baking them that afternoon.
Children can build confidence while reading to dogs each Wednesday at 6 and every other Thursday 3:30. Chess Club meets on Fridays from 4-5:30. STEAM for school-aged children meet once a month from 4-5. Tuesdays at 10 are packed stories, music, and playtime for young children and babies.