“When in doubt, go to the library.” Hermione Granger
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. (Other posts can be found here, here, and here) 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 today 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.
What does this library NOT offer? The library hosts book clubs, computer classes, writing classes, and additional discussions throughout each month. Yoga meets on Wednesday mornings. They have ESL classes and GED classes for adults on weekday evenings. 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 can attend Library Music Connection on Thursday evenings for kids 3-7 years old. Children also have activities galore that they can visit each month that include movie making, Minecraft, robotics, coding, and other after-school programming. Story-time is offered Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday mornings.
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. They have to be quite special as I walk my Gymboree preschool class over frequently for story-time and to check out books.
The Norman West Library has story time for children every Tuesday and music time every other Thursday morning. Families can also indulge in art together on Saturday mornings. Adults will love this library as they frequently have musical guests and discussions that meet in the coffee bar. Yes, you heard me-there is coffee and food at a library! Adult book club meets the 2nd Tuesday evening of each month.
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 preschool story-times in the morning and child book club in the afternoon on Tuesdays. Teens can participate in film productions and make a short film on Thursday afternoons. Adult can find activities such as STEM classes on Tuesday evenings and Tai Chi on Monday and Wednesday evenings.
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 space station with rocket jet packs and “moon rocks” and an ice cream shop with bowls, scoops, and cardboard cones with pom-poms. We also enjoyed playing (hiding from the real world right before Trump became president) on Election Day 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 am always excited to take part in their Fall and Spring Clothing Swaps. I take all the girls’ outgrown clothes to the library, get tickets for each item of clothing I give, and return the next day to use my tickets swap for other donated clothing.
You can attend story-times on Monday and Wednesday mornings as well as a once a month Sensory Story-time for for those sensitive to sensory overload. The Moore Library has enjoyable activities such as Kids Club (K-2nd grade) and Girls Who Code on Monday afternoon, engineering on Tuesdays, art, STEM, and other creative classes throughout the month. Adults can join in the merriment by attending upcoming events like cooking, yoga, coding, 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. Money given to the library is always money well spent!
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 on Monday and Wednesday mornings. There are tween coding classes, LEGO club, and STEM classes that meet once a month on Mondays. A Creativity Exploration Series is currently running where tweens can learn about different ways to express themselves. Adults can check out a monthly book discussion, craft nights, and special events like Escape Rooms.