How to survive the summer holidays – get a library card.

Holidays are coming and the children are off school for 6 weeks. There are lots of ways to keep them entertained, but a lot of events are expensive and and you need the weather on your side. So this is a backup plan for getting through those wet August days and the children are beginning to get cabin fever.

Have you got a library card? Everyone should have one. This is the easiest way to survive the summer holidays. If you join your local library now, you will be entitled to all sorts of adventures. Not only is it free to join and borrow books, digital audio and e-books are free as well. You might need to show proof of address to join, just ask or check your council website under Libraries. 

Make sure the children have their own library cards. If they get a  library card as a child they will always have one. Then they can sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge.Can they read 6 books over the summer holidays? It can be any kind of book, from stories of adventure like the Murder Most Unladylike series,  funny books like Captain Underpants, joke books or books about things, like dinosaurs or space. Most challenges don’t finish until after the children go back to school. It is a great idea to keep children reading during the summer holidays. The Reading Agency have been doing this for 20 years now and the theme for 2019 is Space Chase, celebrating 50 years since the moon landings. The challenge starts on 13th July in England and Wales, and 22nd June in Scotland. Find the website at https://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk and click here on the video below to watch the film and see how it works.

Most libraries will have activities during the holidays as well, these may be free but you might need to get a ticket, so look for the events list at your library.

Once you have your library card, check with your local library to see what kind of online resources they have. For example, in the West of the UK we have LibrariesWest which links 7 local authorities together from coast to coast, North Somerset to Poole and Bournemouth and in London there is the London Libraries Consortium. Therefore there is a huge catalogue of books that are available.  Check – It might be free to reserve children’s books in your local authority as well.

If you are going on a long car journey during the holidays, take a talking book. Find something for everyone to listen to. Most libraries have spoken word CD’s or playaways, which are stories on an MP3 player that you can plug into the car’s aux socket. Or you can download free audio books and listen on your phone or another device. The apps available will be on your libraries online resources page on your local council website.

These apps are linked to library services and you will need to enter your library card number to set it up but you can have up to 5 titles for 3 weeks. How many miles will that cover?

If you are flying away to some exotic destination and don’t want to take actual books, you might think about signing up to Cloud Library. This app will allow you to download e-books to an e-reader to enjoy while you are away. It’s free!   Again you will need to register on the app with your  library card number. Check with your local library which apps they use for digital and audio books and make life easier.

Most authorities use the following apps: Cloud Library, Bolinda BorrowBox, RBDigital, OneClick Digital, Ebscohost & Libby by Overdrive. 

If you do live in the Librarieswest area, and you go from Somerset to Dorset for a day out, you can borrow books from their libraries and return them to your own library when you get home. The authorities linked are N. Somerset, S. Gloucestershire,  Bristol, Bath and N. E. Somerset, Somerset, Dorset and Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch.This also applies in the London Link Consortium.

Remember that if you’re reading or listening to a series, check at www.childrensbooksequels.co.uk to find which books come next, or try www.fantasticfiction.com for adult fiction books.

If your library uses other apps or is doing something different this summer please add it in the comments.

So join your library this summer and enter another world.Image result for chris riddell library quotes

Neil Gaiman – author of American Gods.

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