Books- that’s always going to be the first word that comes into anyone’s head when they think about libraries. If your vision of a library is still a very serious atmosphere, where you search through row after row of dusty books with freezing fingertips only to come out empty handed but with a crick in your neck, then you need to know that a lot has changed!
Libraries are now bright, warm(!), colourful spaces where cheery librarians love to help you find what you need. What if I told you that in Perthshire you can also find a whole heap of resources like magazines (including all the big name ones like Top Gear, BBC Good Food & OK!- check out Nicki's write up on them here), maps, audio books and music in your local branch and online? The best bit? It is all completely, 100%, FREE!
Strap yourself in - there is a whole heap of activities and services to find out about and we're going to do it all here so you have it in one easy to find place...
Libraries throughout Perthshire (which now come under the banner of their new Trust ‘Culture Perth and Kinross’) are doing all they can to create a diverse and exciting environment. They want to encourage those who already use their library to find out more, and give locals who haven’t yet ventured into their local branch the confidence to do so.
In my previous vocation I worked with many adults who struggled with their own literacy, and worried that the library would be an intimidating environment. It shouldn’t be that way- and I genuinely think that what’s on offer in Perthshire might help anyone feeling that way to take themselves and their kids along to find out more.
One of the aims of Culture Perth and Kinross this year is to get more families signing up to library services- there’s no minimum age to join, it only takes a few minutes, and you can even do it online (see here). I’ve been taking my one year old Freya along to weekly Bookbug Rhyme Time sessions since she was tiny, and there’s no better place to go on a rainy day.
There’s also the Bookbug Library Challenge where you can collect certificates, ‘Storytime’ sessions for pre-schoolers and ‘Chatterbooks’ for 8-11 year olds. The libraries even have a great range of parenting resources including lapsacs containing all you need along a popular theme e.g. sleep, toilet training or starting school. The lapsacs have a children’s story, an information/parenting book and even dvd’s to help.
For older children there are many e-resources which can help with homework or feed curious minds like Britannica Online, ‘Wood of Words’ which has games, activities and author interviews, and the frankly genius ‘Who’s Next?’ which helps kids find what to read next if they like a particular author or series of books. You can find out more information about all of these things on the library website here.
Your library membership number can also be used to access ‘SCRAN’, a huge online resource with digital images, movies and sounds which document Scotland’s culture and history (aka major brownie points material at school!).
All of these things help foster a love of reading and books which can last a lifetime. The next time your little one asks ‘Why is the sky blue?’ as their 104th question of the day, instead of typing it into your search engine why not go to the library and have fun finding the answer?
There’s no need to rush- visitors are encouraged to read books in the comfy seating areas whilst there, and there’s activity/colouring sheets or even treasure maps in some libraries during the holidays. When you’re ready to go kids love using the self-issue machines available at most libraries.
There’s a free monthly coding club called ‘Coderdojo Perth’ on a Saturday morning in North Inch Library between 11am-12.30pm. Gail Phillips is the Coderdojo champion and has mentors to help the children. The kids just need to bring along a laptop/notebook that is internet enabled. Booking is essential and the next meeting is 23rd April (contact Perth.firstname.lastname@example.org).
For budding collectors there’s a children’s display cabinet at AK Bell library and they are always keen to get kids involved in showing off their collections. Recent examples include lego, shopkins, gaming collections…you name it, they display it! To book your week long slot, ask at the information desk at AK Bell Library next time you are in.
Last but by no means least, is the huge range of exhibitions, talks and events run by the libraries. A booklet containing information about these is available in libraries or you can keep up to date with what’s on at the library events page. Here’s a sneak peek;