I was working full time in the theatre when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, so like most theatre professionals, I was laid off. Though the extra time at home with my son has been a silver lining, finding myself overnight a stay at home mom with a toddler, has presented me with some unique and fun challenges.
Like, what am I going to do with my kid all day?!
Pre-COVID me would take him shopping, on lunch dates, or play dates with friends, but with most of that now off the table and much of our time spent at home, while my husband still works, I’ve had to upgrade my mommy utility belt. Now being on a tight budget has not allowed me to buy every toy and activity in sight, though often tempting, but a huge FREE resource to me has been my local library.
But it’s closed you say!
Sure, I would love to chase my child into the library like old times and watch him assemble puzzles and read books with new and different friends, but we can’t right now. However, we found that our local library arranges a safe outdoor pick up of books, and many others across the nation are doing the same: https://www.worldcat.org/libraries
On Mondays, my son and I pick a theme and search away on our library’s database for picture books to enjoy that week. We put a hold on five we are interested in and then wait for the library to text or email us that the books are ready for pick up. We call and arrange a pick up time, and then the librarian meets us, masked, outside with our books. At that time, we also return our books due back to the library. Plus, I will often pack lunch so we can immediately enjoy our new books while we picnic under a nearby tree in our library park. It makes for a safe and perfect afternoon.
With two local library branches near me we can check out a boat load of books every week, at no cost. Which is good, because without being able to really preview what we check out, there are a lot of duds. But I must say, my son finds ways to enjoy even the worst picture books. And our tastes definitely aren’t always aligned. Though with every week’s book load, we always find at least one magical book that he and I find joy in over and over again with each read.
This is actually how we discovered my son’s now all time favorite book, THE DOUBLE BASS BLUES by Andrea J. Loney and illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez. The amazing illustrations tells the story of one boy’s blues-like musical journey to his Grandaddy’s house. When we first checked out THE DOUBLE BASS BLUES, my son wanted to read it everyday, multiple times a day, and I didn’t mind because I loved it too. After renewing it twice, this is one we now own and still read several times a week.
2020 has been a challenging year for a lot, if not all of us parents. But the library, one of our greatest resources before the pandemic, can still be, and maybe even more, now that we are safely stuck at home.
We’re always looking for great recommendations and so are other parents reading along. We are all in this together, so leave a comment or recommendation below of your favorite library discoveries and any relevant info about the libraries in your area.
And remember, you can find a library near you at: https://www.worldcat.org/libraries