Great Summer Library Challenge for Kids :: Resources

Explore library resources with kids
This edition of The Great Summer Library Challenge is designed to help parents and kids explore more than just the books in their local library. Many of us (including myself) are accustomed to using the library primarily as a source of reading material, but it is so much more than that!

If you are just now joining No Twiddle Twaddle and us for The Great Summer Library Challenge, be sure to read our introductory post (you can find links to previous challenges at the bottom of this post).

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this particular set of challenges with you. If you haven’t already guessed, I believe libraries are an incredible and necessary institutions. You will all agree that free, public access to information is absolutely essential for any thriving democracy. In this challenge you will get to know and appreciate exactly why that is, and what your library offers and your librarian does. (Hint: it’s not all about shelving books!)

How the Library Challenges Work:

Every local library offers resources, houses special collections and facilitates community services that are specific to their locality and population. They are  intended to help you discover and explore those resources. These challenges are designed for kids and parents to do together. Each one covers a general area with smaller so-called “advanced” (but not “difficult”) challenges. We want to spark your interest, not stress you out! This is summer! It’s not a test! Do as many or as few as you like.

Discover your library’s resources:

I thought I knew almost everything about my library, but found out about quite a few fascinating resources during my research for this project. For example, I now know I can book up to half and hour of personalized research time with one the the Brooklyn Public Library librarians. Or I can text a New York Public Librarian a question. You can bet I am mulling over those possibilities.

These resource challenges will get your kids chatting with the staff that makes your library run smoothly so don’t be shy! For the first two challenges visit No Twiddle Twaddle, my challenges (plus a bonus) are below.

library resouces exhibitions tours and events

The NYPL offers a variety of exhibitions all year long as well as tours of their historic building.

Challenge #3: Events & Exhibitions
Does your library hold regular or special events and exhibitions? Ask your librarian how you can keep abreast of these events. Sign up for an email or mailing list so you can be notified of the library happenings long after these challenges are over.

Advanced Challenge: Explore the calendar of events for children, choose one or more and attend.

Advanced Challenge: Go with your kids to a library exhibition. Talk as a family about what you see. Using a subject keyword search in the library catalog check out 1-3 books about the exhibition subject.

children's book exhibit at NYPL

The NYPL has an amazing archive of non-print materials. Can you guess these what famous children’s books these exhibits are from? (Answers at the bottom of the post)

Challenge #4: Outreach Services and Give Back
Many libraries often take their services and resources to people who cannot come to them. They might have an outreach program to senior centers or provide disaster relief information. Our library offers services like free after-school tutors for kids and even an entire range of services, programs and resource help for children with special needs and their parents. Talk to your librarian and ask them 1) what they think the library’s most valuable outreach program is; 2) what the most utilized service is; and 3) what the service is they wish more people knew about.

Advanced Challenge: Draw a picture or write a letter of appreciation to your librarian. Tell the librarian about something new you’ve learned about library services.

Advanced Challenge: Find out how you can volunteer at your library and take action in some way, whether it be signing a petition, writing a letter to your local representative showing support for library funding or volunteering your time helping overworked library staff.

Bonus Challenge:
I’m also issuing a bonus challenge. At the beginning of this post I asserted that free access to information is essential for a free society. Some might argue that the internet can play the role of of a source of open, free information. It’s easy to look something up at home on the ‘net. Ask your librarian why the internet can never replace the library. Then, open the topic up for discussion at your next family meal.

Bethany and I would LOVE to know if you’ve been doing any or all of these library challenges. Have you found something new? Learned a new book-hunting skill? Gotten to know your librarian a bit more? Leave a comment here and tell us. Or you can chat with us about it on our Facebook page or in the Great Books for Kids community on G+. We love to hear from you.

summer library challenge

See previous challenges:

Fiction Challenges:  No Twiddle Twaddle (#1-3) and What Do We Do All Day? (#4-6)
Non-Fiction Challenges: No Twiddle Twaddle (#1-3) and What Do We Do All Day (#4-6)
Resource Challenges: No Twiddle Twaddle (#1-2) and What Do We Do All Day (you’re reading it!) (#3-4)
Final Wrap-Up: Coming Soon!

Answers to exhibit photo, clockwise from top: The original Winnie-the-Pooh toys owned by A.A. Milne have their permanent home in the children’s room at the New York Public Library.  Wall illustration from Tar Beach. P.L. Travers’ original Mary Poppins Doll. Wall illustration from Madlenka. Line drawing by W.W. Denslow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Let me help you find books for your kids and keep them (almost) effortlessly entertained. Receive a printable bookplate when you sign up for our Weekly-ish Newsletter.


  1. says

    We love our library resources and extra events. They don’t have exhibitions in our branch, but there are several events a month for kids. Unfortunately, the timing doesn’t always work for us, but this week Anna and her Dad went to a juggling show – they said it was a lot of fun. We also use electronic resources – renting books and music for our Kindle and iPod. But I cannot imagine using Internet only – there is something very special about the place where books live :)

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