questions about rural libraries and homeschoolers

Since surveys keep getting posted, here is a place to put them.

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questions about rural libraries and homeschoolers

Postby emm2424 » Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:54 am

My name is Emily and I am a graduate student and a librarian in a rural town. I don't have a formal survey, but would still love any responses. We are currently serving a ton of homeschoolers, and I am writing a paper about rural libraries and rural homeschoolers for my class. I would love to find ways to better serve homeschoolers in my small community library! I was hoping to get some responses from rural homeschoolers about their hometown libraries. What is something awesome that your library is doing for you? What is something that you wish they would do for you? What kinds of great books do they provide? What books do you wish they'd provide? How big of a town do you live in? Anyway, thanks for any thoughts!

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Location: Small town in Arkansas

Postby Miss_Kristy » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:51 pm

Hi Emily,

I live in a small town in Arkansas. Our children's library is wonderful. We visit at least once a week. We have lots of computers, board games, a huge fish tank, and a toddler's area which really comes in handy! The ONE thing we are missing is reading groups/ activites for older kids. By older I mean older than 2-4 yr olds. We went to a Christmas party at the library and my 7 and 8 year old were the oldest kids there. :oops: Needless to say they were not thrilled about that.

hope that helps

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Postby Lily » Mon Mar 31, 2008 1:56 pm

Our library put together kits to go with popular children's books. They're wonderful - each one has activity sheets and directions in a plastic bag along with the book in a canvas tote. It's a great starting point for parents.

One thing I would like to see in more libraries are the childhood education books (most of the 370-372s) and the parenting books moved to the children's area. We don't always have time to look for books for ourselves, and it's a bit daunting when trying to take young children away from the cheerful children's section to the adult section. They squirm and fuss and we end up harried and frustrated. Having even just a rotating display of a few parenting/education books in the children's section would make a difference!

Our library also tends to have major programs (Seussathon, Pawsitive Reading) go on all day, but I'd love to see some multi-age presentations at lunchtime that the adults and children could enjoy. Granted, most libraries don't get enough traffic during the day, but if you did then something like presentations from local museums or storytellers from the area would make a difference. Even getting the highschoolers involved in coming to tell stories or put on a storytelling workshop once a year, offering a games club, or some such thing would be nice.

One more thing - if there's a jr. friends program, I'm sure many homeschoolers would enjoy signing up for it. They would be able to volunteer their hours during the week, as opposed to weekend or summer only.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."
- M. Montessori
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Location: Michigan

Rural libraries

Postby Teatime » Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:13 pm

Hometown population: 200
Librarytown population: 2000
(Do we qualify as rural yet?) :wink:

We depend on our library a LOT.

Some of our library's strengths:
Many, many newspapers and magazines (current events!)
Helpful, pleasant staff
Toddler-friendly area, including a chalk-paint wall and educational toys
Book discussion groups
Posting area for church dinners, community events, scouts, etc.
Ongoing relationship with the local papers to keep us all posted
Kid stuff like summer reading programs and craft days
Bustling, lively atmosphere, but with quiet areas also
Community meeting room available for the asking
Lots of books for such a small area as ours
Grants are found for new books, especially non-fiction
A board that works well with staff and community
The board seeks input via surveys
Family movie nights
Free art lessons for all ages on occasion
Visiting authors and artists
Inter-library loan program is well advertised

I see all of these as vital for the community, and helpful to us homeschoolers.

Book discussion groups geared towards different age groups would be nice. If I ever find or start a homeschool group, I know they would help us get this started.

Our library staff rocks!! Come to think of it, I should make them some tea and cookies soon!

During their recent renovation for new carpet and paint, they advertised for volunteers to help with every aspect. They were very welcoming to my homeschooled teen, and she had a blast that week! In fact, the only other "volunteers" were sporting orange jumpsuits and one of them had to head right back to the jail when my kid walked through the door. Hooray for vigilant deputies!!

My advice is to keep making your library so darn irresistable that we can't stay away. :lol:
New to homeschooling
Old to parenting and marriage

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Postby momo3boys » Sat Apr 12, 2008 7:38 am

My favorite things that I've seen in the small libraries:

Suitcases full of subjects- Weather, seasons, plants, with books maybe a few puzzles and other activities in them.

Really stress the Interlibrary Loan Program if you have it. Borrowing books from other libraries is so much easier, and just like Christmas!

Special programs for older children during the week. Art activities, (learn and imitate certain artists) Special music programs....Science..organizing walks and having books out about natural history.

I hope this helps. Libraries are such a great help to homeschoolers thank you for being so willing to help.
Phi 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

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Postby Jill » Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:05 am

I live in a small town, but am used to the big city, so rural libraries took some getting used to. :wink:

Our libriarians are great. They know us by name (and they know what my kids are interested in) and will let us know about new items they get that might be of interest. We go the same day and time every week and they notice when we aren't there. (Once they even called when we missed 2 weeks in a row due to a vacation, then an illness!)

I love the Inter Library Loan System. It's free in our county, but some counties have a charge - usually the postage. It's great for previewing books you may or may not want to buy.

One thing I don't like about our library is that alot of great books that could be used for homeschooling are bound up in the reference section and can't be checked all. :? What a bummer! There is so much great information is sitting there unused for the most part. I have lived places that let you check out reference for 48 hours, at least that's better than nothing.

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Postby Kate42 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:03 am

I actually bypass our local library and request books through my mom at a city library because I'm afraid I would be overtaxing our local librarians with our interlibrary loan requests. If you want to be helpful to homeschoolers, be truly willing to do interlibrary loans (or be honest and clear about what is too much trouble).

Our local library has a 4 book per person limit that they waive for homeschoolers. Really appreciate that!

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