Our Summer of Awesome was a little less awesome these past two weeks, because we did daily swim lessons in the middle of the day. And while that’s fun too, and good progress was made, it doesn’t really make for spectacular blog posts.
The floating! The gliding! The blowing of bubbles! See what I mean?
Since our ability to take splendid day trips was dampened, we did a lot of going to the park and having playdates and baking at home.
But the best thing we did is go to the library.
Our closest library is the Hazeldean branch, and quite frankly, it sucks for kids. The kids’ section is smack in the middle of one big room, and while your kids are yelling and running around and grabbing books from shelves and shouting, “MOMMY! READ THIS ONE! AND THIS ONE! AND THIS ONE!”, you’re fielding a ton of dirty looks from librarians and over-the-top shushing from people in Adult Education at Algonquin who are trying to get something done.
(Or, your kids are sitting quietly at a table reading to themselves, in which case, we can no longer be friends. Be well in life.)
Anyway, recently we discovered the Centennial branch, which is in Bell’s Corners. It’s not too much farther away and such a huge improvement. This is a library designed with kids in mind.
When you enter, the adult books, and a separate quiet study room, are to your right. The kids’ area is completely separate, off to your left. It’s a huge round room full of books just for kids, their own computers, and an adorable little circle for sitting and reading. Plus, with a massive skylight and kid-centered displays and decor, it’s bright and inviting and FUN.
I don’t feel the same need to keep a close rein on my kids here, and that is awesome. The kids’ room usually has its own librarian on staff and she’s friendly and helpful and above all, tolerant. The kids are free to explore the shelves and curl up on a miniature couch with their choices. They can ask me questions without me constantly telling them to be quiet, and if we want to have a little impromptu storytime, we can just go for it.
Not a bad way to spend an hour or so, with enough take-home goodies to cover the pre-dinner rush for the rest of the week.
All of the Ottawa Public Libraries have kids’ programs, but Centennial has more than most. They have Lego building events and craft series and storytime ALL the time and family puppet shows. It’s like they actually WANT you to bring your kids there. Really! Let them touch stuff! Let them explore! Let them be kids!
And the very best part about the library? It’s free. I usually tell the kids they can each take out three books. While the Captain limits himself strictly to this limit (because more than that would be breaking the rules, NO NO NO), and Gal Smiley is always delighted with whatever three titles I pick out for her, Gal Smiley can never limit herself to less than 10. And that’s okay! Take them all! Because it’s FREE.
And now, excuse me while we go do some serious reading.