Whatâ€™s better than discovering new places with your children? Add heading home with goodies in tow, and did I mention this idea is free-of-charge, there are places to park, and bathrooms? With a current Ocean State Libraries (OSL) card, you can visit any participating library in Rhode Island, but the twist is that what you borrow may be returned at your local (OSL participating) library branch.
This means, for example, that you could play with puppets before borrowing books from the Jamestown Philomenian Library and then return them before a late Wednesday story-time at the Weaver Library in East Providence. Or maybe you would like to stroll about downtown Bristol before entering the castle-like Rogers Free Library on Hope Street. Perhaps play a board game on a Friday afternoon at the East Smithfield Public Library. There are as many possibilities as there are libraries.Our stateâ€™s libraries range from modest to modern to majestic in architecture and location. Childrenâ€™s rooms can have fish tanks, small animals, puppet theaters, room to sprawl out and read, and more (or less). I always appreciate how the Barrington Public Library organizes their picture books upright in binsâ€”reminds me of my younger days, flipping through albums on Thayer Street, but I digress . . .
Of course I am all for utilizing oneâ€™s local library branch. Itâ€™s nice to get to know the childrenâ€™s room librarian and feel connected to your community in such a simple way. But if youâ€™re feeling like you need a change of scenery (or DVD selections), choose a library and set forth on a mini-roadtrip with your kids. With your OSL card, you wonâ€™t have to say no to borrowing books from a not-so-local branch.
Borrowing policies can vary by branch and registration is often recommended for scheduled crafts and events (especially if materials or snacks are offered or there is entertainment), so you will want to call ahead or visit the branchâ€™s website. For a complete listing of participating libraries, visit the oslri.org website. Most libraries have a web page with links to events calendars devoted to programs for children.
Do you have a favorite Rhode Island library? Please post a comment and share some details about what makes it special to you.
Elyse Major lives in northern Rhode Island with her husband and two sons (six and eight years old). A â€œmostlyâ€ stay-at-home mom, Elyse works as a communications consultant for Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island. Her hobbies include doing crafts with her boys, eating popcorn with her husband, writing, creating home dÃ©cor, and most recently, blogging (visit Elyseâ€™s blog at http://tinkeredtreasures.blogspot.com/).