Guest author Nikki Nickila
Homeschoolers' number one money-saving superpower is the library card.
No matter where you are on your homeschool journey it is never too late to take advantage of the amazing
money-saving homeschool resources available at your public library.
Here are 6 ways to unleash the super saving powers of your library card!
1. Get to know your local library
Your first steps should be to visit your library's website. Research what your library has to offer and make notes on how to apply for a library card, what free community events look interesting to your family, and what online services are available.
Many libraries have e-resources such as Flipster, Kanopy, Hoopla, and Freegal.
All four will basically take care of your entertainment needs. Most libraries have Overdrive for ebooks and audiobooks that would meet your literary needs.
For your educational needs, many libraries have Mango Languages, Brainfuse, and Studiosity for free online homework help. And if you live in a large city your library my offer free passes to museums and cultural events.
Each library is unique so spend some time researching the website and see the many different ways to save your family money.
2. Get to know the online holding system
To access information about your library account, renew borrowed materials, and place holds, you must first log in to your online account. This is where you can search for and place holds on books that you would like to read. After you place the hold your library will email you with the date it is available for pick-up.
Most libraries have interlibrary loans. This means if your local library doesn’t have the book you are looking for, they will find it at a library in their network and have it delivered to your library for pick-up. This will save you time and money!
3. Get to know your librarian
Do you find the library space and searching for materials overwhelming? Many people suffer from this fear and miss out on the amazing money-saving resources the library has to offer. Meeting your librarian is the first step to alleviate any anxiety you or your student(s) may have about the library.
Introduce yourself (and your student) to the librarian and ask for a tour of the children/teen department.
They will gladly share what free resources your library has to offer.
Let your librarian know your student's interests and ask for book recommendations.
When you get home ask your student(s) to write a thank-you note for your librarian and give it to them on your next visit. A little bit of gratitude will go along way! Establishing a relationship with your librarian will lead to many future educational collaborations.
4. Be consistent
Plan a weekly date on your calendar to visit the library. By staying consistent and honoring the date you will be able to take full advantage of the library services. The more you go the more you save! This will also help your student(s) establish a routine so they will look forward to going to the library, picking up their books and seeing their librarian.
5. Stay organized
The library is a great way to save money but all that hard work goes away if you have to pay library fines. Staying organized is the only way to defeat your library card’s nemesis, late fees!
Before leaving the library take the time to write a note on your phone or set a reminder of the due date to return the books. Another idea would be to take a photo, of your paper receipt, with your phone right after check-out. This way you will always have a list of the books that need to be returned. Once home, designate an area for your library books. Knowing where your library books are will save you time and money when the return date arrives.
6. Reserve a study room
Check and see if your library has a study room in the children’s department. This is great for older students to work on self-guided assignments, in peace and quiet. You can then spend time with your younger, more active, student. Read books, do puzzles or play board games together.
Essentially, by using the library card, you never have to pay for educational entertainment or information in your homeschool again!
With a little bit of planning, researching, organizing and staying consistent, the library card will become a money-saving superhero for you too!
This guest post was written by Nikki Nickila, a 15-year veteran homeschool parent. While working at a charter school for independent learners, Nikki was an educational consultant for 1,000s of parents and created over 300 field trips and events for families to enjoy. Her biggest passion is to provide mentorship to homeschooling families on their educational journeys.
You can find her posting fun and educational field trip ideas happening in the Los Angeles County area on Facebook.
Follow her on Westside and Beyond! or find her on the Facebook
page Homeschool Family Success for homeschooling mentorship.