I know, I know, the last thing you want to do when the weather is this lovely, is to encourage the kids to sit inside with their nose in a book. But signing your family up for the library isn't just about forcing fiction down their throats. Here are six reasons why you should sign up.
Let's get the obvious one out of the way. Most libraries allow you to sign out up to twelve books for free, which can be beneficial for homework, the basics of learning to read and for the adult's fiction fix.
Most libraries now stock a large selection of DVDs and CDs, and costs are usually around £3 for three weeks. A much cheaper way of keeping the kids amused then renting from somewhere like Blockbuster.
3) Internet/Computer access
When my internet crashed recently, I was relieved to discover my local library offered free internet access. It's ideally located between several high-street shops and a coffee shop – a freelancer's dream. For families, the library can provide you with a peaceful place to work whilst the kids are reading, or a place to drop the kids off after school to concentrate on their homework (with the benefit that some of the computers block distractions like Facebook!)
4) Storytelling time
Most libraries have a selection of times when children can visit for storytelling time. Occasionally, authors might take over the storytelling, an extra treat if your child is a fan.
5) Mum and Baby/Toddler hour
My local library has a Mum and Baby/Toddler afternoon, when new mums can meet others and socialise. It's held in an area split off from the main library, so you don't need to worry about making sure the children stay silent.
6) Toy library
Some libraries now offer a toy library, where you can rent baby toys, dressing up clothes, computer games, Games, sports equipment and educational toys for up to a month.
Does your library offer anything else for parents?