Start Family Traditions

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Whatever you like to do together as a family, your library can help support or build new family traditions.


  • Start a family tradition by making regular family dates at the library. Where else in the community can you spend time with the whole family in a place that has something for everyone...for free?


  • Make it a movie night. Schedule dates in advance and stick to them. Build in a trip to the library to pick out a DVD or visit your library’s website together to see what movies might be available for download. You can even start a tradition of what you watch: many classics and popular children/teen books have been turned into movies. Read the books and watch the movies together and talk about the similarities and differences between them.
  • If you live in an area with multiple library branches, tour the branches. Document the trips through an online diary. Take pictures of the adventures and learn about each neighborhood. Talk to a librarian at each branch and ask them about any unique collections the branch might have.
  • Become regulars at the nature museum, aquarium or the zoo, and take turns with the kids to plan trips. Using websites, have the kids select from current exhibits, shows and special events. Some libraries offer free or discounted passes.

“When he walks into a library you can see that he instantly feels more relaxed; it’s just part of who he is at this point in his life,” says photographer Robert Dawson of his son, Walker, who accompanied him on an 11,000-mile road trip last summer while he took pictures of 189 libraries in 26 states—all in just eight weeks.

family watching TV

Want to have a fun evening with the family? Consider family movie night this summer.

Travel Around the World at Your Library

Instead of letting the cold weather keep you cooped up, why not take a trip around the world? You don’t need a passport to travel around the globe. All you need is a library card.

Travel for Free

Learning about different cultures and far-away places can be just as exciting as taking a trip, without any of the hassle or expense.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Family

Between extracurricular activities at school and obligations at work, the pressure to do it all is leaving many families breathless. This year, instead of setting the same old New Year’s resolutions, why not have the family set some goals together?

By involving one another in goal setting, families have a bigger chance of achieving a healthier balance at home. Not only can discussing individual goals identify challenges the family should be facing, but it will also help build closer relationships over the long run.

How Setting Goals Can Help

Family watching movie

Why would you read the book if there’s a movie? "Books have inspired some of the most famous and indelible performances we know, be they on the opera stage, the ballet floor, or the silver screen,” says Thom Barthelmess, president of the Association for Library Service to Children. “But books have a magic all their own. As we read, stories bloom in our imaginations, leaving behind the fruits of wonder, even after the final page is turned."

girl remembering

History isn’t only for the classroom: You are living it right now. Building a time capsule, where you store memorable items away in a container, can remind you later of what life is like in 2009. You can also store the time capsule away for future generations to learn about life now. Here are some tips on building a time capsule that can preserve all your “future” artifacts.

Decide Who You Want to Open It

Kid at museum

In the Night at the Museum movies, Ben Stiller’s character Larry Daley gets to see history literally come alive due to an ancient curse. Your local museum likely does not have the same curse, but you can have just as much fun! Here are some activities to do on your next trip.

Write a Story About a Historical Object

Family having fun

Museums and libraries are great cultural learning institutions for educating your family. However, how often do you combine the two for a comprehensive enlightening experience? Enhance your family’s museum trip with the resources your library has to offer.

Before the Trip