Laura Gardner is a Youth Services Librarian at Transylvania County Library and the mother of a nine-year-old.

Adapt, adapt, adapt – the mantra of our day. As soon as I think I’ve gotten accustomed to the new normal, it shifts yet again. With the constant re-learning we’re all being called upon to do, it’s reassuring when some things are the same. At the Library, we’re striving to provide that reliable support that parents have come to expect as they guide their children’s academic endeavors or seek fun, enriching experiences to stimulate growth.

As we inch toward the normalcy we once knew, our services also steadily resume. We’re now open regular hours (9:30 am – 5:30 pm Monday through Saturday with extended hours until 8:00 pm on Monday and Thursday). Families can come inside to browse materials and checkout books, DVDs, and audiobooks. We miss providing in-person programs, but have modified what we offer so that parents can share virtual storytimes with their children, sign their child up for Zoom book clubs and Ukulele jams, assist with posting a virtual LEGO Club creation on Facebook, or grab a take-away activity before experiencing the ever-changing outdoor Window Walk on display. What our community has come to love about the Library is still here and available: the friendly people, the wealth of information and resources, and the chance to be inspired and create.

In my role as Youth Services Librarian, I love helping kids and parents find that perfect book, guiding them through the use of a new digital resource, and making them aware of what they may have missed. Sometimes even seasoned visitors to the Library aren’t aware of what’s available to them with their library card account. We have so much to offer!

• Stories and Facts to Read, Watch, and Listen To

Books, movies, and more! The Transylvania County Library has an extensive collection of materials to suit your needs. Whether you want to read, watch, or listen; escape reality or delve into details; we have what you need. We’re getting new items all the time, and they’re waiting for you to take them home to enjoy. Our DVD/Blu-ray collection has popular movies and TV shows, but also includes history, science, second language learning, how-tos, and fitness instruction. If that favorite film isn’t on your paid-for service at home, give the Library a look. You might be surprised!

• Even More of What You Love

Transylvania County Library recently joined a statewide partnership (NC Cardinal) to borrow from other libraries across North Carolina, so if we don’t have it, there’s a good chance that someone else does. You can borrow all of these items with your TCL library card and return them to any NC Cardinal library. We’ve made it even easier for library cardholders—materials from the kids’ collection have no fines, most materials check out for 3 weeks with two automatic renewals, and you can manage your account online. Those automatic renewals have been so helpful for me when my daughter isn’t ready to bring back a well-loved story just yet, or we’re waiting for the weekend to put on that brand-new family movie.

• E-Everything

With a tablet, phone, or computer and your library card, you have access to multiple platforms like the NC Digital Library, NC Kids, Tumblebook Library, Flipster, Hoopla, and RB Digital that can provide your family with books, audiobooks, magazines, TV shows, movies, music, and enhanced read-alongs—all for free. Sometimes, even I can’t believe how convenient it is to have so much available without ever needing to visit the physical building. Read-alongs on the Tumblebook Library are especially useful for struggling readers. A story will appear on the screen along with highlighting as it’s read aloud. The font can be enlarged and altered to aid dyslexic learners too.

• Homework Help

We’ve recently launched a fantastic service called Tutor.com that provides free online, on-demand tutoring. From 1:00 – 8:00 pm each day, you can log on through the Library’s website and register to have a real person help your child with homework and test prep. It’s available for K-12 and college students in just about any subject you can think of – math, science, writing, English, Spanish, social studies, and more. They even have Spanish-speaking tutors in some subject areas.

• Research Assignment Support

When kids have to write the dreaded research paper, we’re here to help. NCLive is an online database that provides access to academic magazine and newspaper articles, videos, books, and more. It’s a trusted source for factual information – an internet search just isn’t ideal when you need proof. If you need more guidance, staff is on-call to provide research assistance. We’re only a phone call away at (828) 884-3151 ext. 4.

• Hidden Treasures

Some of my favorite collections in the Youth Services section of the library are those that not everyone knows about. Why not try taking home one of these gems?

o Batty for Books bags – each themed bag geared for 3-6 year olds has 8-10 books and a CD/DVD on a topic. If your kid can’t get enough of princesses or trucks, this is a quick pick.  Many of them also include resources from our learning partner, Sesame Streets in Communities. You can find more resources for early leaning on their website: www.ssic.org

o Audiobooks on CD—a struggling reader can gain a lot from listening to a story while they read along. Listening to classic stories as a family is also a great way to share stories of a higher reading level with young children.

o Storytelling Collection – there’s nothing like listening to a story that was meant to be heard instead of read. I love these on car trips! They’re entertaining and help kids to naturally absorb an understanding of the components that make a good story.

o Music CDs—there’s some really great “Kindie-Rock” out there! I find myself singing along to Laurie Berkner, The Okee Dokee Brothers, and Charlie Hope after bringing a CD home. Some are in Spanish or have accompanying movements for yoga or dance.

o Parent Teacher Collection—these are books that support educators of all kinds. Learn the principles of homeschooling, Montessori education, teaching cursive, or helping your child start learning how to read with this in-depth collection.

o Spanish Language books—we have many books in Spanish at all levels. If your child is learning Spanish, sometimes reading a familiar favorite in that language can be just the motivation they need to keep trying. We also have many bilingual books with both English and Spanish on the same page.

All those things we rely on from our Library are still here. A new normal is a great time to discover new opportunities and resources that can help us and our families—now and going into the future. We’re so very lucky to live a community that values education, supports families, and provides them with what they need to be successful and happy. Take advantage of what we’ve got! You are not in this alone. We’re here, waiting to help you with your child’s educational and recreational needs. And while you’re here, if you need to find your favorite grown-up book or movie to help you escape and unwind, we’ll help with that too.