Little Unit Study: Learn More About Libraries

library unit study

Since you’re practically funding it with all those fines (please tell me it’s not just me!) and you could legitimately refer to it as your family’s “vacation house,” doesn’t it just make sense to learn a little more about the library?


The Library: An Illustrated History by Stuart A.P. Murphy is a comprehensive introduction to library history. Older kids might like it as a readaloud, but it’s also a resource for parents looking for those little tidbits (before the invention of the printing press, librarians would chain books to their shelves to prevent theft) that make history come alive.

For a quick, succinct look at library history, check out Survivor: The History of the Library, a History magazine article focused on how libraries survived for centuries against the odds.


Make a card catalog of your schoolbooks, including cards for author, title, and subject for easier reference. Sure, card catalogs are computerized now, but the old-fashioned art of book organization can help you keep school shelves under control.

Bring a notebook on your next library trip, and let your kids map the children’s section. Then you can check the map to see where to look for the books on next week’s list. If your kids are older or more ambitious, they can map the entire library.

Put together a library scavenger hunt, where seekers hunt for things like a book with knitting patterns, a collection of fairy tales, a book about how to take care of cats, or a black-and- white movie.

Learning the Dewey Decimal System is a rite of passage for young library patrons. Middle Tennessee State University's Let’s Do Dewey guide is designed to help college-student librarians return books to their rightful homes, so it's full of helpful tips and practical advice.


Kids may be surprised to learn that some of their favorite authors—including Lewis Carroll, Madeleine L’Engle, and Joanna Cole were librarians. Parents will appreciate the fact that Casanova worked as a librarian. (No wonder he got all the girls.)

Flavorwire’s roundup of strange looking libraries around the world includes the bizarrely modern Aberdeen University Library and the rhombicuboctahedron-shaped National Library of Belarus.

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