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November 13, 2019

Giving Thanks by Giving Back with the Public Library

By Jennifer Hodges and Melissa Clark, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

Little learners absorb knowledge and build values by observing and engaging with the world around them. The public library offers learning experiences that strengthen skills and encourage exploration while teaching good stewardship and supporting the many ways that the whole family can give back.

Checking out library materials encourages borrowing instead of consuming and promotes sustainability. When families borrow items from the public library, they are sharing with the entire community. A library visit provides a great opportunity to talk with your child about what it means to be part of a community and the ways we can work together to care for our shared resources.

Whether or not your child has a library card of their own, encourage them to get involved when you check out and return your items. With our easy-to-use self-checkout machines and digital apps, your child can become more familiar with the full cycle of borrowing, caring for and bringing back library materials. By being a part of the process, they will feel more invested and will be more likely to understand and apply these concepts in other situations as they learn and grow.

Volunteering gives a sense of purpose, teaches valuable skills and helps you meet others and develop new relationships. The library is thankful to the hundreds of teens and adults who devote their time to support the Friends of the Library, Library Teen Advisory Boards and the Hillsborough Literacy Council.  The Friends of the Library operate library book sales and bookstores, which raise funds to support library collections and programs. Hillsborough Literacy Council volunteers make a difference by helping adults learn to read or speak English. Teen Advisory Boards are a great way to earn service hours, develop leadership skills and make new friends while helping with programming, recommending materials and giving input for ways to engage more teens in the library. 

giving back

The library offers other opportunities for teens, parents and grandparents to demonstrate the value of volunteerism while strengthening relationships by spending time together. Many community groups use library meeting spaces to gather together in support of a good cause. The Friends of the Library provide materials for programs such as the Bloomingdale Giveback, where you can learn to knit or crochet and the hand-made items are donated to local nonprofits such as shelters or nursing centers. For more information on volunteering, visit HCPLC.org/about/volunteer.

In celebration of giving thanks and sharing gratitude, we compiled a list of books on giving back for you to share. Check out these book lists: http://bit.ly/GivingBack_Kids, http://bit.ly/GivingBack_Teens, http://bit.ly/GivingBack_Adults

All photos provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.

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