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SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: ABCs of the SCV: L is for Libraries | 04-06-2013
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1963 - First stretch of Antelope Valley 14 Freeway opens from east of Solemint Junction in Canyon Country to Red Rover Mine Road in Acton. [story]


The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Apr 6, 2013

JenniferFischerNext week, we will officially be halfway through the ABCs of the Santa Clarita Valley: Animals, Bicycle Trails, Central Park, Drums, Education, Family Dinner, Golf, Hiking, Imagination, J for Jammin’, and K for Kids in the Kitchen. Now, we move on to L, which is for something I really appreciate about the Santa Clarita Valley – Libraries.

We have great library options in the Santa Clarita Valley. The libraries allow me always to have new books for the boys. Plus, there are other benefits, such as Storytime and free movie rentals.

First, a point of clarity, because I know some people still find this confusing. If you live in the Santa Clarita Valley, you actually have access to two library systems: the city of Santa Clarita libraries (which include the Newhall Library, Valencia Library and Canyon Country Library) and the County of Los Angeles Library system (which includes the Castaic Library, Acton-Agua Dulce Library and the Santa Clarita Valley Bookmobile). If you use both library systems, you will have two different library cards. Between the two systems, though, that means lots of programs and opportunities to foster a love of reading in your children.

Baby and Toddler Storytime opportunities for ages 6 months to 36 months are held at various libraries Mondays through Thursdays, with School Readiness Storytime (ages 3-5) held at libraries Mondays through Wednesdays. All are held in the morning. A full schedule of which storytimes take place at which library, and exact times, can be found at SantaClaritaLibrary.com when you click on “Calendar.”

Additionally, Castaic Library has Preschool Storytime (ages 3-5) on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Baby/Toddler Storytime (ages 0-36 months) on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.

The Newhall Library also offers a Bilingual Storytime on Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., and the Canyon Country Library offers Bilingual Storytime on Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. All of the city libraries also have Homework Help Monday to Thursdays in the afternoon as well as Elementary Storytime opportunities, Pajama Storytime, Movie Nights, Video Gaming and much more. Again, consult the calendar at SantaClaritaLibrary.com for a full list of events.

Today, Saturday, April 6, the Canyon Country and Newhall libraries offer various activities for much of the day as part of El Dia de los Ninos/El Dia de los Libros – a day dedicated to celebrating children and books. Plus, next Saturday at the Newhall Library, you can meet Mouse from the classic children’s book, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.”

Our family actually utilizes both library systems, based on our needs and the reality of where we live. Given that I have boys who are still pretty little (20 months and just over 3 years old), I have found that the Castaic Library works best for when I am taking the boys to the library – plus, it is the closest library to where we live. What I like about it is that the children’s section is separated in a way that encourages the boys to stay in that area and explore the books and other items there, without venturing to other areas (or being enticed by the computers for grown-ups). The area has four computers for kids, an interactive book center, and toys as well as a large and inviting Very Hungry Caterpillar carpet. It makes it easy for me to browse for books for them while they play and explore. (Note: With the Castaic Library, check the hours before you head over there, because the library opens at noon on Thursdays and Fridays, and it is completely closed on Sundays.)

The new library in Newhall is fabulous, but I find it does not meet the needs of my little ones as much. All of the technology overwhelms them, and I have not found it as easy to explore the book section and keep an eye on them. They are too eager to roam. However, other parents may feel differently, and I know it is receiving rave reviews from parents with elementary-aged children and teens because of all of the technology and activities available.

As adults, my husband and I both appreciate the Newhall Library layout and design and have utilized it as a quiet place to work and have meetings. It has study rooms that can be reserved for free.

I had hoped to check out the Canyon Country and Valencia libraries before I wrote this piece, but have not had a chance to do so. I have been to both in the past, but not recently, and I know those libraries have undergone changes since I have been to them.

I can say, though, that I take full advantage of all of the library resources we have available. We use Storytime. I check out books and movies regularly, and I love being able to put books on hold that are not currently in the library, but are in the system at other libraries. I take advantage of this a lot, since the main library I use for picking up books is the Santa Clarita Valley Bookmobile, as I live in Val Verde. The Bookmobile draws from the County of Los Angeles Library system, so almost any book I want can be found and requested.

Plus, it is nice that with both library systems, you can manage your account online and do renewals from the comfort of your own home. Both also have eBooks that can be checked out, although I have not yet taken advantage of this personally.

I would love to hear what your favorite Santa Clarita Valley library is. What activities and resources do you take advantage of at the library? What have you been reading lately? With my blog this year, I have started a weekly project where each Saturday, I share what we have been reading. I share one book the boys love and one book that I am reading. The project is called Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge. Pop over to The Good Long Road on Facebook or to the site itself (jennifischer.blogspot.com) on Saturdays to see our latest library finds.

Be well. Read well and be happy.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

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