Two girls visit a library and read Lonely Planet Kids books © Lonely Planet

There’s more to libraries than reading, but enjoying the books is a great start © Lonely Planet

Libraries can have a reputation as being stuffy, silent, unwelcoming places punctuated by the all too frequent sound: ‘shhhhh!’ But the reality is different. Libraries are community hubs, providing fantastic (and free) resources for all – often with a keen focus on keeping kids occupied.

Libraries are ideal places for exploring the world from your home town – and we can’t think of a more horizon-broadening way to spend a rainy day. Next time you’re stuck for indoor things to do as a family, why not pay your local library a visit?

Things to do at the library as a family

Find the travel section and choose your dream holiday destination

Find a travel guide, map or atlas and research a country you’ve never heard of before. What’s the weather like? What language do people speak there? How long would it take you to get there? Show the kids how other people live and spark their curiosity about travel and culture.

Find a book written by someone with your last name

What kind of book is it? Where does the author come from? Would you read this book? Perhaps there’s more than one author with your surname – or maybe you can find a writer with your first and second names!

The children's section in Amsterdam's Central Public Library © Protasnov AN / Shutterstock

The children’s section in Amsterdam’s Central Public Library © Protasnov AN / Shutterstock

Find a book about your favourite animal

Alternatively, find a book on weird and wonderful animals around the world – what’s the strangest critter you can find?

Research local history

How often do you explore your local area? Adventure doesn’t have to mean going far from home; the library can help you learn more about your town or city and will – hopefully – add a few more locations to your list of local places to visit.

Enjoy reading events

Many libraries around the world run summer reading challenges – why not get involved? Then there are story-time groups and author talks to choose from. Some libraries even employ reading therapy dogs to help youngsters who struggle with literacy.

Play!

There can be games galore at libraries – from quiz books and crosswords to treasure hunts and board games – as well as toys and even soft play areas.

A group lesson on geography at a library © Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

Get involved in group activities at your local library © Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock

Learn something new

These days many libraries offer all sorts of free educational activities: take part in a music lesson, learn how to code, or try your hand at baking. Check online in advance for the schedule, or simply turn up and see if something is on.

Talk to a librarian

Librarians are the key to unlocking a library’s potential. Looking for something? They can help you find it. Don’t understand the Dewey Decimal System? Let them explain. Wondering what to read? They’ll be full of recommendations – you might just find your next favourite book…

Find books, audio books, dvds, games or music downloads to enjoy at home

Of course, you can take the goodies you’ve found with you at the end of the day, so you can continue the adventure at home – and now you have the perfect excuse to come back!

Feeling inspired? Watch our short video about spectacular libraries around the world:


Take a world tour through 200 countries with The Travel Book, loaded with thousands of amazing facts on wildlife, how people live, sports, hideous and mouthwatering food, festivals and a wide range of other quirky insights on every page.