The Saskatoon Library: Insider tips every parent should know

Okay parents, you’re smarties, so I’m not going to kick things off with a “the library is more than books” parade because you can probably name a couple other happenings in or facts about the Saskatoon Public Library. HOWEVER. There’s a lot of inside info I’m going to share with you today and if you know everything on this list already, you can colour me impressed. Got a kid? Here’s what you should know about the Saskatoon Public Library.

All library programming is FREE.

Sometimes you have to take a ticket or register in advance, but it won’t cost you a thing.

Storytime is more than a story.

There's always rhyme, movement, and interactions that keeps kids engaged. Although the stories are pretty good, too… and the readers are excellent.

saskatoon public library preschool dance party

There’s programming galore.

It includes baby rhyme time, preschool dance parties (a family fave), STEAM activities for older kids, storytime in languages like Mandarin, French, and Cree, creative writing, and more. THIS IS THE LINK YOU NEED TO BOOKMARK.

sneakers and lipstick blog saskatoon public library toys

There are toys.

Toys your child loves at home, toys your child has never seen. But the most important part to me is that my children are navigating social waters with those toys.

Innovation Labs and Media Rooms? Check.

Round Prairie branch is a treasure trove with its Innovation Lab and Media Room (Rusty McDonald will soon join its ranks after a reno). Here’s all the awesome stuff you can access to build, record music, game, or create hands-on:

  • MacBook Pros: with GarageBand, Audacity and video editing software (iMovie, Quicktime) and Adobe Creative Cloud.

  • Robotics: kids can build their STEM skills with kits including Makey Makey, LittleBits, and Snap Circuits.

  • LEGO: a classic we all love, come use the building sets without having to worry about losing pieces!

  • Button Maker: the button maker meets your more low-tech, DIY needs.

  • Cricut cutting machine: a personal electronic cutting machine for making precision paper, fabric or vinyl cuts.

  • Yamaha MG10XU: mixing console with microphone & mic stand

  • Green screen

  • Gaming Room with WiiU, PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One S, and Two TV screens

Downtown is getting more creative.

Beginning May 25, Frances Morrison Central Library will have a Children’s Innovation Lab, available on a self-directed, drop-in basis while the library is open. Most of the equipment in this room will be low-tech and easy for patrons to use for crafts and other projects. Think markers, pencil crayons, glue, yarn, tape, scissors, wire, graph paper, and ties/clips. They’ll also have a button maker and LEGO.

saskatoon public library has no childrens fines

There are no late fines on children’s material.

Phew.

You can borrow digitally.

Hard copy isn’t the only way to borrow from the Saskatoon Library, there’s digital materials including books, audio books, music, and magazines. Try Cloud Library and Flipster.

There are books that talk.

VOX books are available although since they’re so new to the collection, quantities are limited. Luckily, you can always do a hold or waitlist.

SPL gets out!

Library staff sets up pop-up interactive stations at events all year long— they were at 28 last year alone. Petra spent ages at their Saskatchewan Green Living Expo booth making buttons with old books and creating stories by making a diorama out of toy animals, waxed yarn, and other bits and bobs. So if you see a Library table, don’t walk by— stop and see what they’re up to.

performers on parade saskatoon library.jpg

There are concerts.

And of course, they’re FREE. The summer series of Performers on Parade features Hoop Dancer Lawrence Roy Jr., classical musicians, children’s fave Sylvia Chave, and African Folktales by Erik de Waal, each of them performing around the city on various dates so you can find some that work for you.

Special events are a regular event.

Coming up is a clowning workshop, puppet show series, family learn-to-camp, beading workshop, teen paint nights, drag queen storytime for Pride Week, rescue animal educational encounter… I mean, there’s a lot. GET THE GUIDE online or around town for dates on these, the concerts, and more.

saskatoon public library summer reading club.jpg

There’s a summer reading club.

The TD Summer Reading Club is both for pre-readers (list the books you read to your child) and for early readers and lets kids earn prizes as they go. There’s also lots of great ideas at the front of the book like making a shaker and throwing a dance party, a fingerplay rhyme, taking writing to the dirt, and other activities designed to foster the love of literacy. Ask your librarian for a booklet.

sneakers and lipstick saskatoon public library knowlympics

The KNOW-lympics are going to be epic.

Talk about a boredom buster: no one can say “there’s nothing to do” with the 2019 Knowlympics Challenge Passport in hand. Each page has a heading like “Math”, “Civic”, or “Arts” with a checklist beneath whose challenges you have to read to understand their breadth. Write numbers 1-12 in Roman numerals, draw a comic strip, read a fairy tale from another country, find a stone and try to identify it… I mean. No wonder you can earn literal medals! I’m going to be doing this with Petra (and to a lesser extent, Paris) and I can’t wait to dive in. Grab your program starting Saturday May 25, and if you can make it, there’s a kickoff at the main branch that day.

You will save money.

Just last year, $43 337 094 was saved by people using the Saskatoon Public Library. Check out the bottom of your receipt next time you’re checking your child’s books out to see how much you’ve saved by borrowing instead of buying.

Not on the library train yet? Hop on.

xo