The Magic in Your Local Library


Teleportation tops the charts for cool magical powers. My kids and I get to experience this magic, usually once or twice a week. The teleportation takes place once we enter the magic portal, that is…the library.

When we PCS to a new duty station, our first stop is the library. We may not have groceries, but we have books. The library has provided a constant for my kids when we move place to place, whether it is a base library or the local city library. The location may not be the same, but what’s inside remains constant. Smiling, helpful magicians (librarians), books to help them escape, games to unwind, and a calming haven. Stability. When we moved to our new duty station last summer, we were unexpectedly delayed in TLF and  my kids and I ventured to the base library almost daily. There was air conditioning, toys for my kids to play with, arts and crafts, games, couches, and books. If we had needed computers, they were there. My kids were able to make connections with the librarians and participate in the summer reading program. This gave them something to look forward to in a time that was an upheaval from “normal.”

If you are lucky enough to live near a duty station that still has a library, check it out. There are often services for the whole family to take advantage of. If you are looking for a summer reading program to prevent the summer reading slide, they are your spot. Most military libraries use the Beanstack App to track reading and kids and adults can earn prizes. All you need is a military ID to get a library card for the base and that allows you access to Libby (formerly Overdrive) to check out digital books and materials for free! Another unique part of the base library is that they understand military lifestyles, and they have a whole section of books for deployment/military topics.     

Our local library system is AMAZING. The librarians know our family, are always willing to help my children find books they’re looking for and talk to my children about what they’re interested in reading. We also joined the summer reading program at our city library, which uses paper trackers for recording reading. Anything to keep my kids engaged with reading is a plus for me.

The local library system is huge. They are a bigger library connected to a whole county of libraries which is great for the inter-library loan program. I taught my children how to search the catalog, place holds for books, and they love it. This allows them a portal to even more books and resources. Also with a library card, you can access Libby and Hoopla for free, which has been nice for accessing more books that can be easily downloaded onto the family kindle for road trips.

Lastly, if your local school has a library, get involved. When we went to the open house at my kid’s new school, they were eager to get a peek at the library. They said, “wow, this is like a real library.” My kids’ school librarian is phenomenal! I would like to hang out all day in the school library. It’s truly a magical portal into a safe place.

If you have not connected with a base/city/school library in your community. I urge you to do it. You’ll never know what book you put in the hands of your children today, that will stay with them for a lifetime. Discover the pieces of magic all around you.

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Ellen Kehs
Ellen Kehs was born and raised in Evanston, Illinois where she met and later married her high school sweetheart, Mason. Together they’ve traveled the world, most recently touching down in Florida in June 2022. She’s a mom to three little boys, Theodore (eleven), Woodrow (nine) and Maximus (six). Life is never boring with her boys! Ellen loves being a military spouse and she embodies the “bloom where you are planted” mentality. In addition to soaking up whatever current city she’s living in, she is passionate about reading and getting books in the hands of children, as well as helping other mamas connect with each other. She has a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education, a master’s degree in adolescent literacy and technology, and she teaches full-time online, in addition to being a stay-at-home mom. Her hobbies include, exploring, reading, swimming, napping, snapping pictures, playing games, baking, and loving on the little men in her life.