Feeling the pinch? 4 free ways families can make the most of the library

This blog post is brought to you by Fostering Hampshire Children. Check out their #OpenYourDoor campaign to learn more about what foster care is and how you can support children across the county who need our help. 

Libraries have long been a haven for adventurers, mystery solvers, romantics, inventors and historians to settle down with a title to quench their curiosity. And it’s not just books that libraries provide; there are courses to learn a new skill, clubs to spark imagination, groups to make connections and resources to support you through some of life’s challenges.  

There’s so much your local library can do for you and your family that it can be hard to know where to begin, so we’ve rounded up some of the best free and low-cost things Hampshire Library has on offer for families. 

Connect with clubs

Children playing with construction blocks at the library

Hampshire Libraries’ various clubs and activities are a great way to catch kids’ curiosity! Maybe they want to learn about coding, or perhaps they want to try constructing something from their wildest dreams. Whatever their interest, they’ll be able to meet and make friends with other young people while learning something new and having fun. The best thing? Most of these activities are free, meaning you save money on toys and teaching! 

Books, but different

An image of an audiobook displayed on a smartphone

Not everyone likes reading hard copy books, and that’s okay! BorrowBox has eBooks and audiobooks that you can access wherever you are, and specially curated lists put together by Hampshire Libraries’ very own teams. There are also titles for children and young adults, meaning that they don’t even have to put down their phone or tablet to lose themselves in a good story.

The reason for rhyme

Parent holding child on lap while listening to a rhymetime session at the library

Did you know that bringing your little one along to a rhymetime session at your local library can be helpful for their development? Not only will it help them learn new sounds and words, it can boost the social skills they’ll need when they start school. You’ll also get to meet other parents and carers giving you some of that much needed adult time – don’t believe the myth that you have to be silent in the library, stay afterwards for a natter with your new friends! 

Get online

Young adult wearing headphones using a laptop at the library

Broadband speed in a slump? PC on the fritz? Missing technology needn’t be a barrier to getting homework sorted or emails seen to. There’s free WiFi in all of our libraries, computers that are completely free for all library card holders to use, and access to printers and photocopying for a small charge. Plus, you can use Access to Research on any Hampshire Libraries computer, giving you access to 15 million peer-reviewed articles. Homework = sorted! 

There’s lots more to Hampshire Libraries than books, so find your local branch and see what’s on! 

Construction Clubs

Our Construction Clubs are free, drop-in sessions where children and adults get a chance to play and build using plastic bricks; most commonly Lego® bricks or Duplo® bricks.
It’s the perfect chance to let your child’s creativity flow, as well as you own!

We’ve seen some amazing builds over the years; houses, cars, planes, penguins, Santas, snowmen, castles, spaceships and many, many other incredible creations.
We can’t wait to see what will be created in the sessions to come!

For the days in between Construction Club, why not try one of the many amazing building books available in our libraries, here’s just a few:

LEGO absolutely everything you need to know

By Simon Hugo

LEGO awesome ideas

By Daniel Lipkowitz

LEGO play book


Brick animals : clever and creative ideas to make from classic LEGO

By Warren Elsmore

Build fabulous figures

By Sebastian Quigley

LEGO Star Wars ideas book

By Hannah Dolan, Elizabeth Dowsett and Simon Hugo

LEGO Tips, Tricks and Building Tech : The Big Unofficial LEGO Builders Book

By Joachim Klang and Tim Bischoff

The LEGO animation book : make your own LEGO movies!

By David Pagano and David Pickett

The LEGO adventure book

By Megan H. Rothrock

Brick cars and trucks : clever and creative ideas to make from classic LEGO

By Earren Elsmore

To find out when your local library’s Construction Club takes place, have a look here

Photos courtesy of:
Aldershot Library
Bridgemary Library 
Eastleigh Library
Fair Oak Library
Farnborough Library
Fleet Library
Hedge End Library
Hythe Library
Netley Library
Portchester Library
South Ham Library
Totton Library
Waterlooville Library
West End Library

LEGO® is a trademark of the LEGO Group of companies which does not sponsor, authorize or endorse this site nor the groups mentioned in this blog.