The modern day library isn’t what you’d expect. Gone are the days of tired spaces offering nothing more than dusty old stacks of John Grisham novels, photocopiers the size of small minivans and giant red ‘SHOOSH’ signs.

Walk into your local branch now and, if you’ve got a half-decent council that’s not afraid to chuck it a bit of coin, you’ll find a digitally-connected hub providing accessible education and communication services to the entire community.

You’re just as likely to come across a 3D printer or a VR headset as you are a box set of scratched Black Adder DVDs.

Of course, there’s still books, books and more books – and as there should be. All the new-fangled (and quickly outdated) innovation in the world is never going to replace the magic and wonder a classic hard cover. I hope they never die. /rant

But, best thing of all for yung_dads like yourself, there’s a host of free services provided by the library for kids, from infants all the way up to teenagers.

Hungover, on dad duty and looking for some time to kill? Scared that your baritone reading voice isn’t cutting it with the little one? Always wanted to teach junior how to code, but just didn’t know where to start? Well friend, the library is the place for you.

Each local library will be different in what it offers (find out more about yours, here.)

You can be sure it’ll include a list of services like

  • Reading classes
  • Online education resources
  • Free tutorials
  • Anime gangs

Add to that the fact every kid’s book you could ever need – from Blinky Bill to A Rule is to Break: A Child’s Guide to Anarchy – is there for you to borrow. And all for free. You can even pick up something for the wife. 

Rockdale Library sydney trees
Rockdale Library

If you and the family aren’t already signed up to your local library, you need to be.

And like you needed any excuse, but this February 2nd is Take your Kid to the Library day. What are you waiting for?

Oh but before I go: Libraries are important cultural and social institutions. Not only do they provide an invaluable free service to the local community, they are gloriously uncompromised.

You can walk into one and know that you’re not going to be treated as a dollar sign. The people that work there (who also double as researchers, personal assistants, advocates and social workers) are there to provide a service to you, that’s funded by you.

They’re not selling you anything, other than a love of free, accessible learning for all. In today’s world, where it seems like every interaction we make has a sales pitch attached, it’s a refreshing feeling.

And it’ll take care of your kids for half an hour while you go and look at old science fiction books and David Boon biographies. Do you know how many stubbies Boony knocked back on the flight from Sydney to London? Go on an adventure to your local library and find out.