After a PCS move, a military family’s to-do list feels never-ending. Not only do you have to unpack those boxes and set up your entire house, but you also probably find yourself looking for a job, trying to get kids enrolled in school and getting lost on your way to the local grocery store, church, hairdresser and gym. A task like getting a library card doesn’t feel like it should be on the top of your to-do list after a PCS move.
But I’m here to tell you, that little library card unlocks a lot. It’s so important that it’s often one of the first stops for my family after we move!
Let me explain: I have five young children, and they all love to read. The only time it’s quiet in our house is on Library Day, when the kids all settle down with fresh reading material, and I get a short respite of much-needed peace. So, after a stressful PCS move when I am already exhausted and frazzled, you better believe I make trips to the library as often as I can!
After years of library trips and PCS moves, I eventually learned that the library offers a lot more than books, and it has helped our family in numerous ways. National Library Week is April 4-10, and it’s a time to celebrate the many ways libraries can help you. Whether you live on base or off base, you can benefit from your local library.
- The library has internet and printers. When you PCS, you often have a few days of “down time” before you can get internet set up in your new place. If you’re tired of the slow Wi-Fi at the hotel, or haven’t yet set up your home office, then head to the local library. They have computers and printers already set up, so you can get work done, check your email and print off that PCS paperwork in one quick trip. It’s also wise to make photocopies of the moving receipts and the service member’s orders so you can get your travel claim processed quickly.
- Audiobooks for the win. If you’ve been unpacking boxes for days and feel like you need a little escape, an audiobook is an enjoyable way to relax. The library’s audiobook section has plug-and-play books that you can enjoy through your own headset. Not sure what genre to choose or who to listen to next? Check out a new author, treat yourself with a fantasy or spy thriller or just veg out with a steamy romance. You can enjoy your audiobook while you walk around your new neighborhood, wash the dishes or even *sigh* get back to unpacking more boxes.
- You need new reading material. Yes, let’s not forget that the library has actual books! If you already powered through a book during your PCS road trip or while you were stuck in a hotel, then look for the next book in the series or another book from the same author. After all the stress of a PCS move, it feels great to curl up in bed with a new book. You put up with the movers, the changes and all the last-minute PCS paperwork; you’ve earned the right to relax for a while!
- The kids need books. That’s right, kids can enjoy books too. And reading is essential when your child is in between schools and waiting to be enrolled. Maybe your kid is anti-reading and would prefer to be playing on their phone, but they’ve probably had tons of screen time during the moving process. Stop by the kid section or the young adult section of your library. Between graphic novels and teen book clubs, the librarian can help you find something that will strike your kids’ fancy. Plus, when they’re reading, they’re quiet, so try to keep them supplied with fresh material for the next few days!
- You need to watch something new. True story: when we moved overseas with three young kids, we brought a laptop and a couple of their favorite DVD’s. It was weeks before our household goods were delivered. After they watched The Lorax for the tenth time in one week, I was sick of the songs in that movie and never wanted to hear them again! I took them to the library on base, checked out some new videos and finally got to hear something different. Even if you aren’t moving overseas, it will probably be a while before your TV is set up with your favorite subscription channels. So, enjoy the variety of movies available at the library for free.
If you need help getting started planning a move, make sure to check out all of the resources available through Military OneSource!