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Poll Says Everyone Would Rather Go to the Library than the Movies and Parents Know Why

Duh. It's free.

The life of a parent always seems to be filled with so much hustle and bustle. We always have something we’re late for or forgot to do. Sleeping in means staying in bed until 7am and weekends are no longer reserved for recharging from the workweek. We’ve replaced sleep with cartoons and cuddles, and restful weekends with taking our kids to and from their activities. It can be expensive to entertain your kids when you want to have a little downtime and that’s why this poll that says people would rather go to the library than the movies makes total sense. Here’s why.

According to a recent 2019 Gallup poll, a follow-up from their 2001 poll, going to the local library is “the most common cultural activity Americans engage in,” and it’s winning by a lot. People visit the library, on average, 10.5 times a year, and the activity in second place, which is going to a movie at the movie theater, is done on average 5.3 times a year.

Other activities that round out the list include attending a live sporting event, live music or theater performance, visiting a national park, museum, or casino, and visiting a theme park or zoo finished off the list with an average of 0.9 times a year. The numbers breakdown is a little different when the poll looks at those with kids under 18, but the list order remains the same.

As a parent to four kids, taking a quick glance at these poll results, it makes complete sense to me why the top of the list is the library, and the bottom is the theme park or the zoo. All these are fun events to take children to, but only one is typically free and encourages your kids to be still and quiet.

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Yes, the library. The parent-approved sanctuary we can take our kids to on a Saturday when we want to calm our brain and know the kids are not going to make our headache worse—or cost us a whole day’s wages. Most libraries have a kid’s section that we can see from a few aisles away, and one of the most well-known rules of the place is to keep the volume levels down. There’s entertainment for or kids with free storytime that we don’t have to read, or they can play with the quiet puzzles, or choose a picture book to glance at. The only costs are the time it takes to drive or walk there, some reminders to keep the volume levels down, and the one-time-only hassle* of getting a free library card (*hassle depending on how calm or young your kids are the first day you go).

Long live the local libraries!