Tuesday, April 29, 2014

5 Good Reasons to Take Your Kids to the Library Today

I think I was making my Mom crazy and that must be why she took me to the library and introduced me to the librarian, Pepper, who became one of my best friends. She did it in self-defense.

 I felt so grown-up when I got my first library card. I had a new power.

The library was different then and I loved it there. I walked the mile or so a couple of times a week and I still miss that other world. But that was Pepper's library. When I'm reading historical fiction (and that's often) and someone goes to the library, that's the one I imagine.

I introduced my daughter and her kids to a different library with different media and activities to offer and their library opened their world the same as that long ago library did for me. 

I think all kids deserve to have their world opened up for them, don't you? Give them their own power!

I learned to print my name almost before I could read it -- for the sole purpose of getting my own library card. I was so young I had to stand on tiptoe to see over the check-out desk and hand the librarian my application. When the librarian, in turn, handed me a library card with my own name typed on it -- not my mother's -- I was ecstatic. I literally wore out the card in a few months, off and running toward becoming a lifelong reader.
Recognizing the role the library played in my becoming a book lover (and a career children's editor), I herded my kids into the library as soon as they could toddle. Libraries had changed a lot, of course, but -- just as I did -- my kids quickly felt at home there. The children's librarian came to know them, helped them select books, and, even better, encouraged them to also choose their own books. Libraries have played such an essential role in our family that I'm almost gobsmacked when I encounter families who don't share my enthusiasm. Some say that the children's rooms of libraries are an anachronism in a world of mobile screens with books on demand. But I say that while childhood has changed quite a bit, children have not.

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