As I was flipping through old photos today I ran across this little gem:
This image captures the day last summer that I took my youngest daughter to get her first library card. As you can see, she was as excited as I was! She had been choosing books since she was old enough to point but until the moment in this photo I checked them out on my card for her. This day was momentous for her. With a library card comes responsibility for returning books on time and in good shape. This is an important lesson!
Our preschool students walk to the library every week, sometimes twice! They enjoy a story time, check out books and sometimes attend special events. Our after-school and summer programs use the Bookmobile and nearby libraries all year long. The library is an important place for me and for our programs and I was struck today by just how much I value the library system. I decided to use my turn on our blog today to talk about why I love the library, particularly for children.
I am all for technology and certainly value a good e-book. However, I have to confess that I still love to hold a book in my hands. I think this began for me in a moment much like my daughter’s first library card moment. My grandmother took me to the library weekly and my parents encouraged a love of books. I think there is something special about walking through the aisles and aisles of books and marveling and just how many there are to choose from! It motivates reading and exploring new and different books. Walking past a colorful display of mysteries I can’t resist trying a new author or at least skimming the back cover of a title or two.
There is something about holding a book that someone else has checked out and returned. Libraries connect people. Have you ever wondered who read the library book before you? Are their interests the same as yours? As my daughters pick a book of the shelf that I remember reading as a child I sort of hope it is the same worn out copy I spent hours with. When my oldest daughter checked out a book on her favorite animal, the Malayan tapir, she came to the realization that she isn’t the only person in the world or even in Sioux Falls that cares about tapirs. Someone else has read the book too!
Speaking of connecting people, I have met so many interesting people in the library and shared so many smiles as we pass. The people in libraries are diverse in many, many ways. The librarians are also treasures with a wealth of knowledge ready to be shared. Libraries often house events designed to bring our community together ranging from puppet shows to seminars and book clubs.
Finally, on a day when the wind is blowing and my mind is busy and full I think the quiet of a library is a gift that cannot be ignored. My daughters learned to whisper in libraries and churches. There is a quiet calm found in libraries that is contagious. I walk in and feel myself wind down. I watch others do the same. There is a reason people study and read in libraries and a reason we value the quiet there. It is hard to find type of quiet. I hope that my daughters and students continue to enjoy the quiet, the smiles, the people and of course the books in libraries for the rest of their lives. I know I will!
Director of Childcare and Education
For a little bonus entertainment, click on the link below for a video of how nervous excited my daughter was when she returned books to the automatic check-in machine for the first time.