I’m ashamed to say that once upon a time I was sort of a book snob. If I wanted a book, I’d go right to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. I figured if it was worth my time to read it was worth my money to buy it brand new (or slightly used- excellent condition). I knew we had a public library close by, a pretty good one too. But that was for everyone else. Not for me. I don’t quite know how I ever formed this attitude towards sharing books. I have really fond memories of my mom and dad taking my family to the library all the time. I checked out every Babysitter Club, Black Stallion Series, and Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on. We’d check out a heap of book and go home to read them in our pajamas before bedtime. I have one particular memory stuck in my head of snuggling up on our light blue velvet couch with my book and a blanket. I must have finished all my homework because I remember feeling excited to finally have time to read my book. It was dark and snowy outside and we’d turned on our fireplace. The house was warm and smelled of dinner baking in the oven…
Anyway, it’s funny what a financial crisis will do to a person. When Carl lost his job years ago we were forced to cut our spending down to a bare minimum and my snobbery was snuffed out cold. Buying books was simply out of the question. I think at that point I’d been to the public library once or twice and had actually picked up a library card. It was time to put it to good use. I’m ever so grateful to say that things are much, much better now with Carl working full time and on the fast track to earning his MBA. I’m also grateful to say that it was all those trips to the library that made me fall in love with the public library system. I mean, think about it. A building FULL OF BOOKS, and good ones too! Anyone can check out a book, read it, enjoy it, bring it back and trade it for another one FOR FREE! (Assuming you bring it back on time.) Really, it’s such a beautiful thing.
My kids love our trips to the library. Crew makes a B-line to the natural science section to inhale facts about bugs, animals and sea creatures. (Be warned that if you ask him about any of those topics he will regurgitate facts for 30 minutes straight.) Jax heads straight for the computer to search for the latest Pokemon books. Milo prefers to play at the hands-on-learning table that someone was fabulous to donate. It has all kinds of blocks to build with, magnets to fit together, stuff like that. It keeps him quietly occupied while the other two look for books.
“Look Mommy, I built a temple!”
I like to browse the isles for chapter books to read to my kids at bedtime. I’ve come across several books I’d forgotten all about but vaguely remember reading when I was a kid. Like this one. I’m sure my boys would love hearing about a boy who decides to run away and live in the mountains. Maybe they’d realize how good they have it at home. *wink*
My one and only complaint about our library is the long wall of computers they have set up just for kids to use. It’s right as you walk into the children’s section of the library and usually full of kids playing video games, mostly educational, but video games none the less. (BTW, I hate video games.)
Our trips to the library usually begin with, “Remember, we came to the library to find books not to play video games.” I know most people view this as another great feature of our library. To me it’s just frustrating. I’m constantly trying to pull my kids away from screens and video games at home so I’d hoped this would be a good escape. Sooner or later they gravitate to the computers and hover over some other kid’s’ shoulder. I have to herd them to another section of the library to break the trance. Those computers are such a distraction from what the library is really all about. BOOKS!
I’ll be honest with you, I still really like to buy books. And this is the best part. There is a tiny little book shop just outside the front doors to the library. Every day they push carts outside with signs saying, “2 books for $1” or “3 for $2”. Now that’s my price range! I’ve snagged some great gently used titles from those carts. So we all go home happy and excited to read. I’ll make dinner that night while my kids quietly read and look at pictures, just like when I was growing up.
I really do hope that these trips to the library help them grow up loving books the way I did. Maybe they’ll even have a fun memory or two of their own to share with my grandkids. One can only hope!