I go to the library once a week. It amazes me how many people, especially parents, are shocked that I do not go to the bookstore instead. They frequently make outlandish comments about a library verse a bookstore and its measure on your social status. I often hear, “Don’t you prefer a book that is not damaged? Torn? Been attacked by cartoon drawings? Or missing a page?” Then there is the, “Aren’t library books dirty? Can’t you get sick from them? Isn’t the library only for people without computers?” I find anyone who judges a way to freely bring the written word into peoples lives are not people I care to know. I like the worn in books. They have character and it restores my faith in people. It means people still love the hard covers, the flipping of pages and the smell the books throw off. A folded ear tab on a book that you are currently reading lets you imagine why the previous reader did that. Where they done for the day or loved that page so much that they needed to remember it?
When it comes to bookstores my logic is simple. At the bookstore you have to tell your kid “No.” No child should have limitations on the books they want to read but many of these new hardcover children’s books tend not to fit into your budget. Who wants to spend 26 dollars for ten pages of illustration and words that most likely will be attacked by thing with a blue crayon? Also, by the time you get home, read it, you find it does not convey a message you like or it is simply put – lame. If I am going to be stuck reading a book 100 times then I am going to enjoy it too.
At the library we run our fingers along the spines as we walk up and down the aisle waiting for an adventure to find us. Our local library has a charming juvenile section with a computer lab in the center of it. We always end up on the computers but first we pick out books.
My kids are given three simple rules when selecting a book:
1. Each kid can pick out two books.
2. One book can be picked based on color, interesting characters on the cover, or any other reason they come up with that makes them need to bring that book home.
3. The second book must be selected with the intention to be read to me.
I always pick out the 7th book. This makes it so we have a book for each night until our next library excursion. My book is usually something humorous or one that I know they will like or can relate too. Last week I picked out a book that was about a duck who wouldn’t allow his neighbor bear to fall asleep because he wanted a playmate. It reminded me of thing and the twins. It filled the girls bedroom with laughter making it an instant favorite when we read it at home. This week I have selected a book about a panda who is giving away doughnuts but is sad when no one remembers their pleases and thank yous.
I like the library. It is quiet and it lets your imagination run free. The library also offers a number of free programs and indoor entertainment for the summer. It reaches over 115 degrees on some summer days and having indoor options besides your own home is key. What kid would not want to sign up for weekly board game day, lego day or craft day? I know I do! Do you think they will let me play too?