If your house looks anything like mine, you have a collection of books in almost every room. There are board books in the playroom, decorative books in the living room, light reading for the—ahem—bathroom, and classic novels in the office. We’re surrounded by a beautiful library, but we don’t tend to revisit the books we own once we know the story they hold within their covers. It’s a paradox that has left me wondering if this so-called hobby is worth the investment, or if I just like to use books as dust collectors. As I wondered, my mind wandered, and it took me right to a place where my love for reading and my desire to minimize dusting assembled—the library.
I was hesitant to make the trip because my memories of the library have always been focused around the mandate to be quiet. Students were given explicit instructions that if we must talk, we had to use our “library voice,” which meant whispering in our friend’s ear. I think most of us know that whispering can be a challenge for kids. Truth be told, I crave that silence now as an adult, but the thought of taking my toddler and setting unrealistic expectations for her and myself seemed daunting. Alas, off we went.
To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. Sure, the library was still quieter than most places, but I saw so many new opportunities for learning and entertainment in a building that I thought would be stuck in the 1990s just as my memories were. Now, it’s a discovery development that we visit on a weekly basis. So, if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you want to make the trip down memory lane, here are five reasons why you should at least consider getting a library card.
That’s right. One less thing for me to clean. Granted, I have to keep track of the books to make sure we return them on time with all of the pages in tact, but as long as I don’t have to clean it, it’s welcome in my house. They’re ALL welcome in my house; from the board books to the classic novels, we can have it all and return it all. What a truly beautiful proposition.
The World in Your Hands
Initially, there was a very apparent learning curve that I had to adjust to. The library has matured from the card catalog days to the digital era that we’re familiar with now, but I still didn’t know where to begin. There are so many books, and I wanted to read them all. After a few weeks, we found that choosing a theme was a system that worked for our family. A certain place, a particular holiday, a hobby of interest, etc. By choosing a theme at the library, it helped to create discussions around the house, play with themed-toys, and get excited about a field trip or upcoming event.
A Digital Library
On the off-chance that we don’t make it there physically, the digital library offers a plethora of e-books and magazines, audio books, digital music, videos, and movies. And for all of the readers who aren’t interested in flipping a page in the literal sense, the digital library is where they read electronically.
There are plenty of free in-person, interactive events that students can participate in. Our library offers literacy scavenger hunts at the local park; walk-in tutoring hours; story-time for the whole family to enjoy; songs and movement activities; one-to-one computer help sessions; board games that encourage cooperation, problem solving, letter and word recognition, and critical-thinking skills; plus page-to-screen movie showings; and more. All activities support literacy skill development and help foster a love of books and reading in you and your child. And, if you’re interested, you can visit one or all of the library locations to see the unique attributes and services each has to offer.
It’s Still a Quiet Place
Yes, despite all of that mumbo jumbo about it being “too quiet,” the library can also be a place for me to separate from the outside world and dive inside whatever genre I’m in the mood for. How ironic!