An Ode to the Library

It’s National Library Week (April 8-14)! How about showing your local library, school library and librarians a little love this week?

How do I love the library? Let me count the ways.

1) Story time. In years past, we’ve participated in weekly toddler story times filled with books, finger plays, songs, felt boards and other play. Most likely your library has toddler and preschool story times as well as book clubs for all ages. There’s always fun to be had at the library.

2) Computers. Could I afford all the learning software my children can use for free on the library computers? Nope! But at the library, the boys can play Millie’s Math House, Bailey’s Book House and World Explorer to their hearts’ content.

3) Librarians. Librarians know, and they know how to find out. I once did an apple story time for some children in the park. I asked a librarian for help finding some apple-themed picture books. Within 5 minutes, she had a stack of 15 fiction and nonfiction titles. What a treasure!

4) Research. Whenever I have an idea for a picture book, I start with the library. Using the online catalog, I research multiple children’s books related to my topic to see what’s already been produced. I put them on hold and peruse them. Then, once I’ve narrowed my focus, I go back to the library to find research sources.

5) Book sales. Our “Friends of the Library” has the best book sales. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a stack of children’s books priced at 8 for $1. Among our treasures was the original Madeline book.

6) Play space. Our library has a fantastic children’s section filled with LEGOs, a kitchen and much, much more. When it’s blazing hot in the summer or if the wind is blowing at 40 mph, the library is a great spot for some indoor play.

7) Books, books and more books: picture books, nonfiction books, early readers and even books for adults. On any one day, we have about 35 library books at our house. These turn over every two weeks or so. I could never buy this many books for myself or my children (without taking out a second mortgage). The library lets us read every book we’ve ever wanted to.

8) Magazines. I frequently check out children’s magazines to see what they are publishing. I also read them to see if they might be a magazine we want to subscribe to. It’s nice to “try before you buy.”

Yes, I could go on about the library all day. A library is one of my favorite places, along with bookstores, museums, historic houses and botanic gardens. So this week, I challenge you to make your way to your nearest library and show the library and the staff a little love.

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13 responses to “An Ode to the Library

  1. Lovely. Just lovely! No government in its sane mind could contemplate municipal or school library cuts!

  2. Hoping to hear how you would share the love – I might bring in a bouquet from the garden! Our main branch has been under renovations for months, so I would love to give them a day-off break from having to work with ll the noises and fumes – too bad it is not in my power!

  3. What a great post 😉 I am writing my next newspaper column on how awesome libraries are and also to tell people how they are loosing money. You have given me some great ideas!

  4. This might be blatantly off-topic, but your concluding sentence leads me to think that you should move to my neighborhood in Brooklyn! I live within walking distance of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 3 branches of the Brooklyn Public Library, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Lefferts Manor Landmark District which offers historic house tours every year. If you’re ever considering a major relocation!

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