The Bookstore. The Library. The Bookstore.

The Bookstore. The Library. The Bookstore.

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Recently, in preparation for a family vacation, we stopped at Barnes and Noble to pick up some Colorforms (remember those?) Old school, I know, but therein lies the charm; a simple, imagination-based toy with no messy pieces – travel perfection!

While we were at the bookstore, I was shocked to witness my children react with such energetic enthusiasm to being surrounded by so many wonderful books at “The Library.” The what? The Library?!?

That’s right, Atia and Asher have had so little exposure to a real library that they truly believed Barnes and Noble was The Library. At that moment, a little piece of me died inside.

I couldn’t believe that they’d think that way. I quickly corrected them and began racking my brain, cataloguing all the times we’d been to the library. Well, there was the time when Atia was a baby and we were visiting my sister, and the time when… The time when…

Oh shit! That was the ONLY time we’d been to the library. That means that Asher had never, ever been to one.

Later that night, Steve and I discussed this revelation. Why hadn’t we been to the library more often? Admittedly, it is not a great reason, but it is our reality – our local city library branch isn’t exactly somewhere we’d like to spend much time (it isn’t even air conditioned), and a good branch (which there are loads of in the city) isn’t convenient for us. So there you have it.

We’ve spent our time reading books we own, unknowingly avoiding the library - a staple childhood experience that we’d accidentally withheld from our children. The guilt, oh, the guilt!

Immediately, Steve and I vowed to rectify the wrongdoing, and we've been seeking library opportunities ever since. Last week, when we were down in Chatham (a suburb of Springfield, IL), my sister and I took the kids to The Library. As expected, the kids had a ball. They played in the fully-equipped toddler area sporting a puppet stage, a toy house, and adorable reading chairs. The kids and their cousins explored its offerings finding joy in everything, even the old 1970’s headphones connected to the electronic book reader.

The kids enjoyed The Library and so did I. It was fun discovering a little quiet area in which to read Berenstain Bears books, while sitting amongst the stuffed family, or cuddling close to Atia on the piggy chair while she sounded out the words in Skelly the Skeleton.

Yep, finding a library in Chicago has now become a top-priority. I like the idea of spending time there; it beats watching the Berenstain Bears on TV anytime! If you’re in Chicago and have a nice library nearby, I’d love to hear about it. Any chance there’s convenient parking nearby?


Asher was so excited to see Papa Bear and Brother Bear


Atia and her cousin, Cierstin, ran directly to the puppet show stage to put on a show.


Asher and his cousin, Paxton, weren't phased by the antiquated equipment. They enjoyed the storytelling all the same.

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