We live smack in the middle of two libraries within walking distance. I feel like I am the QUEEN OF THE WORLD. Now. I've always been a fan of libraries, who hasn't right, but now that I have kids WELL free educational fun? SIGN US UP.
10 reasons to love libraries!
- THEY ARE FREE. I mean, technically we help pay for them, but really, they are free. They are a gd national treasure. Everything is so expensive. Everything. So to have a safe, clean, educational, social place to go anytime? Well, slap my bottom and call me Francis. I am in.
- THE CLASSES. There is always some little drop in class or sign up class or online class or something going on. For all age levels. And the BOOK CLUBS. Man do I love a good book club. Story time and play time and dance time and explore time. It's all there. Get online and look at those schedules and mark your calendars. I have reminders all over damn place so we don't miss the ones we want to attend. There are great play areas and train sets and all the other kids. The socialization aspect is HUGE for little ones. For the adults too.
- THE BOOKS. THE MOVIES. THE GOODS. We leave with about 20 books each time and a few dvds. We all know kids attention spans aren't that great and they need variety, so the library is a great way to give them all that without spending a ton of money on books and movies. LOAD EM UP. It also keeps me accountable and makes me feel like a very responsible social citizen when I get them all returned on time. For somebody like me, this is a big deal. I appreciate it. I have a great reputation at these libraries and I swear to go you best not go marring my name, any of you kids. And the books, man. FOR US ADULTS. ALWAYS BE READING A BOOK. It's a great gift you can give to yourself.
- THE LIBRARIANS. These people are among the best on the planet. The way to handle our behavior our messes our laughter our fits our questions. They encourage and inspire. They sing and dance and help us to read. They give us the gift of books. Possibly the greatest gift of all.
- THE RESOURCES. You can find anything you need at the library. Once upon a time it really was the only way to look things up. You had to physically get up out of your bed and change your pajamas and GO TO THE LIBRARY and ask the questions to find the answers. Before Google. You know what? We can still do that. We can still go to the library and talk to other people to find what we need. The other day I was behind a woman requesting the entire catalog of Fran Drescher be put on hold. Books, tv, movies - she would drive to various libraries to pick them up. Now, I admire this woman's passion. You can find whatever you are looking for at the library or someone who will help you find it.
- BOOKS ARE THE LIFEBLOOD of my imagination, escape, hopes, dreams, fantasies, realities, wisdom, inner peace, inner turmoil, they make me a better writer. When I read other people's words, it feeds my creativity and helps me hone my own voice. It's not comparison, it's striving to be better. More clear. More concise. More me. Always be learning and growing. When we think we've got it all figured out, we are in trouble. That goes for my writing tenfold. I have so much to learn and reading so many other voices is a great way to absorb and figure out what speaks to me and what I can leave behind. My favorite writers give me the courage and the wisdom to carry on.
- BOOKS ARE THE ULTIMATE ESCAPE. You can't do anything else when you're reading. I forget where I am, I miss my train stops. That is the ultimate compliment, when an author makes me lose my everything in a book.
- THE CHARACTERS AND THE STORIES. And I'm not talking about books here. I'm talking about real live physical people. The library has given me some of my best stories because it's given me some of the best experiences. There are always interesting people there. I love striking up conversations with folks and hearing their stories. The library is a great place to do just that.
- THE RITUAL. THE BONDING. THE ROUTINE. My kids know each week we go. Most weeks. Sometimes twice a week and when the weather is bad, more. They look forward to it and know what to expect and get excited about. They've learned so much about behavior as well as play and social interaction in these early years already simply from these repetitive trips to the library. Today is my favorite.
- THE WATER CLOSETS. Being that we are on the Great Bathroom Tour of America, we are very appreciative of clean, easily accessible bathrooms. Most even have the lower potties and sinks for the kiddos. That is everything to us right now. Our kiddos are very reliable at letting me know when they have to go at this point, but a lot of the time we just want to check out the new bathrooms and that's cool too because the library facilities are excellent.
I am so grateful. To libraries and to writers and to librarians and to all the resources we have - for free! Now get out there! I am incredibly pleased that my kids get to experience all libraries have to offer and have from such an early age. A love of reading and respect for books and libraries and knowledge is the greatest gift we could pass along. Kindness, in library and literary form.
My little mama is what you might call a voracious reader. She encouraged us from when we were tiny to read and love the library and she has gone on to do so with her 6 grandchildren now as well. Her local libraries know her eating and sleeping habits. She is on every waiting list for every book in every library in her entire state. She devours books as cookie monster does cookies. Only she's much more dainty. I asked her to write a bit about libraries and what they mean to her and here is her response. I adore it.
I know that Disneyland is supposed to be the happiest place on earth, but I would submit that the public library runs a close second, at least to book lovers like me. I have a long happy history with libraries. One of my fondest memories from my growing-up years is that of loading all the books I'd read in the last week into the basket of my two-wheeler, riding it downtown (I use the term loosely), and trading them in for a whole new crop. I would take as many as I could possibly get home. I still remember the stone lions flanking the front doors of the library and the wonderful way it always smelled inside—paper, ink, and unlimited possibilities.
There were no gifted or special ed programs when I was going to school. Everyone did the same work at the same time. But, year after year, I remember that I could always talk my teachers into letting me read what I wanted if I got my work done early. And you know I got it done early.
I've heard Oprah talk about how she loved reading from the very first time those letters made sense to her. I was the same way. About five years ago, my oldest grandchild learned to read. I got him a tee shirt that said something about “Welcome to the Club.” I know—extremely corny, and I doubt he ever wore it. But I just wanted to mark the occasion—the beginning of years of pleasure for him.
Over the years, having a good book to read has been a constant for me. After graduating from college, it took me a while to realize I could read just for pleasure again. I had spent four years reading what other people had assigned me; I couldn't believe that the choice was mine again.
My husband traveled nearly every week for about twenty years when our children were growing up. Other moms often asked me how I handled that. Well, one thing that sweetened those days was knowing I could go to bed when my kids did and read my brains out. Once they learned to read, Katy and Andy were often doing the same thing in each of their bedrooms. We were as happy as clams, and supposedly clams are really happy.
I remember Andy, at probably around age six. He had the chicken pox, so I would situate him in a bathtub with some baking soda in it for the itching. He'd settle in, and one time he called, “Mom, will you bring me that one Snoopy book?” Why waste a good soak, right?
I keep thinking that one of these days, public libraries are going to decide they have to charge us something for each book we take out. Honestly, I've always felt it's the best deal in town. I love me my Barnes and Noble; don't get me wrong. But most of the books I read, I don't need to own. I have a small collection of my very favorites (Anne Lamott, Maya Angelou, Mr. Shakespeare). But I'd be living in a cardboard box if I had to buy everything I want to read. So thank you, public libraries; long may you wave. Thank you, Ben Franklin, for starting the whole thing. And thank you, Miss Adeline Smith, my first grade teacher, for unlocking the mysteries of reading for me. I'll be forever grateful.
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