I love, love, love reading. I don’t so much love going to the library with all the kids in tow. I spend the first 4 months of the school year stressed out that my crying baby, running toddler, and missing-in-action preschooler are stressing out all the other quiet and orderly library patrons. Then I spend the last 4 months of the school year perfecting the in-and-out-before-meltdown method of library attendance. “Kid 1 and 2, you know where your books are. Go pick out 15 each. Kid 3, the picture books are over there. I will come get you in 10 minutes. Kid 4, hold onto the stroller, you get to come with mom to get the school books. Baby – we’re almost done, you can do it, for goodness sakes, we’re gonna make it this time!”
I’m not ashamed to say we were doing pretty well for a while there.
And then the kids found the “kid” computers that only work about half the time, which really just means now I have frustrated children who get mad and have freak outs in the library again. So there was a little set back. Yes, I reverted to the I’m-internally-freaking-out-because-my-kids-don’t-follow-library-etiquette-protocols method.
But you see, with coaching and teaching and repetition they are learning and figuring things out and once again, life is getting better at the library. Just in time for summer.
That is enough incriminating evidence for one blog post. Let’s move on.
I love having a big library close and with no limitation on how many books I can check out at a time. THAT makes a huge difference – the no limitations clause. Every now and then there is a book I want to buy and just have for my very own forever and ever, but really, I don’t have that much storage space.
But the library does! I can pretend all those books belong to me anyway. Public library = my library, right?
In my homeschool we use lots and lots of library books for our history lessons. We do have a “textbook” that we read too. It has a chapter for each event or subject in history and moves chronologically through the history of the world. But just reading that little chapter opens up so many possibilities of learning. Our “textbook” was never meant to be the complete history course. Our complete course is at our library! This, I believe, is the concept behind “living books” and “living history.”
Occasionally I check out books for science as well. And always we check out books just for fun. My husband and I read almost every night. (In fact, last night we were up until midnight just reading YA fiction – which yes I do regret today – a little bit.) Our kids see our stacks of reading books and they start to form their own stacks of reading books.
School Stack, or Row. (I always wondered what those awkward ledges along the basement walls were for. I figured some sort of structural necessity. But I’ve figured out they are actually just built in bookshelves. 🙂 Yay for me and the awkward walls downstairs!)
Here is my warning on library usage. Libraries are not equal. Now everyone knows this is true, but no one knows this as well as the homeschool mom whose resident town has a subpar library. I am grateful for this cute little 70s era building with its quaint little aisles. But as far as variety and quality of books go, I know my time is better spent driving 20 minutes to the bigger building. I looked up non-fiction children’s books on Native Americans in my cute little library and was sorely disappointed. Then two weeks later I was at the farther but bigger building and was blown away by how many books were available. I felt like kicking myself for not just driving over to the bigger library first!
This next year we will be required to buy a library pass at the bigger library – and it isn’t cheap. But it is so worth it to me.
Still, we do support our local 70s building. This is where we go during the summer. (See a few paragraphs ago you all gasped in shock and dismay that I would somehow admit to not going to the library just because “official school” was out. We just go to the local library. I don’t mind my kids freaking out in public there. All the other kids are out of school in summer too and they are freaking out right alongside mine so I don’t feel so out of place.) We sign up for the summer reading program here, and are back getting stacks of new books once a week from mid May to mid August.
My preschooler almost kindergartner preffers this library. He was explaining to me a few months ago that the bigger library always makes him feel funny. He couldn’t explain it, he just didn’t feel right every time we were there. The way he was talking I was starting to think something creepy was haunting the library. But upon further investigation he admitted that he gets a funny tickle in his throat every time we get off the freeway into our hometown when coming back from said library. So I have less sympathy for him now. Of course, after that miss 1st grader rallied to his side and confessed that she usually gets headaches from the larger library. So maybe there is something creepy lurking in the library – like dust, or just lots and lots of little kids’ germs all over the place.
Now just for your amusement or a transition into deeper thoughts should you choose to dwell on them, I found this meme on Facebook and thought it was funny/strange. Maybe I am just totally out of the loop (which is actually more plausible than not) but seriously? Is there an anti-library movement out there? I have never once in my life met (virtually or in real life) an anti-librarian. I suppose I hang out with the wrong crowds. Let’s just be grateful all those senior citizens and teens aren’t getting into trouble out there on the streets!
For the record, 8 year old maybe spends more time than anyone in the house besides me reading books. But every time I tried to take a photo of him he ran away. I’ll just have to be sneakier next time!