Okay, I'm cheating a little here by using last summer's pictures, but I wanted to talk for a minute about how much I adore our public library and the entire public library system. Go libraries!!!
Just this morning I was explaining to Harper that Summer Reading Club was over and that we'd have to wait until next year for another reading club. AND THEN we were at preschool story time this afternoon and found out that there is a special fall reading club, just for preschoolers, sponsored by the libraries and the metro parks. We signed up immediately. It's especially cool because there are several themes - each theme has a bookmark and each bookmark has a reading list and an activity list. You read a book off the list and do one activity off the list and then you can get your bug stamp for that theme. The idea is that you read books and they inspire you to get out and DO things.
Um, it sounds more complicated than it is. Harper is excited and so am I. It gives us something to focus on for the next couple of weeks until school beings. It's also good motivation to get out into our parks more. We are good at taking advantage of library programs, but not as good at utilizing the many amazing parks around here...
Anyway, back to the libraries. We consistently attend both baby and preschool story time. Harper has been going to story time since she was a toddler, about seventeen months old, and, when given a choice, she has never once told me she didn't want to go to the library. Michael already gets excited if you ask him if he'd like to go to story time, or if he'd like to go see our librarian, Miss Pat.
There was a huge uproar in Ohio this year, when the governor planned to cut the budget for libraries by 50%. Thanks to the public outcry the cuts ended up being only about 30%, better, but still such a shame. Our libraries provide wonderful public services, not only do they make books, music, and movies available for free, but they also offer all sorts of classes/services to help improve lives in our communities: literacy services, job services, computer access, etc. I know I'm not really even skimming the surface here, and a lot of that stems from the fact that the libraries offer a host of services that I don't particularly need, but I know my community needs them.
I wonder, sometimes, if all the parents are aware of how many early literacy skills are embedded into those story times. I wonder if they realize how much effort our librarian puts in to make sure those 30-45 minutes really count.
If you could see the number of books and CDs in my house (especially children's books) you would wonder why on earth I would ever bother with the library. But, as much as I may have tried, I don't have all the books. :-) And I love that the library carries things my children will enjoy temporarily so I don't have to buy them - like the 47 Land Before Time sequels.
I have loved the library since my dad used to take me there on Saturday mornings to look for Blue Bug books. Where I grew up our public library was inside a small building which was originally a church. It was tiny, but I wonder now if the stained-glass windows have anything to do with the reverence for libraries that I've always felt.
Libraries are easy things to take for granted, but I am hoping the people in my community don't, because they are going to be asked for money when we vote in November, and it will be badly needed.
(If you need convincing to feel good about your library, go there and find the book Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack!)