So, like every parent, you know I think my kid is the adorable-est. But I got a great pic of someone pretty darn cute the other day (E. and I babysat for a friend). Meet Baby S.:
E. read aloud to Baby S. for a while, but then decided (when S. wanted to flip the pages herself) to get her own book, careful to point out to Baby S. that they each had their own book now ("that one’s yours; this is mine").
E. is reading the popular Usborne book, There’s a Mouse About the House – an interactive "slot" book. And Baby S. is seen reading our latest library book, How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food? by Jane Yolen.
We’ve recently re-discovered the library. I feel a little foolish for not going there more frequently. Stuff on loan is so much better than stuff you have to pay for. And librarians are such neat people, kinda like the folks I used to work with in public television — treasure-troves of information with an earnest desire to help people discover all the bits of art and science and entertainment that they know is waiting in a book somewhere.
As a kid, I loved our county library. I spent hours there. I still remember going there to find a book about making money over the summer. I believe that’s how my first slushy-stand enterprise got started in fifth grade (they were great slushies, too–we even had repeat customers). And in seventh grade, that’s where I used to reserve a meeting room on Saturday mornings for the Young Writers Club I started (I’m not sure if this evolved out of my passion for writing or my need to always be the boss of something, but it was a popular club in my private school for the entire month or two that we met–we even had a newsletter). And I vividly remember spending hours at the study tables to do research on my eighth grade term paper recounting Adolf Hitler’s childhood, trying to discover what made him such a monster (as you might assume, his childhood was a mess). And it was where I found the one or two books that had ever been published at the time on the topic of professional organization as a field (you’d never know it by looking at my house now, but I used to do a graph sketch of my bedroom and to-scale drawings of my furniture, to plan how I would re-arrange my room every few months – I even kept the renderings in a file folder for "handy reference"). I still remember calling up the author of one book (at my mom’s urging) to interview her about the field as a possible future career choice. (Doesn’t everyone start planning their career in 9th grade?). And even though I went to the county library less in high school, I still traded study hall for an hour in the school library to devour my next Victoria Holt book (where did those books go, anyway?).
I’m not sure when I stopped going to the library entirely, opting instead for bookstores. What’s the big deal with owning the book, anyway? I distinctly remember thinking it was pretty neat that so many other people had once picked this book, too, their names chronicled at the back of the book in each of their own handwriting – almost a declaration that "I was here."
Anyway, J.’s ladder-climbing reading list is getting expensive, I’ve joined an online book club (they’re picking a new book now, if you’d like to join), and we’ve discovered E. likes Andrea Bocelli concerts. So I’ve dug out my card and started using it again. I hope E. finds it as fascinating a place as I did all those years. Is it too much to hope that my little girl will ask to be dropped off at the library instead of the mall sometimes? Hey, a mom can dream…