Wednesday, January 30, 2008

If You Take a Child to the Library ...

Every day, we get lots of new children's books here in the Tub. So many, in fact, my office is beginning to look like a library ... and, to borrow a turn of phrase that Laura Neumeroff uses ...

If you think about the library you think about great books ... and if you think about great books, you'll think about great memories ... and if you think about great memories, you want to share them with your kids!

So as I sit here staring at my own personal "stacks," I remember my childhood visits to the library. Going to the library was probably how I got hooked on books in the first place. I remember wandering in and out of the stacks every week searching for the next treasure. And our library made it easy ... all of the children's books were close together, in a separate place that was decorated just for us.

For a child, a library can be a truly daunting place. The shelves look like ladders that reach to the sky and they are covered with books ... walls of them. Having a "hideaway" place that invites them to explore books is an incredibly powerful way to get them excited about learning. Luckily, we have lived in cities with good spaces for kids. So when my daughter started walking, we'd head to the library to explore!

One of the grandest libraries of all is the New York Public Library. You'll find it listed in your tourists guide as a place to visit. The library is an icon ... in fact, the PBS Kids show Between the Lions is a slightly veiled reference to the entrance to the main library!

In the NYPL, that inviting place for kids is the Donnell Library and the Central Children's Room. It is a special place and, I would imagine, the inspiration to many a bookworm, children's author or illustrator. Have you visited the Central Children's Room? Then be sure to visit Elizabeth Bird's blog she is collecting those memories you treasure!

2 comments:

  1. I enjoyed reading about taking your child to the library. My daughter is now in her thirties, but when she was five I was in graduate school at the University of Washington. Nichol came with me at least three times each week to the Science Reading Room at the UW where she loved to search the stacks for old, beautifully bound and illustrated nature books. She also helped me go through the card catalog to search for research papers, especially on her favorite subject, beavers!

    It was at that time that I was growing to love children's books I read to her. We both enjoyed leaving the library and winding our way over to the children's book section of the U Bookstore where we started "Her" collection of Frog and Toad, Leo Lionni, and many more........We still share those "children's titles" and both of us remain avid readers. And I can't say which experience influened me more in my own work as a writer of children's nature books. While I think libraries meant for kids are wonderful, I sure do urge parents to take kids on trips to University Libraries, treasure houses of wonder for kids of all ages!

    Kind Regards,

    Ron Hirschi

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Ron,

    Thanks for the kind words. Libraries are wonderful places. When I worked in the library my 4 years in college at the University of Charleston, my favorite job was returning the books back to the stacks.

    It was a chance to see what other people were studying/reading ... and the solitude of wandering the stacks during the quiet times was incredible.

    There is something special in every nook and cranny in a library.

    ReplyDelete

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