I am a huge proponent of getting children to read. I have talked about it and written about it a lot. It is of vital importance. The benefits are countless. Reading helps children improve their critical thinking skills, foster their imagination, exposes them to new words, ideas, even new worlds.
I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss how important libraries are in getting children to read (We are at the Loopy Librarian right?). I remember the first time my parents took me to the library, I was amazed. Very young and mainly a comic reader back then, I found this large building filled with not only books, but much, much more. When I walked in the front doors and up the steps, the entry way had glass display cases on either side. I clearly remember this, because I immediately wanted to see if my baseball card collection could be displayed there. I did eventually sign up to have it in the display case, and as far I know, am still waiting for them to call and say it’s my turn. My point is, how neat was this? What else could I find here?
How about books, books, and more books. And not just books, they had magazines, and records (do you remember records?) I remember checking out [simpleazon-link asin=”B0000062FR” locale=”us”]Cheap Trick Live at Budokan[/simpleazon-link]. This was the days before iPads, so I recorded it with a handheld tape recorder sitting in front of the speaker so I could have it on cassette.
Once I got past the records and magazines I searched through the books. I loved [simpleazon-link asin=”1848567065″ locale=”us”]Beetle Bailey[/simpleazon-link] and [simpleazon-link asin=”0976635402″ locale=”us”]Sad Sack[/simpleazon-link]. Guess what? I found a book full of Sad Sack comic strips. I was in heaven. Later I checked out books that taught you how to draw. I remember practicing drawing Beetle Bailey’s face. I got pretty good, and even made a latch-hook pillow with Beetle’s face on it.
Eventually I began to read real books (much to my parent’s relief). It was at the library that I found the wonderful world of [simpleazon-link asin=”0762432195″ locale=”us”]Brer Rabbit[/simpleazon-link], [simpleazon-link asin=”075666876X” locale=”us”]Doctor Who[/simpleazon-link], and eventually my world was changed when I found [simpleazon-link asin=”B0038AYINO” locale=”us”]The Hobbit[/simpleazon-link]. I had no idea what I would like. I spent hours walking up and down the aisles looking at book covers and reading the back of the books. I usually picked out books with cool covers (and a lot of the time still do).
So what do all these silly stories of my childhood mean? They illustrate what a vital and valuable role libraries play in getting children to read. Here is a place that you can pick out a book, take it home and read it, for FREE! Where else can you do that? The library offers so much more than that too. They have group readings, activities for children, now they have computers, and ebooks.
I encourage parents to take their children to the library and sign them up for their own library card as soon as you are able to. That gives them a feeling of ownership. Expose them to books, let them wander the building, pick up books, look at them, and pick them out on their own. Take them to the readings there. In doing so, I promise you, you will have done your part in fostering a life long love of reading. And that is something that your child will benefit from and enjoy for the rest of their lives.
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