Sunday, September 12, 2010

This Week at the Library

I'm concerned about the trend to shift to Ebooks and renovate libraries into coffee shops.

I don't have a problem with Ebooks or coffee shops...even the coffee shops that are being built into libraries.

I have a problem with the practice of throwing out books in order to make room for the coffee shops.

I'm not ready for this; I'm a library lover.  Some of my most precious memories have taken place inside a library...I doubt I'll ever reach the point in my lifetime where I'm ok without libraries.  I'm all for progress and technology...I just can't let go of my books.

Our little town has always had a "library," but until recently it was just one small room inside an existing building...and I don't mean a large room either.  Our main library in our county is located in the larger town about 15 minutes from our community...this main library parents several of the smaller county libraries in our surrounding area.  Just this past year an organization called "Friends of the Library" (yes, I am a member) was able to raise enough money to build a new library building!!  The city is even in the progress of building a center next door to the library for larger meetings etc. 

I can't tell you how happy this makes me! 

In our public schools, the library is now essentially used as a place to house Accelerated Reader books.  The children aren't allowed to check out anything that is outside of their AR "level" because AR (which was originally intended as an enrichment program) has now become a part of the reading curriculum and counts a certain percentage in the children's reading grade.  The library is not the same thing to my children as it was and is to me.  They have grown up learning that the library is just the place they pick up more school books, and the librarian is just the person who organizes the AR books, keeps up with their points and polices which books they choose.

I've decided to take library matters with my youngest into my own hands.  We have instituted library day on Thursdays after school.  As long as she's game, I'm game too. 

On our first trip, my youngest received her student library has her name on it, the library logo, and is laminated heartily to keep it from tearing, etc.  She felt extremely important when she received her card and even more important when she took her first 4 selections to the circulation desk in order to check them out.

Because of all the restrictions at her school library, I want her to experience the freedom that I always felt when choosing my books.  I have vowed to let her check out whatever strikes her fancy...and between check out and return day, we will read those books together. 

Here are her first selections:

Ping Pong Pig is a fun little book about a pig who bounces all over the barnyard...the story is rhythmic and with just enough words on each page to tell a good story but not get too bogged down in unimportant details...the illustrations are just as the cover portrays...each page is completely covered with a picture. 
This was a fun book to read and I wouldn't mind owning this one so we could read it again and again.

Ballet Sisters The Newest Dancer is actually a easy reader series.  In this particular story, the younger sister has finally reached the age when she can begin to take ballet lessons like her older sister.  The older sister is supportive and helps the younger sister with her dance clothes, shoes, and getting ready for her lessons.  My youngest really appreciated this story because it is frankly her everyday reality in a house of two teenage sisters.
I'm not always crazy about the "easy readers" but this one seems to accomplish two sometimes opposing tasks...keeping the words minimal enough for beginning readers and telling a quality story.
I would purchase this entire series.

Ahhh, who doesn't like a Rosemary Wells story...I love the Nick Jr. tv show based on the Max and Ruby as well.  In Bunny Cakes Ruby is making a cake for Grandma's birthday so Max decides he will help.  First he makes a worm cake, then tries to help Ruby with eggs, flour, and milk, and in the process of "helping," ends up making several trips to the grocery store for Ruby with a self-made list that only Max can read.  All is well in the end and Max ends up with his own special ingredient for Grandma's cake.  A heartwarming story no doubt.
I would buy this one without hesitation, and it is my favorite of this week's library haul.

Up, Up and Away would have to be my least favorite of this week's selections. This "story" is based on an episode from the Disney Channel's popular children's tv show called Mickey's Clubhouse. While I actually like the interactivity of the show, that same interactivity doesn't exactly transfer well into a book...I felt the same way about books made from Nickelodean's Blue's Clues tv show. The bouncy music of Mickey's Clubhouse, the computer generated illustrations and frankly Mickey's personality just make it impossible to duplicate at home.

While I will not try to keep my youngest from checking out books like these, we won't be purchasing this one.

I felt happier when we left the library on Thursday...and I think my youngest did too :)