To be honest, up until a few weeks ago, it had been years since we had visited our local library. When we lived in Durban, before Noah, we had library cards which we seldom used. I’m ashamed to admit this, but up until recently, Noah had no clue what a library even was.
We had noticed that our local library was, indeed, quite popular. A lot of our friends – mainly those with kids – would often mention just needing to pop in at the library quickly. And that got Jason and I thinking…maybe it was time for us to introduce Noah to the wonders of a library?
A few weeks ago we found ourselves with a free morning and so we decided it was time. Noah couldn’t quite wrap his head around the concept of a library. He was also not too keen, to be completely honest with you. But, he humored us, nonetheless.
We got to the library, and while Dad filled out the forms and sorted out our cards, I took Noah to go browse in the kids section. Oh. My. Word. I don’t remember the kids section of a library being so big and bright and colourful, when I was growing up! From the moment Noah stepped into the kids section, he walked around as if he owned the place. He did not really need me to “show him the ropes”, per say. He walked up and down every aisle, even the section with the teen books and all the non-fiction books. He would pull out a book that caught his eye, page through it all on his own, and then all I’d do was help him to put the book back where he had found it. We spent a good 45 minutes browsing all the books. Sometimes he would find a book and go and sit at a table to read it. My heart could have burst to see my boy sitting in a library, reading books!
While browsing the books in the kids section with Noah, I went on a trip down memory lane when I came across their collection of Nancy Drew books. It got me thinking of all the books I used to love reading as a child. It all started with my collection of Sally books (pictured below – not sure if that is what the series of books is called, but it’s what I used to call them), and basically anything by Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton. I also loved the Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley University books. And don’t even get me started on The Babysitters Club! Oh the memories! But, I digress. Although, having come across the Nancy Drew books, and experiencing the excitement at seeing the books I had read so many years ago, made me so excited for Noah to one day experience that too.
It is no secret that reading is a big priority in our family. And watching my boy choose his seven library books, all on his own, was so special. He tends to choose a variety of books. He’ll take a few story books more suitable for a four year old to read, with colourful pictures. He’ll choose some non-fiction books – so far we have read all about plants, lifeboats and space. He has also chosen books that our seven and eight year old nieces and nephews would tend to read – so more chapter books, with the odd black and white picture throughout the book, if that makes sense? I was a bit unsure of him choosing books like that, but thought it would be a good idea to see how it went, reading these types of books to him. (Side note – we do make sure it is an appropriate story to read to him, one we feel comfortable reading to him, that won’t affect him negatively.) I was a bit unsure of him choosing books like that, but thought it would be a good idea to see how it went reading those types of books to him.
Wow! It has gone so well, that during our last library visit, I ended up taking out a Roald Dahl book on my card, to read to Noah. He loved it so much, that now each library visit includes me taking out a new Roald Dahl book.
I cannot begin to explain how happy I am that my boy not only loves visiting the library and choosing the books he wants to read, all on his own, but he is also moving reading books like The Fantastic Mr. Fox (by Roald Dahl). And he cannot wait to get back to the library to choose more books.
Yes, we do live in a digital age. Yes, using an e-reader has its benefits and is convenient. I do read some books on an e-reader. However, you can call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think anything could ever take away from an actual book. Holding it in your hands, turning the pages, how it smells – if you ask me, it is all wonderful! So I am determined to instill a love of books in my boy, while his Dad shows him the ropes with e-books – life is all about balance after all, isn’t it? I am so happy we have a local library that is so well stocked with such a huge variety of books, is bright and colourful, and has such helpful, friendly staff. Bring on our next visit to the library!
Do you take your kids to the library? Do they love going and choosing their books, as much as my Noah does? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!