Why Libraries Are Just the Coolest Place In the WHOLE WIDE WORLD!

No IPads at our house. Just library cards. All the humans in our house have one.

One of the perks of having kids is having an excuse to visit the library on a semi-regular basis.  It’s not that I didn’t visit the place before I had kids, but it’s nice having a legitimate reason to go there.  When I was a child, the library was a magical place.  It still is, but when you are an adult, life tends to get in the way of doing things, like going to the library. So having kids to insist on going there is a very good thing.

The other day we missed Preschool Story Time.  We didn’t go because my husband had taken the day off to spend with me.  That happens about as often as a solar eclipse.  We don’t exactly get to see much of each other, so library was an afterthought that week.  You would have thought that I had forgotten to give my daughter a life saving medication or something.  She was HORRIFIED, not so much because she had just missed the story time, but because her brother had got to go to his story time that week and SHE didn’t.

My kids live for the library.  That’s good.  Their grandma is a librarian, so they kind of get it honest.  What a wonderful place-all of those books, and they can borrow them FOR FREE!  The Professor has been reading since he was three.  Maybe even earlier than that, but we weren’t sure if he was really reading or just had a really good memory.  The Princess has just begun to admit that she can read.  Only she would deny that she could do such a thing.  Now that the secret is out she is reading everything.  Every sign, every random word placed anywhere, she tries to read it.

I finally took her to the library the next day to make up the fact that I had deprived her of the Story Time.  She walked in, returned her books, and proceeded to the kids section where she very loudly asked, “Where are the GIRL books?”  Apparently “Girl” books are any book that has 1) a princess on the cover 2) a girl on the cover 3) has a cute animal on the cover 4) is pink or purple. The next ten minutes were spent with me pulling books off the shelf and her approving or vetoing the selections.  We ended up with:  Unicorn Races by Stephen J Brooks;  Splat the Cat and Love, Splat by Rob Scotton; Mind Your Manners by Diane Goode; Halloweena by Miriam Glassman; Anklet For A Princess, A Cinderella Story From India by Lila Mehta and Meredith Brucker; Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton; and Go Away, Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley (this one was sparkly, apparently I missed that criteria).

Everybody loves a good princess story.

We also had to keep Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer by which we had checked out the week before, because it had Olivia in it.  And Princesses.

It has been rather refreshing to have some different criteria to choose books.  Her brother will choose books if they have a popular character on them.  If Spongebob is on the cover, he’s probably going to check it out.  This is the child who reads far above his grade level, and books with Spongebob aren’t exactly high level material.  It’s difficult to get him interested in much else outside of the house, but yet at home he will read pretty much anything.  Though often he isn’t really “reading” these books, though.  He sits and turns the pages, but I’m not sure what he’s really taking in.  We pretty much know if it’s factual, because later on he will start reciting the facts back to us at random times.  I don’t know why I worry about what he picks at the library, because owns more books than most libraries have!

He has. My son, not the dog.

I myself enjoy picking out the more warped books for my children.  These are usually their favorites.  Tedd Arnold has three such books that we love:  Parts, More Parts, and Even More Parts.  My daughter loves the Olivia series and the Pinkalicious books by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann.  I regret a little getting her started on the Pinkalicious series, because I feel like I’m fueling the pink and princess craze.  But hey, they are fun to read.  I especially enjoy Purplicious, because of the snotty girls in the book.  I give most characters voices, and I get to totally read the snotty girls lines using my very best valley girl voices.  What is really funny is listening to her read the book and using the very same voices as I did.  We also recently checked out The Princess and the Pizza by Mary Jane Auch.  It’s a fractured fairy tale based on the Princess and the Pea and it is FUNNY!  I didn’t think either of us wanted to ever take that one back.   My personal favorite is Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat.  Having kids is fun.  I probably wouldn’t get to read any of these otherwise.

There isn’t really a bad aspect about any of this, except maybe their forgetful mother.  We do have some issues. It’s called overdue library books.  It’s better now because the one who remembers things is now old enough to know what days we go to the library, and is excited enough to remember to return her books.  Previously her mother would go weeks, sometimes months, and in one case over a year before returning books.  The last one wasn’t really my fault.  There was a purple bag that was full of books, apparently they were never returned.  It hung quietly behind the other bags that were innocently placed in front of it on the back porch.  When we rearranged the storage for the dog stuff, I discovered it.  I checked the due dates on the books, and to my horror they were over a year overdue.  Thank goodness our library isn’t real demanding about fees.  I sneakily returned them very early one morning before the library opened.  I don’t know why, it’s not like our librarians are mean or anything.  I don’t check out books for myself anymore, since it seems to take me forever to get them read, and even longer to remember to return them.  I do however, frequent the free magazine bin.  No returning after reading…

Guilty. Again and again.

We’ve got a few library stories. We’ve returned a few damaged books.  There was one time I had to march my son over there to explain why a book had teethmarks on it.  He had it while watching TV, and absentmindedly started chewing on it.  I wish I could say it was the only time that ever happened.  If nothing else, I’m sure it gave the librarian a good story.  I’m sure she just added to the secret list they have of why our family is overly weird.

Who can be upset by the fact that my kids love reading so much?  I’m certainly not. The only time it really gets to be an issue is at bedtime.  Princess Ready to Read wants every book in her room read to her, and her brother would stay up until the cows came home reading if we let him (of course we don’t, but we do have to remind him when it’s time for bed.)  I can think of far, far worse ways for him to spend his evening.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go read my daughter a book!