I’m a fan of libraries, and so is the Girl.
I actually wrote a piece about the New Westminster library last year on the hyper-local New West blog Tenth to the Fraser, wherein I talked about how libraries symbolize an essential aspect of a free society; the capacity to make information accessible to everyone in the community. That’s only a part of why libraries are great, and why they’re so important. The Girl, as I said, agrees. She’s fascinated by books, and by the other services the library offers, including educational computer games, puzzles, puppets, and just as a place to go.
Anyway, this is part of what I wrote where the Girl and I are concerned:
I am lucky enough to live very close to New Westminster Public Library. I take my daughter there a lot. She’s four. And when we go, she bee-lines to the puppets, who then come alive to her, and to me. Because she gives them voices, breathed into them by her imagination.
Then, it’s the puzzles. And then, it’s the first eye-catching book she can find. She doesn’t just choose a book, she mines for one, focusing her eye on a bejeweled spine, drawing it forth. Then, we delve together – books about trains, about dinosaurs, about bees. We explore. We’re explorers, together. [Read the whole New Westminster library article I wrote]
Since starting school last September, the Girl has been introduced to her school’s library. Monday is ‘library day’ for her, and she brings books home to her Mum’s.
Before that, she’d received own library card, which we got her at my local branch one Saturday morning. There’s something about owning your own library card, and being able to go into the library, and deciding for yourself what it is you want to learn about. One aspect of all this has something to do with self-direction, about self-education, and the seeds planted of the habit of setting one’s own agenda when it comes to expanding one’s possibilities.
One job I’ve got, it seems to me, is to try and set the Girl on a path to learning, beyond the path mapped out for her at school. Visits to the library help this along nicely. I think libraries make for better citizens, largely because of this. And I think The Girl’s love of learning, outside of school as well as in, will enrich how she experiences life in general; a reader, a social critic, one who’s habit of spinning stories has carried into adulthood, and with the capacity to enrich the lives of others as a result.