Sunday, August 7, 2011

Our Library Love Story & the American Library Association

This spring we were offered an amazing opportunity to tell our library love story. Megan Humphrey, Campaign for America's Libraries Manager, asked us "to share your library story with us for a soon-to-be-launched project we're working on.  It's a campaign to reach out to families and encourage them to spend time together at the library, and I thought a story from you might be a perfect fit." To us sharing our story on an American Library Association website is hitting the Big Time... helping a library campaign for families was icing on the cake! We jumped at the chance.

The Sisters and The Dad had ideas, The Mom got to work editing, and together we wrote Making the Library Your Own.  The Connect with Your Kids @yourlibrary website had space limits so our story was edited, but you can read our full story right here, enjoy!
Making the Library Your Own

Let’s begin with a little free association: Families are to libraries as ducks are to _____. Did you guess water? Some things just make sense; just like families and libraries they go together, naturally. Finding a way to make the library your own is the trick.

Each of us found our own path to the library.  The Mom is what you’d call a bibliophile; she loves books and the library.  Her relationship began 36 years ago when Miss Bennett invited the children to story time, The Mom sat down on the rug and proceeded to take her shoes and socks off –she’s been that comfortable with the library ever since. The Dad took a little coaxing. Once there he was pleasantly surprised “there were other dads, with kids! In the wooden boat reading, in the willow tree house playing, and browsing, like me.” Just like the willow trees in the library’s garden The Sisters grew up in the library. The Big Sister and The Little Sister learned how to write their names with a simple process in mind: to get a library card a patron must sign the card. When they felt the need for their o-w-n library card the work began and when penmanship perfection was achieved the library was waiting. The librarians were eager to help the fledgling library lovers begin their own relationship with the library. We wonder who enjoyed the experience more, the girls or the librarians –perhaps it was equal.
A visit to the library is usually a family affair, one member announces, “I need a trip to the library,” then a chorus of “me too” rings through the house. We arrive, then scatter: The Big Sister to the recorded books, The Little Sister to children’s fiction, The Dad to over-sized books, and The Mom smiles and watches. At the library there is never a question of if we’ll find something just a wonder of what treasure we’ll unshelve. As The Big Sister explains, “there is always something waiting at the library.” Last stop circulation desk where we pick up held books (we browse online and reserve them), check out and renew books (pay fines), make donations (we regularly thin our own collection), and the best part, we catch up with our librarians. They always have book suggestions or news to share, as The Little Sister explains, “the librarians are our friends!”
The library is a simple solution for families in our big, fast, ever-changing world. Sure you’ll be met with the quiet of books, but you’ll also find the hush of children’s voices, free concerts, access to the Internet, e-books, movies and music. As if by magic, time slows down at the library, and if that is not enough the library also comes with librarians and volunteers, many smiling, all ready to help you navigate the library and find your own way to enjoy it, like a duck to water.
The Big Sister, The Little Sister, The Mom, and The Dad started The Books for Walls Project in April 2010 simply because they wondered: can technology and books and libraries all get along? Thankfully, dozens of Weekly Reading Challenges and loads of research later, we learned that technology, books and libraries can be a match made in heaven –it just depends on your perspective.  Our website was created to support literacy, libraries and book love. Come visit --we'd love to hear from you! www.booksforwallsproject.org
Visit The Campaign for American Libraries and tell them 
The Books for Walls Project sent you!

Now, who's up for some Summer Reading Fun?

3 comments:

  1. What a fabulous story! Libraries are special places, like art museums, music museums, theaters and others places that encourage people to explore creativity, history, the imagination etc.! One of my favorite things about two libraries I call or called my own (Chagrin Falls and Chandler, AZ) is the pride the librarians take in their work. Seemingly infinitely knowledgeable and always happy to take a time out to help visitors explore their topic of choice. Just imagine how visitors take librarians on journeys of the mind each day!

    Thanks to YOU dear BFW family for your knowledge, pride and weekly inspiration. So happy your story has a national stage! BRAVO!

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  2. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Reading the "Library Love Story" took me right back to the days when The Great Uncle and The Great Aunt were raising their own girls. They were so very lucky to live right across the street from the town library. The Library had a great kids section that included a "sunken" and secluded reading space made just for small bodies to curl up with a book or two. The family would go there almost daily in the summer not only to beat the heat but to partipate in the summer reading and crafts activities. Every holiday during the year was accented with a visit to story time with "Miss Amy" ( go figure ) who would dress up in wild colorful costumes to suit the occasion. She would always include a song or two with her guitar too. The Great Aunt was ( and is ) so grateful to have the library so close.. where else can you go and breathe in that wonderful smell of BOOKS ! ! ! !

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  3. There is such a romance to opening a book!
    The experience engages all of your senses. It is the smell of the pages and sometimes the perfume of where the book has traveled that take your imagination on the journey. The sound of the spine creasing and touch of each page turning add to my experience of reading a book! I visit the library and leave so inspired I do not know where to begin because I take home a dozen books, some music, and a DVD or two!
    My last experience at the library in Gurnee, IL I was introduceds by the librarian to MANGO. The foreign language instructor available at most libraries!
    Your endeavors involving The Books for Walls Project are so exciting!!

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