Re-Discovering the Library

I hadn’t stepped foot inside of a library for years until I was unexpectedly thrust into homeschooling and the library became an intrinsic part of our lives.

When I was a kid, my mom used to take us to our small town library and I always remembered it smelled funny–but in a good way.  I liked going but eventually she stopped taking us so I kind of forgot about them in terms of reading books.  I once again inhabited libraries in college but only when necessary.  I’d pick up a book for classes or go there to print off reports.

When I had kids, I hadn’t taken them to a library.  I usually preferred to buy a book at Barnes and Noble here and there for them and just read the same books over and over again.  But when homeschooling began, I needed books to teach from so it became a weekly occurrence.

After months of homeschooling, I really can’t imagine our lives without a library.  We go once or twice a week for reading books or books on certain topics and I’ve even begun to get books for myself and not just for the kids.  I checked out some parenting books and some writing books.  Just recently, I grabbed a copy of Sarah Palin’s Going Rogue.

Going Rogue is not out in paperback yet so this is a book I never would have paid money for otherwise.  I am thoroughly enjoying it and am grateful I picked it up.

I am now of the mindset that I’d rather get books from the library instead of purchase them, especially if they are something I don’t know I would like or what to have around.  A library allows you to read books you otherwise never would have.  You can find precious gems at your fingertips with no obligation.

I feel I missed out on a resource for years but am so glad I didn’t miss the boat for my kids’ sake.  My 2-year old loves the place just as much as my 6-year old.  Picking out books is exciting and fun and they can’t wait to get the books home and read them or have me read them.  My son will sit for hours and flip through books, looking at the pictures.  He will bring them to me and utter simply, “Read.”  He doesn’t speak many words but he knows ‘read’ and ‘book’.

Books open up so many worlds to kids and a library has every one imaginable.  You can pick up a book and put it down if you don’t like it and move on to the next one.  No guilt to finish it because you paid for it.

I love finding books to read to the kids almost as much as they do.  Reading time in our house is a time when the kids will put whatever game down they are playing and run to my bed and sit patiently and listen.  Parents today use TV as a calmer, who put it on when they want their kids to settle down or go brain dead.  Instead, I read books and my kids are forced to sit quietly and listen to a tale unfold.  Their imaginations soar and it’s the only way I can get my 2 year old to sleep these days as he dreams of worlds and times far away and long ago.

The library has expanded my whole family’s knowledge and horizons more than any other thing or resource.  We can’t live without one as far as I can tell and I would encourage other parents to re-discover their local library as well.  Just last night I encouraged my mother-in-law (who is a voracious reader herself) to give the library a try.  They are struggling financially and this is the best way to get books.  Sure, we all pay for it so why not use it?  This was my motto with my college gym and how I truly began exercising.  I had seen on my bill a ‘recreation fee’, being that I was forced to pay for our recreation center; so I thought I’d visit.  Well, I continued to visit, which lead to a life-long love of exercise and keeping in shape.

The same has happened with the library.  Use it.  It’s there for you.  It will change your life.  It will change your kids’ lives.  You won’t regret it.

At times I have wondered why God set me on the path to homeschooling because there were times I wanted to rip every last hair out of my head!  But, in hindsight, I can see why.  This is one of those whys.  Without having been forced to use a library, I never would have.  It has changed my kids’ lives.  God does know what He’s doing after all.

The library has improved my writing.  Through reading so many books to my kids, I’ve gotten more ideas and more vocabulary.  I’ve learned right alongside them.  Does it get any better than that?