Love for Libraries — Celebrating National Library Week

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I have a love hate relationship with libraries.  Of course, having worked in a public library, academic library, school library, and medical library, I love libraries! Still, having worked in a public library, academic library, school library, and medical library, I hate libraries.  Let me explain.

I have often said I could write a book with the stories I have accumulated from my time working in libraries, mostly from working in a public library.  I love our local library.  I spent 4 1/2 years there as the Youth Services Librarian and visit twice weekly now with my small children.  A library is not just a building full of books but a building full of life.  As an avid people watcher it was a dream to work in such an active place with people of all walks of life (as diverse as a small town in central New York can get).  We had our regulars who always offered an amusing anecdote for me to share at the dinner table in the evening.  There were the families that came in every week and the children who must have read every book in the place two or even three times.  I really got to know a lot of kids in the four years I worked there and now seeing them after two and half years out of the game I am amazed at how much they have grown since I first met them 6 years ago.  It brings a smile to my face when I hear “Miss Betsy!” from some of my storytime veterans or from the hundreds of children I met through outreach efforts.  Our library is the center of our community both physically and figuratively.  Evolving as all libraries do it has become a place of meeting, crafting, researching, and entertainment.  Some people go there simply because there is heat and a soft place to sit, some for the internet, others for the DVDs, and still others for the thousands of books.  Whatever purpose the library serves it works for everyone.  That is why I love libraries!

But I also hate libraries.  Well, not hate, that is a strong word, but libraries offer a unique challenge for me, someone who has struggled with contamination fears. Working in a library only helped to make things more difficult.  My daughter is 2 1/2 years old and we have visited the library at least once a week since she was born but just last week was the first time we ever checked out a book.  There it was, a great big Daniel Tiger book on the shelf.  There was no way I was getting that toddler out of the library without that book or a tantrum.  So, I checked out the book.  That in itself is a big deal but bringing it into our home was an even bigger deal, though admittedly not as difficult as I once thought it would be.  My irrational fears have subsided or at least been forced to the back of my mind since having children.  OCD and small children do not mix.  Still, I have seen the condition that some of these books have been returned.  I have cleaned hundreds if not thousands of returned books with coffee, candy, and various unknown sticky substances on them.  I have had days off of work because the library was closed due to bed bugs.  I have cleaned the library bathrooms, enough said.  Whenever I am forced to use the elevator due to a sleeping baby in a stroller we stay far away from the corner that was once used as a makeshift toilet.  There is a memory in every corner (literally) of that library.

However, I do love libraries and what they offer a community.  They are a place to share resources and ideas.  I will continue to take my children to the library and we will probably check out hundreds of books because since I don’t work at the library anymore, I can’t afford to buy all the books they will want to read.  Ok, let’s be honest now, I couldn’t afford them even when I did work at the library.  Another reason I love libraries and the people that work in them, they aren’t there for the money.  Celebrate and visit your library this week.  Check out one of these books that takes place in a library…

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Quiet! There's a Canary in the Library by Don Freeman Quiet! There’s a Canary in the Library
By: Don Freeman

Describes Cary’s special day at the library when she invites only animals and birds to browse.  Ages 3-5

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen Library Lion
By: Michelle Knudsen

A lion starts visiting the local library but runs into trouble as he tries to both obey the rules and help his librarian friend.  Ages 4-8

How to Live Forever by Colin Thompson How to Live Forever
By: Colin Thompson

Every night for two years Peter searches in the library for the lost book on how to live forever, and when he finds it, he makes an important decision.  Ages 6 and up

The Spotted Dog Last Seen by Jessica Scott Kerrin The Spotted Dog Last Seen
By: Jessica Scott Kerrin

When a new book arrives at the library with a secret code written inside, Derek, with the help of his friends, follows the clues from one novel to the next and makes a discovery that may help him get past a terrible loss.  Ages 8-11

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman The Grimm Legacy
By: Polly Shulman

New York high school student Elizabeth gets an after-school job as a page at the “New-York Circulating Material Repository,” and when she gains coveted access to its Grimm Collection of magical objects, she and the other pages are drawn into a series of frightening adventures involving mythical creatures and stolen goods.  Ages 10 and up

A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker A Library Book for Bear
By: Bonny Becker

Although he sees no need for more books to read, Bear agrees to accompany Mouse to the library.  Ages 3-6

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
By: Chris Grabenstein

Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero (the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello), with other students but finds that come morning he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape.  Ages 8-12

The Boy & the Book: A Wordless Story by David Michael Slater The Boy & the Book: A Wordless Story
By: David Michael Slater

In this story without words a young boy carelessly mishandles a library book, while the other books try to rescue their friend.  Ages 3-6

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
By: William Joyce

Morris Lessmore loves words, stories and books, and after a tornado carries him to another land, dreary and colorless, he finds a single book in color that leads him to an amazing library where, he learns, the books need him as much as he needs them.  Ages 4-8

The Library by Sarah Stewart The Library
By: Sarah Stewart

Book lover Elizabeth Brown, whose constant reading keeps her from playing with dolls or doing just about anything else, finds her house so full of books that she has to start her own public library.  Ages 4-8

 

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