A library is allegedly coming to the corner of our county sometime in the next decade (read: never). In the meantime, our nearest branch is in a burg called Walkersville. The whole building is approximately the size of our living room and kitchen combined. Given the obvious constraints, their collection is impressive. (They have MIND GAMES on the shelf and once featured FIRST GRADE STINKS prominently in the children's corner. What's not to love?)
When my daughter turned two, I was excited to take her to our first Story Time. After the first half-hour experience, my excitement waned considerably. Ms. Shelba was fantastic. My daughter, alas, was not. She was mostly concerned with wandering the aisles, pulling books off shelves, and making repeated breaks for the parking lot. At least it's fairly easy to corral a wayward kid in a library the size of a postage stamp. Despite the browsing opportunities the aisle-roaming afforded, we were not so long for story time.
Blessedly, the library bookmobile now comes to my daughter's preschool. Apparently she is angelic and attentive during story time. She and her brother frequently play "libary" at home. This is a game that has the rare cachet of House, School, Princess, and Horsie. My daughter, by some miracle certainly not wrought by me, has come to view the library as a magical place.
My college students, on the other hand, were reluctant attendees last week at a presentation from the campus librarian about research and materials available to them. As I have observed in many classes now, the idea of reading actual books or journal articles (a requirement for this assignment) is pretty much a non-starter among today's Digital Natives. If you can't find it on the Net, forget it.
I do understand this mentality. I am a proud member of Generation X. I have my Kindle for PC app, and I adore the instant gratification it affords. I operate a paper-free office for my job. I read everything on my computer screen. And I can't imagine how I ever lived without the Net.
The thing is -- our students can access the campus library from the comfort of their own homes. They can search for information, reserve books, read articles (CQ Researcher!), and even watch movies. Our local library allows patrons to renew books online and sends overdue reminders via email. Yay, 21st century!
In my mind, the library is a place with cozy chairs and that scintillating smell of books old and new. But technology has made it possible for the library to come to my home -- and not just in the let's-pretend way of my children.
Happy National Library Week!
And if you're looking for a fantastic addition to your home library, remember to enter our new book giveaway! Before entering, be sure to first read our Giveaway Guidelines here.
If you'd like a chance to win an autographed copy of the anthology Ladybug, Ladybug and Other Favorite Poems, post a comment here telling us why you'd like to win the book. Also, we'd love to know if you're doing anything special to celebrate National Poetry Month. And please, don't forget to provide your email address or a link to your own blog in your comment so that we can contact you. (U.S. residents only, please.) Entries must be posted by 11 p.m.(Central Standard Time) Wednesday, April 14, 2010. The winner will be announced on April 15.