I've recently rediscovered my love for the library. After college and all of it's required reading, it took some time to adjust to reading for enjoyment again. Some people love to hang out at Barnes & Noble, where I do admit the magazine section is amazing, but I'd rather be at the library. First of all, it's free. B&N inspires you to want to buy things (naturally) and I almost always regret a book purchase. Fiction, that is. I've re-read a fiction novel maybe once or twice in my life - the Harry Potter books and some O.Henry stories. But to buy another book that will sit on my shelf for the next twenty years at home without knowing I really like it, it's just not appealing to me. The library lets me "commit" to a book that I've heard Oprah recommend and then hopefully get it back out of my house in time for the due date. And again, this is free.
I always loved checking out the local libraries wherever I have lived. Denver, Cleveland and Carnegie all had beautiful and unique buildings. But I've been back to my original library stomping (or should I say stepping quietly) grounds in Sewickley. My very first library card was issued in Sewickley - in which I distinctly remember bringing a piece of mail with my name on it in order to get it from the strict children's librarian. I participated in the summer reading programs every year and dropped my slips into the assorted raffles, hoping to win an ice cream cone at Baskin Robbins for finishing Little House on the Prairie. This is another nerd alert, but it was always something I looked forward to in the summer. I would research elementary school projects with my friends and spend way too much change in the photocopy machine. The library still has the same solid wooden tables and chairs - where we would look at Teen magazines and procrastinate doing the 6th grade country report.
But now, my time is divided between the adult fiction and the newly expanded children's library. It is beautiful. An entirely separate wing devoted to puzzles, audio books, computers and of course, picture books for kids. I quickly have to choose my own books and rush up the stairs to appease Ayla. I acknowledge that she is more interested in the Duplo blocks and fire-truck puzzles than picking out her books. But I'd accompany her there just to be surrounded by the books and muffled sounds of the library. I love the plastic covering on every book and especially seeing the old handwriting from when the librarians had to manually record each lender.
Every visit, we pick out a few items to take home - If You Give a Moose A Muffin, Madeline or Fix It (a story about a little bear who no longer wants to watch tv, but wants to read instead). We also indulge in a video. We thoroughly enjoyed the 1980's Raffi concert and Elmo teaching us Spanish. But occasionally, I do pick something ridiculous. Yesterday, I was searching for anything with baby sign language but settled on a special dance video instead. It's, um, weird. It shows only the dancers feet moving along to nursery rhymes. But instead of singing these nursery rhymes, it is a woman attempting def jam poetry style. Ayla and Jackson were enthralled - but the horrified look on Gregory's face said it all.
Maybe I'll be traditional and stick to checking out the books at the library. It is what they do best.