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Back to School Means Back to the Library!

Updated on July 20, 2013

Statue: Children Reading

Display at the Romeo Public Library Children's Area
Display at the Romeo Public Library Children's Area | Source

Early Library Memories

When I was a girl, I loved to go to the library. Our elementary school was freshly built and I was proud that my mother was one of the volunteer library ladies. Later, this passion for books and reading earned her an Associate’s Degree in Library Science and a lifetime career as a librarian.

Back then, we lived in a small town, which had no library of its own. Instead, our choices were divided between the library of our neighboring town, which was actually a converted house, and the ‘big’ county library.

In fact, it was the Macomb County Library which provided the monthly book mobile in our neighborhood. I always loved the concept of driving around a huge van filled with shelves of books. I envisioned myself doing that one day-reading and traveling to the places that the books I read described.

At sixteen I snared a coveted job as the ‘page’ at the local library. It paid a buck thirty-five per hour and was my first actual job in which I received a cut paycheck. Can you get the irony of the use of the word ‘page’ for someone whose job it is to return books filled with pages to the shelves? Hah! I thought that was very clever.

I considered this to be one of the best jobs I had for several reasons: I had first crack at all of the new books coming in; it allowed me to see what interested other people; it had great working conditions; and best of all-it led me to the Directory of Summer Jobs . This was a handy book listing summer jobs across the United States. It led to my summer job on Mackinac Island two years later, post high school graduation.

The Importance of Owning a Library Card

No matter where I have travelled, my priority in a new place was to visit the local library and obtain a card. So, as a young mother living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I joined the local library and brought my young daughters there to learn how to choose a book, how to care for it, and how to sit quietly during story hour.

I’ve listened to lectures, kept up with news via community computers, and met some of the greatest people in the libraries I’ve visited across the country.

Young Patrons

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Visiting a local library can be an exciting experienceYoung Alex working the computer in the children's departmentAlex working on a hands on exhibitGrace and Alex entertaining themselves with a puppet show
Visiting a local library can be an exciting experience
Visiting a local library can be an exciting experience | Source
Young Alex working the computer in the children's department
Young Alex working the computer in the children's department | Source
Alex working on a hands on exhibit
Alex working on a hands on exhibit | Source
Grace and Alex entertaining themselves with a puppet show
Grace and Alex entertaining themselves with a puppet show | Source

Modern Libraries

Libraries have come a very long way since my days of shelving books. Modern technology has stepped in with many convenient mechanisms to speed up the check out process and make running the library more efficient. Some libraries even have a self check out system in place.

But, what I have discovered, as libraries have evolved, is not just what is offered on the shelf, but the delightful additions that make the facility appealing to young and old patrons alike. Now, as a grandmother of four, visiting the library with my grand kids is one of my favorite things to do. And, I am still as excited as that young girl was entering the bookmobile, when I walk into the children's section. But, boy things have changed!

Children’s artwork hangs on the walls from special programs and contests that encourage them to read. Animals scurry around in cages surrounded by a stack of nature books. Fluffy pillows and child sized tables and chairs invite youngsters to engage in their books on the spot. Computers line one wall with learning activities. A puppet theatre sits in one carpeted corner and a table with hands on activities sits in another.

While each library is different, the atmosphere is the same: warm, inviting and a place you and your child will want to hang out at.

Support Your Local Library

Teaching a child to use the library is giving her a gift of a lifetime. Starting at infancy the environment of a library is one that will make your baby feel warm and fuzzy. As he grows, crawls and toddles around, regular trips to the library will give him the idea that this is a normal part of childhood…to be among books, reading, studying and learning.

As a toddler, your child can attend story hour. This teaches her several things-how to listen, how to pay attention in a group, how to participate, and always it is about the books and the magic of reading.

By three or four your child can help you decide what books appeal to him. Picture books with bright, colorful pages, few words and lots of cool sounds to mimic are a blast to read aloud. Reading aloud to your child gives her special time with mom and dad and the knowledge that this is important.

By kindergarten your child should be choosing his own books. Engaging in library visits on a regular basis will create a familiarity for the time when he will be researching information for his classes as he gets older.

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Fun things to explore in the library

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The library is a fun place to beReading is fun
The library is a fun place to be
The library is a fun place to be
Reading is fun
Reading is fun

Make It A Habit

There is a vast variety of books to read to your child to teach her about the world, herself, and growing up. Make it a family tradition to set a time in the evening reading together aloud, or as they get older, reading individually.

The favorite time of the evening with my children was after bath and before bed. I read to them, as my mother had read to our family, and it was a wonderful way to end the day. Today, the continuation of my own daughters reading to their children makes my heart glow.

Teaching a child to read is a parental duty. It is every child’s right to be literate. Taking the time to introduce your child to the magical house of books-the library, is giving them a portal to another world.


Examples of books for younger children


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    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Ruchira-how exciting to come to the new country and immediately get a new library card. I feel the same way about the importance of this. I loved passing it down to my kids who are now passing it down to their children! Thanks for sharing. :)

      Hi Levertis-I enjoyed your story of your childhood and now how you reach out to your grandchildren to instill in them a love of learning. I appreciate you comments.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      I, too, came from the “old school,” but I did not have access to many books during my early years. I dreamed about books and traveling to see the places I saw in the few books I had of my own. I did have access to a reader later issued every year after I began grade school.

      I remember a story I read in my reader when I was about fourth grade. It was titled "Pike's Peak or Bust." A man was traveling westward by wagon. His wagon broke down, but he was determined to not let anything stop him from getting to Pike’s Peak. I do not remember the ending of the story, but I was reminded of it when I saw Pikes Peak in the Colorado Rockies for the first time about five years ago. As I stared at it, the story’s theme returned to my mind, and that was a special moment for me.

      Because I was not exposed to travel and plenty when I was a young child, my thirst for books was excruciating. Not many years passed before I was able to read as much as I could and travel in the process. I do not know if I will be able to cover all of the places I have read about, but it is fun trying.

      I have fun with my grandchildren during summer breaks. I try to give them a related experience after they complete readings. Recently we went to the aquarium of the Americas, a butterfly exhibit, and a few other places all in New Orleans, LA. We also made three chocolate cakes. The cake making was good for them but not for me. These experiences help to push their reading interests toward being hooked. All have not reached the point of no return, but we are still working on it.

      Thanks for sharing a fantastic hub!

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Library creates so much awareness in people and children.

      The first thing I did when I came to this country was get a library card. The books were my first companions and I would love getting engrossed in them. I passed on this fervor to my kid, who loves it as well.

      Beautiful hub, Denise!

      Sharing it across

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Marie...well, I'm finally sitting down at the computer again and just noticed your comment here. Thanks for your feedback. It is always one of the first things I do when I move. :) Enjoy your Labor Day Monday. Thanks for the vote up. :)

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 5 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Your hub has been featured or at least this what I think I saw. Noticed Hubpages has changed! :) When I moved to Oregon from New York 8 years ago, the first thing I did was look for either a bookshop or library and a coffee shop. I love to spend time at the library and also place holds on books online. Books are definitely my friends.

      Just read your comments today in my hub about my challenge this year and replied. Hadn't logged on to Hubpages in a while.

      Voted up!

      Have a beautiful Sunday!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 5 years ago from North Carolina

      LOL Well, you've given new meaning to spending time in the library, haha. I love it. Good for you re: your tech position. Have a great w/e and thanks for reading/commenting.

    • Uninvited Writer profile image

      Susan Keeping 5 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

      I spent so much time at the library in my high school years...went there when I cut classes :) I have a library technician's diploma and worked in a university library for 12 years.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Audrey-yes, the library was, and still is, like my second home.Thanks for the read and vote! :)

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 6 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      The library has saved me a ton of money on movies. And like you, I visit it often.My local library has the nicest staff. I really like this hub Denise. You have described, in such a lovely way, the benefits and memories of your own experiences. And for Grandparents, it is a marvelous outing for the kids. I could spend weeks there. The photos are precious! Voting up and across!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Gail-thanks for sharing your own experiences and also the info about your hometown library. I've decided I should look into moving further north to your neck of the woods, LOL

      Thanks thelyricwriter, for reading and commenting. I think that is great that they assist children in building these skills.

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 6 years ago from West Virginia

      Very good article. The Library is very important and there are many benefits to a library. I know the library in WV offers the children program where they work for a check during the summer, which teaches important roles. Well written.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 6 years ago from South Carolina

      Great hub. I have always loved libraries and can remember how proud I was when my mom got me my own library card so that I was able to ride my bike to the local library and take books out by myself. We moved many times while I was growing up, but locating and spending time in libraries was a positive constant in our lives.

      My current hometown is blessed with a recently renovated library that overlooks a historic riverwalk, has an outdoor "theatre" for concerts and movies, indoor meeting room for free seminars and community gatherings, new children's room and new research room. I also believe that we will soon be able to check out electronic books on our Kindles, but I hope that libraries will always be the one place where hard cover books will continue to be prized and accessible to the public.

      I enjoyed reading about your summer job as a library page at the princely wage of $1.35 an hour and how your discovery of the Directory of Summer Jobs led to a future job at Mackinac Island. Before internet job searches were available, libraries were one of the best places to find job listings and career information.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Enlydia Listener. Libraries are cool! :)

    • Enlydia Listener profile image

      Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

      Libraries are one of those wonderful free things in the world...I love them.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Tracy-I didn't realize (or remember?) that you are a librarian. Good for you. My sister, who is a hubber here is currently going for her masters in Lib science. She writes under her name: Danette Watt...check her hubs out also. Thanks for your comments.

    • Tracy Gregory profile image

      Tracy Gregory 7 years ago

      A wonderful, well written post supporting libraries. As a librarian, I loved it!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Danette-thanks for your comment. That's the first thing I do also ! In fact, I have a collection of library cards from the places I've been.

    • profile image

      Danette Watt 7 years ago

      As someone who lived in several areas of the country because of a military life, getting a library card was one of the first things I did when I got to a new town. Great hub, Denise, and I have fond memories of libraries -- and bookmobiles! -- as well.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Kevin, thanks so much for stopping to read the hub and commenting. I love libraries (can you tell!) and am grateful that my mother instilled the love of reading in us early on...passed on to generations. :)

    • profile image

      Kevin Schofield 7 years ago

      Hi Denise. Yes, "a portal to another world" should be the motto that libraries and library members embrace. I remember visits to my local library when I was a child, a dark, cavernous Victorian building where one was only allowed to speak in the barest of whispers. But it was a vast treasure house for the imagination and an endless source of pleasurable exploration. Thanks for the memories. Great hub! Kindest regards, Kev.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      DG-Not a bad place to hole up in. I can think of worse places to be. :)

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 7 years ago from UK

      I almost lived in libraries in the past, so I know what you mean:-)

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Fetty, thanks for reading and commenting on this hub. Did you mean that you almost had a career as a librarian? My sister is actually following my mother's path now, working on her Masters in Library science. I know your career path has been very fulfilling for you. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. I had a good time with my daughters and grandkids visiting the library in MI and taking photos. :)

    • fetty profile image

      fetty 7 years ago from South Jersey

      I also became a librarian, almost wish I chose that path. Great hub. My mother said they never made a book that I could walk past without picking it up. I also went to my grandmother's library. Our town library was too far away to walk.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Hi Lena-nice to hear from you. Thanks for your feedback. Yep, libraries are cool places to hang out at.

    • lovebuglena profile image

      Lena Kovadlo 7 years ago from Staten Island, NY

      I love going to the library and spending hours there looking through books and trying to pick out the ones I want to take home.

      Thank you for sharing this hub with us. It's nicely written. I love the experiences you share here.


    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Marie and John for stopping by to read the hub. I'm always happy to support the local libraries. :)

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      I am a big fan of libraries and I like your ideas for supporting them.

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Denise: I love to read, and for me its important to have two things in a new town, a place where I can read, be it a library or bookshop and a coffee shop to stop by on occasion and relax. You brought back memories of my hours at the library when I was a young girl.

      Rated up!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks Lilly. One of my favorite places to spend my time at.

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 7 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      Yes! The Library is a Treasure Chest for anyone who wants to dig their way out of any rut, or bad situation. A Librarian is one of the Best resources in any town!!! Voted Up across the board, Tweeted, and facebooked!!