Books up to here: childhood adventures at the library
“So how many books are you going to get today, Veronica?” my mother would ask as she opened the door to let me out of the car, my hands digging through my little blue and pink purse searching for the library card I was so proud to have. “Up to here,” I’d reply, placing my hand at my waist. Of course getting books “up to here” was easy for a five year old to do, but became increasingly unreasonable as I grew.
Those weekly trips to the library with my mother did something to me as a kid. I loved that place. I loved how it was a place where I could learn, where I could marvel at the beautiful illustrations in the children’s books I checked out, and where, as I got older, could have discussions with my mother (who had wanted to become a writer) about the books she was reading. Most importantly, the library was a place that provided the tools to improve my family’s literacy skills and love for learning. This was especially important as I entered school and, as a result, came to read to my recently arrived immigrant parents in English (they wanted to pick up English vocabulary), and in return, they read to me in Spanish.
I sometimes wonder how/if others have been influenced by the library and if this has led them to be a part of education (It has for me!). I wonder how kids now, especially in the age of video games and the internet, will remember their childhood library days. And finally, I wonder if my students will remember the day I told them that they were not going to be able to go to the library. (We had been learning about poverty in other countries and the differences in basic community resources between those my students had, and I felt, sometimes took for granted, and those communities in poverty had). My refusal to allow them to go sparked a great conversation, and I hope, allowed them to understand their community and the resources at their disposal a little bit better.
FYI: Yes, I did annoying things like this to my students once in a while…they got used to it. Oh, and just so you know, we did go to the library that day, I would have had a revolt on my hands if we hadn’t.