I am pretty ashamed to admit that my ideas about the library have been proved to be rather out of date! I used to go the library every week when I was younger, and although I enjoyed going, the choice was pretty limited, the books were old and often grubby, and the only other people there were old ladies. Thankfully, our library is nothing like that!
Although our local library is quite small, it had a lovely bright welcoming feel, people were talking, and the children’s selection is huge! I took Annabelle to get her library card when she was about 5 months old (and all snuggly in my wrap!) but we haven’t ended up going back until now. Annabelle has suddenly developed a ferocious appetite for books (I have been looking forward to this for ages!) so it seemed like a good idea to introduce her to the idea of going regularly and choosing books on topics she is interested in at the time (or just exciting looking story books).
We went over to the children’s selection and Annabelle got stuck in rummaging through the book boxes. She chose a Charlie and Lola book straight away (she has one at home!), and a ‘teddy book’ and some ‘touchy feely’ counting and alphabet books. She throughly tested out the little table and chairs, and the sofas while reading her books, and when it came to time to leave she was quite reluctant, saying ‘more reading, more books!’
I found the parent’s section, and was really impressed. There were about 5 shelves full of books on breastfeeding, natural parenting, green living and parenting, and gentle parenting. Not a single Gina Ford, ‘cry it out’ type book in sight hurrah! I didn’t see any books on co-sleeping or baby led weaning – maybe they are all out on loan?!
When it was time to check out, I asked Annabelle if she wanted to use the machines to scan the books herself (she loves the self scan machines at the supermarket!) or if she wanted to let the librarians scan them. She decided to ‘show the ladies’, but it turns out they don’t do books at all any more, it’s all self service! Now, we love a gadget or two in this house, but these machines were pretty amazing. You just scan your card, and stack up your books on the shelf and it automatically lists which books you have in the pile. I think it is some sort of witchcraft magic, but Dave informs me it uses something called ‘RFID technology???’
Annabelle has kept all her library books together in their special bag, and we keep them downstairs with her toys and a few other selected books so that she can dip into them as she likes throughout the day. I like the idea of repeating a few stories until she knows them really well which is something we were introduced to at school with the ‘5 a day story programme’. This is basically just as I have described – you have a selection of stories in a special basket or bag, and you keep the same ones all week for story times, Ideally reading at least 5 a day. That way, children become really familiar and are more confident to join in, and take the ideas into their play.
Hopefully we will be back to the library every few weeks to choose some new books on things that interest us. (Sadly I couldn’t find any books on Annabelle’s favourite subjects ‘Bin Men’ and recycling – maybe I should put in a request?!)