So for the longest time I have been trying to get Liam and Hannah registered at a library. One of my fondest memories from my childhood was visiting the library with my mom, choosing my own books and getting to take them home after the lady stamped them at the door. I can still “smell” the library in my mind – if that makes sense. The smell of hundreds and hundreds of books. Other than the smell of new money (or petrol, I love the smell of petrol), there is nothing quite like it. A trip to the library was a treat, having to be extra quiet and getting to page through many books before making your final choice. Holding tightly onto my library card which I safely kept in my BOB wallet – come on, who had an FNB BOB account? And then stressing if my books were even one day late because it meant I was going to have to put my money in that fancy little money box thingy to pay the fine. But more than the library experience which in itself is motive enough for me to get my kids signed up – my love of reading and my adoration for words, definitely stemmed from my trips to the library. Maybe Liam and Hannah won’t grow up to be readers, which would make me sad but there are worse things in life I guess, but I at least want them to experience the joy of losing yourself in a book. The joy of escaping into lands and fantasies that you may never visit or experience in real life. Empowering yourself through knowledge, gleamed only from reading. It’s AWESOME! I buy books as often as I can for them (but, boy books are expensive), and this year I requested only books for birthday gifts for Liam and will do the same for Hannah when her birthday comes around – but the library will give us a chance to have more books, more frequently, passing through our house.
I called our local library earlier in the year. I was a bit taken aback at the admin related to becoming a member. It’s easier to get a home loan or a credit card than it is to join the library – birth certificates, proof of residential address, blood samples and fingerprints. Well almost. I got the kids in the car after explaining what the library was and how exciting it was going to be and off we went. I started to doubt my Google Map when I went down one dodgy alley which led to another dodgy road which brought me out to Dodgeville. Turns out I live a few roads down from Dodgeville and I didn’t even know. I was alone with the two kids, and I just didn’t feel comfortable so we left. Of course my explanation of why we weren’t going to the library anymore was met with a huge outcry of how horrible I was so I had to make another plan and took them to Exclusive Books instead. Talk about a FAIL.
Since then, my cousin has informed me that there’s a library in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton, so this Saturday I’m going to take the kids through and try this again. Hopefully I’ll have more success! While others think that the library has become an outdated relic (partly due to the World Wide Web), good only for pensioners and people who need to make photocopies of their CVs, I still think it’s one of the nicest excursions for people with little kids. You may not find the latest bestseller, but there will be enough to entice a small mind into a world unimaginable – it’s bloody exciting! I think it’s a free outing that you and your little ones can enjoy over and over again, and one that will leave a lasting impression and hopefully create an avid reader.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours” – Alan Bennett, The History Boys
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R Martin, A Dance with Dragons