Saturday, July 28, 2012

Teaching Children to Cherish the Library

I had to put a stop to it.  It just didn't make sense.  The first thing my boys want to do when we visit the library is play on the computers.  Millions of dollars have been poured into remodeling the libraries in my city. My local library is within walking distance and recently underwent a $12 million renovation.  Our city libraries are chic, hip and equipped with the latest technology.  I could live in the library.  But my boys head straight for the flashy new Mac computers.  Something had to change.  Mama's lecture on how blessed we are to have libraries didn't work, but this book did.  My Librarian Is A Camel.  It's a wonderful story about libraries around the world.  The children who are the beneficiaries of these mobile libraries anxiously await their arrival.  In Kenya, for example, camels carry as many as 500 books to children because the terrain is impassible for cars, even four-wheel drive vehicles.  In Thailand, the library reaches children in remote villages on the backs of elephants! Some of these mobile libraries only visit every few weeks.  During one of many readings of this book to them, I stressed how blessed we are to be able to visit the library daily!  From now on when we visit the library, my children will have to choose books from the following categories: biography, science, history, arts, graphic novels, poetry and literature. This exercise will teach them how to use the library to find what they need and get to know the librarian at the same time.  After the library scavenger hunt, we all will spend at least 30-45 minutes reading.  The reward, free time on the computers!  I will admit that after attending a technology conference for homeschool parents, I am considering a Nook or Kindle Fire purchase for the children to combine books with their love of technology.  I still believe that good, old-fashioned page turning of a real book is best. 


  1. I'm so glad you posted this and I hope it will work for my girls. I'm having the exact same problem, and to make it worse, fights and tantrums break out amongst kids because there's one computer and every kid in the library wants to use it. And I agree with the old-fashioned books. We are a techie family in our house, but nothing replaces a book. Unfortunately a lot of these books on nook and ipads also have sound affects, music, and other doo dads that keep the child distracted from actually reading the book. So by all means keep them reading real books, they have plenty of time in their adult life to purchase and enjoy their own e-readers. We appreciate e-readers and use them appropriately because we were raised on real books, our kids should have the same opportunity.

  2. Monica, I agree with you. I noticed you mentioned graphic novels. I have had to make sure my son understands that the library is not a comic book store. I have learned to embrace graphic novels but at the same time the library has so much more to offer. So he HAS to find other books as well or no graphic novel time. I don't allow my boys to use the computers at the library unless they are looking for a book but only because we negotiate their computer time at home. I think allowing your boys to have some computer time after getting their books is a good idea, especially depending on how much computer time they get at home. There has definitely been a change in the library...I remember when you had to be quiet. One library we frequent is a serious hang out for the tween group and I say that in a good way. The librarian has put a lot of time and effort in to creating programs for that group. On another note, have you and/or Kingman read The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind? We listened to this book earlier this year and it definitely shows a different perspective on the library, homeschooling, and school in general. I'm not a e-reader fan, but we loved to download the audio books from the library. We listen at bed time, breakfast, lunch, and we have even plugged in our laptop in the car and listened while riding (some audio books I can only download on my laptop). All in all, though, I prefer a book in my hand with corners turned down to save my place, but at the same time I am trying to learn to appreciate all the technology.

    1. Thanks for your comments. My son actually once said that he wished ALL books were comic books. I'd love to read a study about why boys love graphic novels. My children are such technology lovers, maybe I should rethink the e-reader. I will keep you posted on how our new library protocol is working.