In the age of Amazon and Kindle and Nook, Scholastic book club deals, Netflix, and stories on tape, the old public library struggles for attention. Perhaps yours has even closed down or cut hours due to budget cuts, another latent consequence of of the downturned economy of yesteryear or just a change in budgetary values as we decide where our local money is best served.
But I say, in a passionate inside voice, BRING BACK THE LIBRARY!
The place of exploration and possibility--the smell of imagination and a little must. We inevitably owe a few fines--keeping books overdue here and there or that one time the couch ate our chapter-book. We happily pay, given all that we get in return. After all, Netflix and Amazon and Hulu keep raising their rates and I don't flinch. What's a few bucks of investment for all I get in return?
The library is an enchanting resource worthy of my praise. It inspires and offers free Wifi in a quiet place where I am not obligated to buy a latte or discouraged from staying too long.
There are programs for kids and adults alike. We have touched fossil bones and climbed into big rigs and police cars at a community Trucks! Trucks! Trucks! event. We're renting Disney classics still in the vault without paying absurdly too much for an old copy on Ebay.
They offer grief groups and learning workshops and sponsor MOPS groups and family game nights and monthly book clubs. The annual Lego camp is a favorite for my kids. Multiple offerings of mommy and me yoga, storytime for toddlers, and puppet shows got me out of the house during those isolating years of infancy and toddlerhood. And, really, lots of books. Let's go back to the books.
Especially as a mom with a tight budget, checking out books brings excitement to my children, instills a value in them, at a time when we can't really afford new toys or books regularly (and that's for the best anyway).
Libraries build those communal principles, that we can come together and learn and share with one another. We share books, ideas and stories of our own and in our collective imagination.
So check out your library today! Grab a book for the afternoon and a movie for the night. Catch up on back issues of the magazine you want to read but don't want to waste paper on. Stop by the calendar for their summer calendar and see what's waiting behind those old, enchanted doors.
Lynette is a mom of three children from ages two to six. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.