Posts Tagged "library"

It’s Book Lovers Day (But Isn’t Every Day?)

Dear Kid,

Today is Book Lovers Day.

Um, why?

There are some things that just seem too obvious to talk about.

I mean, we don’t have a National Take a Breath Day (do we? I don’t think we do). We don’t have a National Blink Your Eyes Every Now and Then Day. We don’t have Love Your Pancreas Day. We just do those things.

So why do we need Book Lovers Day?

Read! Everyone should celebrate books every day. DearKidLoveMom.comIn my not so humble opinion, EVERY day should be a book-infused day. Everybody should take time to read on a regular basis. And not just texts (I know people read those on a regular basis. But “C U L8R” is not the same as “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” or “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” (Penalty points if you can’t identify both of those.)

It’s a little different when you’re in college; I get that. You spend a LOT of time (I hope) reading for classes, doing homework, and studying.

Hopefully when you have a break (summer, winter, etc.) you’ll occasionally pick up a book and read it.

Read! Everyone should celebrate books every day. DearKidLoveMom.comOr, maybe since you haven’t started classes yet, you’ll take a moment or two today to celebrate.


Love, Mom

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Library Thoughts–Will Books Disappear?! | Part III

Mom thoughts about libraries Isaac Asimov QuoteDear Kid,

I’ve been talking about libraries the last few days (Part I and Part II). It’s amazing I’ve had the attention span—squirrel!—but I’ve given this a lot of thought.

I love books. This is not news to you, I know. But I have always loved books. Mostly fiction. Mostly amusing fiction, although I have cried over my fair share of sad stories too. Books are escape, they are magic (with or without wizards), they are a way to try on other people’s lives, thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

It is impossible for me to imagine a world without books since I consider them an accessory almost as important as a great pair of shoes and sparkly earrings.

The time between books is a weird time. On the one hand, it’s freeing in that for a short time I don’t have to obsessively stay up until two in the morning frantically reading to find out what happens next. On the other hand, I feel a little adrift not having a book (or two or three) in progress. On the third hand (I like science fiction too), it is a wonderful feeling knowing I get to choose something from all the books in the library.

Libraries do not only offer printed material these days. There are audio books (love!), music, movies, tv show…the list goes on. It is wonderful that all sorts of electronic media are there for the borrowing.

But as more and more people use e-readers, I worry that books may disappear. It is horrifying to think that at some point in the not too distant future children might not go to a physical library. Or even if they do that there will be only three books on display for historical significance.

Reading a book is a wonderful tactile experience that just isn’t the same as an iPad.

Then again, I wonder what people said when scrolls first replaced clay: It’s terrible! The parchment will tear, if you don’t have to work as hard to write people won’t take it seriously!

And then when books replaced scrolls: It’s terrible! Books will take up too much space, who can even afford books, all that page turning will cause carpal page-turning syndrome!

And when the first audio books appeared: It’s terrible! Books are meant to be read, not listened to, people will forget how to read!

Happily, books are still here, audio books are still here, movies are here…there’s room for all of it.

Visit a library, Kid. There’s whole world there.

Love, Mom

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Library Advice & More | Thoughts on Libraries Part II

I'm not comfortable being preachy, but more people need to start spending as much time in the library as they do on the basketball court. Kareem Abdul-JabbarDear Kid,

This is Part II of My Thoughts on Libraries. If you missed Part I (horrors!) I am kindly providing a link for you to review Five Fun Facts About Libraries | Library Part I before going on. (Don’t worry–I’ll wait.) Ok, now that you’re caught up.

As you are doubtless without a doubt aware, there are different kinds of libraries. There are personal libraries where people hoard books in the comfort of their own homes (not naming names, but you are related to more than one person with a personal library).

Originally, the purpose of a library was to show personal wealth—in possessions if not in actual knowledge. Ashurbanipal, the last great king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, had the first library we know of. Personally, I’m willing to believe dolphins have figured out a way to share knowledge but then I’m pretty gullible when it comes to dolphins.

It’s unlikely Ashurbanipal sat around in his library flipping through books because A) everything was written on clay and B) it’s not obvious he himself could read. It is also safe to assume his library wasn’t air conditioned.

It is widely accepted among elementary school students that Ben Franklin invented lightening and founded the first US library. It is true that he and his pals founded the Library Company of Philadelphia but there are lots of towns claiming they had a library before Mr. B. F. opened his. Ben’s library wasn’t free (don’t tell the elementary school kids); members had to buy in.

Nowadays (a great word I don’t get to use very often), public libraries are usually lending libraries and if you can sign a library card and prove you live in the area you can borrow a book or whatever (more on the ‘whatever’ tomorrow).

New York lawyer, governor, and bibliophile Samuel J. Tilden left millions to build the New York Public Library (best stone lions ever. Also the setting for a good bit of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler which can be found at most libraries and is one of my fav books). He believed Americans should have access to books and a free education if desired. He did not, however, offer to pay your college tuition, which I’m sure was just an oversight on his part.

Other important people (and by “important” I mean “wealthy”) have founded or bequeathed money to found libraries.

The Bacon Free Library in South Natick, Massachusetts was founded in 1881 after a benefactor left $15,000 in a will. This of course is the second most important thing about South Natick, the first being that it is the home of BFF Nancy, my Bunny, and the rest of the clan.

On Campus, libraries are hallowed gathering places where learning is revered and groups of students relax the hours away searching for the Meaning of Truth and Obscure Facts.


I think it’s fair to say that college libraries are air conditioned. And that students often go there to find a quiet place to study cram away from the distractions of roommates and television sets. Or to research obscure facts for term papers or Trivial Pursuit the 25th Anniversary Edition.

My advice (which I know you’ve been waiting for):

1Read a book before departing for college because chances of having time to read a book for fun diminish in direct proportion to the length of time left to mid-terms.

2Meet and befriend the librarians (whether or not you can find one named Marian—extra points if you get the reference). It’s amazing how much time, pain, agony, and rework they can save you.

3Tune in tomorrow for Part III of my Thoughts About Libraries. And Whatever.

Love, Mom

Marian the Librarian is from The Music Man. Video included for your viewing pleasure.

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Five Fun Facts About Libraries | Library Part I

When I got my library card that's when my life beganDear Kid,

I’ve been thinking about libraries lately. I’ve also been visiting the library a fair amount.

Libraries—at least in this neck of the woods—are air conditioned. This may not seem very important, but it is, so I’m bothering telling you so (extra points if you get the reference).

The weather here has turned ridiculously, sweat-inducingly hot. And if one has a car without air conditioning, libraries are a delightful place to go for a bit without feeling obligated to buy a cup of over-caffeinated coffee.

Actually, libraries are delightful no matter what the weather. One of the first jobs I ever had was working at the library (I’m guessing when we lived in Poughkeepsie) and I volunteered (I’m guessing) and reshelved books (I’m positive).

The word is library. Not lie-berry, lie-barry, or even librarary, although librarary will probably make me smile.

Five Fun Facts About Libraries

  • 68 percent of Americans have a library card.
  • Americans check out more than 2 billion items each year from their public libraries; the average user takes out more than seven books a year.
  • There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the US, yet Americans spend more than twice as much on candy as they do on public libraries
  • The Library of Congress, founded in 1800, is the largest library in the world, with more than 155.3 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. People say you can go all sorts of place when you read, but you can travel the distance (as the shelf stacks) from the Library of Congress to Memphis, TN without leaving the building. The cultural trip might be more difficult.
  • The smallest book in the Library of Congress is “Old King Cole.” It is 1/25” x 1/25”, or about the size of the period at the end of this sentence.

More about libraries tomorrow my dear.

In the meantime, enjoy a good book.

Love, Mom

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