Thursday, November 18, 2010

Demise of the Library

Our local library was undergoing renovations for the first few years of David's life and it wasn't until he was about four-and-a-half years old that I took him to the library for the first time. (I think Kinneret took him once to another library before that.) I love libraries and books and I was excited to be able to introduce him the excitement of the library, but alas we were not in agreement.
When we arrived I first signed him for a library card. Then we looked around the shelves for a grand two minutes before he ran off to one of the many computers that lined the walls. I tried my best to lure him away with all types of books. I didn't care what the subject was, as long as it was printed. But he wasn't interested. I told him he could play for five minutes and stepped back. That was when I realized that all the kids were using the computers. The tables and reading mats on the floor were all bare.

It's not like David doesn't enjoy books. He's been surrounded by them from day one. (Although the truth is he prefers to be read to rather than to read independently.) Maybe because we have a small library at home he doesn't appreciate all the books housed in the library. In any case, I was still disappointed that I couldn't transmit to him my own love of libraries. (As an aside, while I think that the internet is an unparalleled research tool and can help people tap into unimagined horizons, I think that children's reliance on it is fostering a generation that lacks the most basic research processing skills and is unable to digest large amount of text, critically or otherwise.)

Maybe I'm too old-fashioned? After all, as far as I could tell David was not at alone in his preference for the computer in the library. Far from it. Perhaps instead of spending all that money on the new library the town should have just opened up an internet cafe for kids?

Last week the babysitter took Ora to the library for the first time and weather permitting she will take her weekly to participate in a special program for babies. Maybe there is still hope that the products of my own bibliomania will find an appreciative inheritor.


MDJ said...

Would he not get excited about the possibility of choosing a new book that you can read to him. See if you can find a large series (like magic schoolbus, say) where he can go back to the library and get new ones.

abba said...

we generally let him choose any book he wants. if it has words, we don't care what it's about. he just didn't seem interested in anything when we were in the library. i've been thinking about trying it again, but between school and talmud torah he has no free time.

Shoshana Z. said...

We never let our kids use the computers at the library. Over the years we have kind of brainwashed them to think that computers are interlopers that don't really belong there. One way to solve the book selecting issue with a younger child is to pre-order online. Our library system can be searcher from home and books put on hold. When we get to the library our first stop is at the hold shelf and then we proceed to the kids' section. In this way, you will be certain to come home with books that both parent and child will like and it eliminates the pressure to find something check-out worthy on the spot.

Abba said...


good suggestion