Tonight I was skimming through some Twitter updates when I came upon one by Bud Hunt (@budtheteacher), a fellow educator in the St. Vrain School District. Bud tweeted about his daughter’s first library book checkout today, and shared a picture of the cover of her choice: “Ella Sets the Stage”. The post made me smile and I realized that I was thinking about it off and on for several hours. That simple sharing of her first library experience, transported me back to my own first memory of visiting my school’s library. I remember feeling that I was somehow in a truly magical place. I couldn’t believe we could actually leave the classroom and be given time to sift through so many exciting books, one of which we could even take home! I remember excitedly crawling around on the floor, sitting between the shelves and comparing books and covers and pictures and words I could read “all by myself” with my classmates and friends. For me, this was a start of a true love.
Around the same time, I also remember learning how to read. We sat in circle on a rug in front a giant, 3 foot copy of “Dick and Jane” or “See Spot Run”, and tried to crack this mysterious code that would make us readers! I couldn’t wait. I couldn’t get enough. On some of our reading days, we would even don a pair of very large, very brown and very uncomfortable headphones to have our turn at using the latest technology (I think they were cassette tapes, but I really can’t remember for sure) to listen to the stories as we learned to read along. As it often goes, the new technology hardly ever worked right, but we didn’t care– It was a special thing and we were still getting to read, and be cool with the large, brown, uncomfortable headphones.
My love affair with books and reading continued throughout my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I remember going to the public library occasionally with my mother and spending so much time picking out a book that she would often leave me and come back to get me later. When we couldn’t get to the library, my best friend and I would wait for the one day a week that the “book mobile” would park in our neighborhood. We would walk the two blocks to the grocery store parking lot and bring back as many books as we could carry to read and share until the next week when the “book mobile” would show up again. No matter the weather, we loved that big ol’ bus with all those books.
Today, I still love to read. I have a Kindle and must have read almost 20 books this past summer. I share an Amazon Kindle account with a friend so that we can share the “books” and our reading experiences as much as possible. Like many of us in education, I read many, many items: fiction and non-fiction, in many forms throughout the day.
I still love libraries, whether they are in a school or in a city. I can still get lost in them, as well as a bookstore, for hours on end. And, I’ll still smile when I watch (or remember) the excitement of child with their very first library checkout.