Living Libraries

I finally got the kids their own “real” library cards this weekend.  Up until now they’ve had pretend cards they received years ago during a preschool story time, and all the books we borrowed actually went on my account.  That worked when they were toddlers and we only wanted print books, but times have changed.  Both for our family and for libraries!

In this digital age, there are many reasons to get individual cards for each family member… even the kiddos.  Sam has an iPod, so he can download both audio books and e-books from Listen Alaska now that he has his own library card.  He can also download three free songs a week through the library’s Freegal subscription – the songs go into our iTunes library and he gets to keep them forever.  (His choices last week were Gangnam Style, Drive By, and Call Me Maybe.  Oh, how I miss our Raffi days!)

We aren’t ready to let Maggie go quite so digital, but she still treats her new library card like gold.  She’s just started to read the ever-coveted “chapter books” which would cost a fortune to buy at the rate kids read them.  This weekend she stocked up on library copies of Ivy and Bean, Judy Moody, and a few cool non-fiction titles as well.  Their friend Lia was with us too, and was thrilled to snag the library’s last available copy of Where Mountain Meets the Moon.

The kids knew they could check out up to 50 books, but they each selected fewer than five before asking to go to the “reading area.”

We left the library with our borrowed treasures, and the car was hauntingly silent as we drove away.  A quick glance in the rear view mirror revealed three children safely strapped in their booster seats, their necks craned over the new titles.

I hated to disturb them, but needed to make a quick stop at the grocery store.  The kids begged to take their books inside.  How could I resist?  They are getting too big to ride in a shopping cart, but they just wanted to read so I let it slide.  Classic.

Yes, people stared.  But why?  A cart full of kids playing Angry Birds on an iPhone wouldn’t have turned heads.  It’s kind of sad, considering library budgets are being slashed at the same rate as children’s vocabularies these days.  Maybe we should all start bringing books to the grocery store!

Our kids have spent plenty of time playing Angry Birds in shopping carts and doctor’s offices, but the birds took a back seat on this day.  And the best part?  No one squawked a bit.

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