Monday, July 6, 2009

Decline of our Libraries???

I spent two hours at the library Friday. I was checking out books to read with my grand-daughter. As I sat at one of the tables in the picture book section a father a three children came in. Instead of helping them find a book he laid down on the floor and constantly yawned out loud. He kept telling his kids to go play with the toys whenever they tried to show him a book. He also kept telling them that they would be leaving in a few minutes because he was tired. I felt so sorry for these children. They kept coming to my table and looking at the large stack of books I had. I didn't talk with them because in this day and age I try not to encourage children to talk to strangers. However, it killed me that I couldn't just pull one of his sons up on my lap and read to him like he wanted his dad to do. Finally his dad announced it was time to leave because they had to get lunch so he could watch something on TV. If they didn't leave right then they would not get to go to McDonalds. I thought how much of a crime this was.

I was also disappointed in the way the children's department was run. They were having reading time for toddlers on the day I visited. I watched a woman and her two little girls come in. They were excited about visiting the library in Florida and couldn't wait to tell their grandma when they got back home. There mother explained that they couldn't check any books out because they were on vacation but they could spend time reading books there. They were so excited. They came over to the area I was seated and looked at my books and one of the little girls said, "Hey I read that book. I liked it." I looked at her mother who nodded to me and I told her the book I was looking at was for my grand-daughter. She went over and looked and came back with two more she said my grand-daughter would like because her little sister liked them. I thanked her and told them I hope they enjoyed their visit to the library. Then things went south. One of the girls walked up to another child who was coloring something for the dragon they were creating. The parent and the lady at the desk informed them that they had to read five books, one a week, and belong to the group to participate in any of the activities. The mom explained to her daughters that since they were visitors they couldn't participate because these children had worked hard for this goal. Okay so far. She asked about the reading group and was told that it had already started, she had not signed up for it so they couldn't go in. Strike two. The youngest girl said, "Mommy, are they going to allow us to read their books?" How sad that a visitor who wants to instill the love of reading in their child while on vacation is turned away in so many ways. I will continue to do everything in my power to instill the love of reading in children of all ages. I keep pushing adults to read as well. I was so proud of this mother who could have been at a theme park or the beach that found it important to take her children to the library on vacation. May we all have the passion for reading that this mother was instilling in her girls.


  1. Both of those stories are so sad. Children books are so short, I can't understand why a parent can't take out 20 minutes to read them to their children. What's the point of taking them to a library then. And the little girls should have been able to color and listen to the story. It's not that hard to give them crayons or paper. Or let them sit on the floor and listen.

  2. Ditto! I agree with everything you have said. There is a decline in our society, not just the libraries.