Thursday, January 31, 2013

Off to the library

First, the important stuff... the giveaway winner. Using a random number generator which picked "1", the first commentor on the post wins the book, so that means Kim Crawford is our winner. Kim, I have your address, so I'll send it out the next time I head to the post office. But, don't look for it before next week... our temperatures are supposed to go into the single digits and the post office is a walking errand for me.

Now, on to the topic at hand. There was a question on the facebook page about how we decided to allow our 9 year olds on up to go to the library unaccompanied. I thought the discussion might be of general interest, so I'll also share my answer here as well.

I've written before about our wonderful branch library which was just a half block from our house. Oh, how we loved that library. We were in there often and the librarians knew each child by name, and when a child ran out of books to read (a common occurrence), then that child could just walk over and pick out some more. There was an intersection to cross, but it wasn't busy. It was pretty wonderful... until it closed.

So it's been two or three years since we had a library within walking distance. Library trips became monthly huge affairs. (Affairs which we'll probably keep doing for a while. That way the three littles and H. can have a library trip, too.) But the main branch just wasn't close enough to send non-high school age children to on their own.

Then at our last big library trip earlier this month, one of the librarians mentioned that the south branch was reopening. Oh the joy! It isn't quite as convenient as the previous one, it is two blocks instead of a half a block and there is a major intersection to cross, but it is still pretty close. Since the library policy is that children over 9 may use the library without an adult, we decided that at that age our 9 year olds could use this as their first 'alone' destination. (Well, those 9 year olds on up who have sufficient English skills. H. is not ready yet.) It is close, there is a light at the intersection, and the librarians still know us and all our children. Children of this age are really starting to want to do things on their own, and sometimes it's difficult to find appropriate opportunities for them. We let them go to a nearby park together to play and to the nearby grocery store to pick things up for me, but this adds another place they can go. It gives them skills for navigating the world on their own, but it is still a pretty safe endeavor.

Last Saturday, I took the children who would be undertaking this adventure to the library. I showed them the route I wanted them to take, we got library cards for those who still needed them (and made sure the cards were attached to my email address), and introduced them to the librarian. I also mentioned to the librarian that they would be coming alone and to be sure to call me if there were any problems at all. The library is closed on Sunday and Monday, which means that yesterday was the first chance to make use of this new freedom. Everyone has made the trip at least once and some have made it twice in the past two days. They check out a couple of books, read them, then want to return them to get another couple of books. What's not to like? It is also the first time the TM has been really excited about the library and checking out books.

The biggest complaint at the moment is that the new branch doesn't have enough books. I pointed out that books follow circulation. If they keep using it as they have been, the circulation numbers will go up and that in turn will bring more books to the branch. Plus, I intend to have all my reserves sent down here as well and just send a child to pick them up for me. That alone should skew the circulation numbers nicely in our favor.

Can you tell I'm just really excited to have a library close by again?

It breaks my heart to share this. A mother who recently traveled to Harvey's orphanage has said that the decision is that Harvey is too fragile to ever be able to make the trip to the US. At this point, all we can do is pray for his comfort until God takes him home. Pray that while he is still here on earth that he experience peace and love and comfort.

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