One of my earliest memories involves the local library. My mother, a teacher, took us to the library across the street from my house all the time, especially during the summers, when she was home with us. I loved picking out the picture books and going home and having her read to us. Finally, my mother told me I was old enough to check out books myself. I must have been 5. I walked to the library where I gathered books and dutifully brought them back a few days later. I continued this process for many weeks. One day, I stopped to say hello to Mrs. Bogardus, the librarian.
“Hello, dear,” she said. “Are you checking out books today?” It soon became clear that I had been taking books home and bringing them back without going through the process of getting a library card or checking the books out. Mrs. Bogardus, always so kind, said nothing, she simply gave me a library card, checked out my library books and sent me on my way with a smile and a wave. Thanks to Mrs. Bogardus, and my parents, I have a deep and abiding love of public libraries. From my Blodgett, my hometown library in Fishkill; to the amazing Bobst Library at NYU, one of the largest academic libraries in the world -- it is 12 stories high, 425,000 square feet, has over 3.3 million books, and gets over 6,500 visitors a day. My love of libraries has nothing to do with being able to afford to buy books at Barnes and Noble or Amazon or getting e-books. Going to the library is a visceral experience, an important one, and I have always taken my kids to the library regularly. We used to go weekly but Christian is reading so much with high school he has no time. Michael, however, still loves going to the library, his current favorite is the smaller but beautiful Town Branch in the Newburgh Mall. For the biggest selection, you will want to go to the Main Library on Grand.
That being said, here are my Top 10 Reasons to Spend as much time as possible at the Library this Summer, and year round:
10. It’s Free! Let’s face it, few things in life are free anymore and our school taxes support this amazing library system. I love bookstores too but my checkout would be over $100 a week if I were to buy the books I check out of the library. Take advantage of it!
9. They have everything: kids books, grown up books, DVD’s, CD’s, research centers on the computer, a full on database of every book in the system. If the Newburgh library doesn’t have it, they will get it for you from another library.
8. Great Parent-Kid activity at any age. Kids love going to the library. We each have our own library cards and our own Newburgh Free library book bags. Michael loves picking out his books and although I read on a tablet, I enjoy picking up books on decorating, gardening, and Business books.
7. Free programs. There are a ton of free programs at the library, from poetry to tail wagging tutors, to the pre-school Library program. We like the Summer Reading programs, and there are also films and speakers at the main library. Follow them on fb or Twitter for the latest updates!
6. Read more! Because you have to bring your books back, you and your kids are more likely to read the books within the 3 week time frame. And you can always bring them in to renew.
5. Silence! Where else can you enjoy the pure bliss of Library silence? Main can be noisy in some sections after school but if you go downstairs you can enjoy the views of the Hudson River and read/ research in blissful silence.
4. Book pointers. Can’t think of a book you like? No problem, they always have great suggested books on display.
3. Rituals are important. I blog a lot about how important it is to create rituals for your kids. Reading is a key one, from bedtime stories to having a reading nook. And going to the library is a great ritual that leads to more reading, which leads to countless benefits for your kids.
2. Higher Test Scores! Results from countless studies, involving over 8,700 schools and over 2.6 million students, have consistently demonstrated that kids who visit the library on a regular basis score an average of 10-20 % higher on reading and achievement tests -- including higher reading, writing and ACT test scores, than those who do not.
- IT’S FUN!
Have a great day everyone and, as always, Remember to Count Your Blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo www.LoBiondo.org (Photo of Little Michael "reading" a book as a toddler)