When my grown son was a little boy, I would drive his older brothers and sisters to school, and then he and I would head over to the San Lorenzo Library for story time. He believed that the library was his school, and the children’s librarian, his teacher.
Due to room capacity limits, parents weren’t allowed to stay during story time, so while he was absorbed in flannel board stories, songs and finger plays, I had 30 glorious minutes to peruse the stacks and max out my library card.
There was a time when a driver’s license, library card and proof of voter registration were the only cards most folks carried in their wallets.
The library card was the first piece of our great democratic society that a child could acquire, use and be proud of. It was a symbol of our freedom to read, learn and grow throughout our lives.
Unfortunately, many people today don’t understand the power of their library card and have forgotten about this valuable resource.
Some folks believe that due to the popularity of e-book readers, online bookstores and the Internet, libraries are becoming obsolete. I don’t think those people have been to a public library lately.
The library has changed since the days of shushing librarians, musty books and 3x5 card catalogs. Libraries have become dynamic community gathering spots, and places to keep current with today’s new technology.
As the economy continues its downward spiral, public library usage has skyrocketed. The need for library services and resources has increased dramatically as people have discovered the benefits of a library card over the detriments of a credit card.
Along with traditional programs, such as story time, the San Lorenzo Library offers citizenship classes, homework help, computer lessons, and literacy programs. It’s not just about books anymore; music, movies, audio and e-books can also be borrowed and enjoyed, free of charge.
Thanks to the Internet, libraries aren’t limited to just brick and mortar. Reference services, provided by professional librarians, are offered via email and instant messaging programs. A library card can connect its user to outside library systems and quality databases, all from the convenience of their own home.
My son still remembers those trips to the library, and still insists that story time was his first classroom.
I guess it left more of an impression on his young mind than I could ever have imagined. He recently started his first job—at our local public library!