Friday, September 5, 2008

In praise of public libraries

This is a quick pic of most of the books we currently have out from the Los Angeles Public Library... I did quickly get a more posed shot, but Ro wanted to grab his current favorite and so I snapped a pic of him reaching for it to use instead.

Way way back when I was a kid, the hobby of reading was the one I did more than pretty much everything else. From birth, my room was strewn with books. Books that were mine, books that came from my Mom's childhood , books that were my Dad's, Grandma books, etc. When I got older, I participated in book reading contests at school and started reading to my little brother.
I don't remember the day I went to the Tarzana library to get my very own library card, but I do remember being slightly annoyed that I could only check out three books. What the heck is that!? I would beg my Mom and Grandma to take me as often as possible. Of course, I did have other hobbies, but reading was the one thing I could do (and still do) everywhere. Riding in cars, at the beach, on the airplane, during a lunch break... you can't just carry a sewing machine around with you and pop it in your backpack like you can a tome.
So, when Em and Ro were born, really before they were born, I read to them. When I think back about it, I actually began preparing their library far before I was even pregnant... grabbing a board book here, ordering a volume there, researching different subjects and such while still single and newly married. I have always known reading was important to me and that gaining knowledge from books was one vital habit I wanted and needed to pass along.
Back to the library. I still read, review and research books to buy and have a steady list of "to-read" books on online sites such as Paperback Swap and Goodreads, but with the economy the way it is, I cannot just buy every book that catches my eye. Enter the Los Angeles Public Library! I LOVE my library! With the advent of the WWW, I love it even more! !!!!! Online reviews, databases, friends' recommendations... a zillion ways to find quality books for my family and I to read.
So this past Tuesday, I took Em with me to get him his own library card and continue my bookish family tradition. I will still continue to find books I would like to read to him and Ro, but now, I believe Em is old enough to come along with me and add his own tastes to the reading pile as well.
There are so many thoughts swirling in my head about reading. The importance of reading aloud to children, reading to get lost in another world, reading for research, seasonal reading, avoiding empty books... many other blogs for many other days.
Do you go to your local library? What other online book sites do you like?