Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Little Family Library

We like our librarians bunned and bespectacled!

"Richer than I you can never be -
I have a grandmother who built an entire library for me!"*

If you bring 'em to a library, they will read! If they work at a library, they will read even more!

And from where, you may ask, have I gleaned that fancy little fact?

Well, back in the day, when daddy was annoyed with us, he often scolded, "Why don't you kids go read something?" At that preliminary warning, my sisters and I frolicked away - to do nothing of the kind!

But mother? Well, very often, she took us to the library. And within that solemn sanctuary we read and read and read and filled our youthful hearts to far beyond contentment with printed word in prose and poetry.

Our homemade family library has not yet made its debut. We're still training staff and stocking shelves, anticipating an early summer launch. Its goal is to attract grandchildren as patrons, employees, and most importantly - readers! A week or so ago, this colorful oasis was nothing more than a random stack of cardboard boxes, upholstery tubes and lively sheets of scrapbook paper. Today its promise is a gathering place, one sporting all the amenities of a "real" library. Those include story times, puppet shows, and a reading club with prizes (grandma style prizes, though! - not just coupons for a greasy slice of pizza!).

Patrons will usually be greeted by a friendly cousin taking a turn as librarian, not this grumpy, fuzzy-faced substitute whose penetrating glare demands some sort of valid ID!

But not to worry! We'll have everything we need! Here are personalized library cards ready to sign, reading club folders, and crazy-cute stickers to decorate them - one for each book completed.

No fancy electronic checkout system here! We're using the "old school" method that suited grandma just fine! Books are pocketed with cards to sign and present for stamping and tucking into proper place. It will be that librarian's job to match and shelve every volume that's brought back, too.

We'll offer books for borrowing from a collection I've purchased over the past few years. But reading material can also be pooled for sharing from every family member, or gathered from a trip to the public library. I think we'll eventually add a clothesline to clip story inspired drawings and illustrated book reports. Maybe we'll have a reading poster contest, too. Lots of fun things go on at the library, you know!

The three major craft stores, along with Dollar Tree, supplied everything needed for this grandma-made effort. Boxes I love to hoard were covered in bright, fade-less bulletin board paper. JoAnn's has old-fashioned book pockets, although I needed to go to Amazon for circulation cards. Dollar Tree sells pockets too, but the quality isn't as sturdy. Their plastic tubs, though, are perfect for displaying early readers and other skinny volumes. Our book drop - a square laundry basket - and the rocking chair where the wise "old-ish" owl (grandma!) will perch at story time were household things we had in stock!

*The original, much loved poem, The Reading Mother, by Strickland Gillian (1869-1954) includes the oft quoted,

"Richer than I you can never be -
I had a Mother who read to me" 


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