A love letter to my local library
PUBLISHED: 15:33 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 15:45 05 July 2018
From borrowing books to sympathetic looks - Wymondham parenting blogger Sally White on the joys of the local library
Now you might think that, because I’m an English teacher, daughter of publishers, writer and book obsessive, I might have an agenda with this article. And I do. I want you to go to your local library, pick up a book, sniff it, read it and then take home armfuls of books to your children. Books are powerful magical things and libraries are their portal.
Libraries are excellent for parents of children of all ages. Here are some reasons why and I hope it persuades you to visit your local one.
They are free
Literally. You don’t have to pay for a card or a book. You just need proof of ID and you’re a member of the club. You can sign your child up for a library card with your ID.
Librarians are more ‘Miss Honey’ than ‘Miss Trunchball’
I remember the librarians of my childhood as being fierce and frightening: I remember being followed about and shushed at. These days, librarians laugh when your darling child screams for a copy of ‘Little Rabbit Poo Poo’. Librarians will turn a blind eye if you return a book with flaps torn off or pages missing because, y’know, toddlers. And, the very, very good news for the disorganised amongst us (me!), there are no late fines for books taken out on a card belonging to an under five. By the way, this is literally the only reason I would have a third child, just to buy myself another half decade of fine-free loans.
Whether you are a parent of teenagers or threenagers, audiobooks are a win. If you’ve got the long slog to Devon and back then David Walliams reading Billionaire Boy will occupy your primary schooler. If you’re a parent of a year niner, then why not ask their English teacher what books they will be studying for GCSE and download them - for free!- using your library card and you can listen to set texts on the long drive to the South of France.
Reading, like anything, is a habit. If your children see you read, they are more likely to read. And reading is not only a joy, but a huge factor in achievement. According to government research, reading for pleasure has more of an effect on achievement than a family’s socio-economic status. If, as a parent, you are out of the habit, go to your local library, find a librarian, tell them which films and books you enjoy and they will be able to make some recommendations.
Groups and play sessions
Most libraries host play sessions. If you pop to your local library and ask you will probably find there is a group you can attend. It’s basically a rite of passage to sit amongst other flustered parents mouthing the words to Wind the Bobbin Up.
Information and support
Increasingly, libraries offer other services to help their community. Libraries provide drop-ins for legal advice, careers advice, computing lessons or help with any number of other issues. In the early days of parenthood, one lovely librarian found me sniffling in the parenting section and loaded me up with tissues and recommended some books and websites that might help me. I swear, librarians and supermarket check-out workers have been the kindest sources of support to me in motherhood!
This column is dedicated to the lovely staff of Wymondham library who are so helpful and patient and let my child run riot while they help me choose my summer reading list.
Come over to my blog, wifeofawigwearer.com to see what I’ve been reading and for more parenting truths and spoofs.