Growing up, I was always that kid
—the one who, instead of sneaking out of her house to hang out with friends, would sneak a book and a flashlight under the covers
and read all night long. I would devour books
, finding in them the companionship my angsty teenage self so desired. So, it’s no wonder that, if someone asked me my favorite place to be on any given afternoon, my answer would undoubtedly be the library. It’s probably why my son’s first trip to the library was so special to me. It was like introducing him to a lifelong best friend
, with hopes that it too would become his best friend. Seeing him get excited now on library days warms my heart in a way few things do.
Play and Fun
The first area my toddler son usually runs to is the play area. Our local library, like many of the Houston area libraries do, has much to offer this age group: puzzles, building blocks, toy cars, puppets, and all things pretend play. The toys at the library encourage him to freely engage and use his imagination. Just the mere novelty of toys we don’t have at home intrigues him. I also love seeing him learn to share and interact with other children his age. I know he will soon grow out of this type of play, much sooner than I’d like. But when we’ve been there a little later, around the time school-age children get out of class, I imagine him hanging out with his friends here like I see these other children do. When I do, I also pray he never grows out of having fun at the library, whatever play looks like in the future. This momma certainly has not.
Representation and Inclusion
Every time we visit the library, English is never the only language we hear being spoken. I can’t tell you how much I love that. My Spanish dominant baby boy does too. The different areas set up by languages around the library are also wonderful to see—books in Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Arabic, and so many others. Personally, we usually hang out around the Spanish section, which has a surprising amount of authentic, often hard-to-find, Latin American stories, not just books translated from its original English. These are the stories I pray my son finds himself in, finds his people in. I am forever grateful to the libraries that have loved him well and will continue to love him well in this.
Every time I learn about a new program or workshop the library has to offer, I am surprised by just how much libraries do. To-go craft kits, preschool storytime, movie showings with light refreshments, poetry workshops—you name it, the library probably does it. If you don’t already follow your local library on social media platforms, do yourself a favor and get on that. The library’s many programs have saved this stay-at-home mom’s sanity
too many times to count.
As Jorge Luis Borges said once, “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” I certainly don’t disagree, and neither does my son.
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