Laurie from Fort Wayne, Indiana

Life and the Library- When our oldest child (now 23) was a baby, I began taking him to ourlocal library and choosing read-aloud picture books that I thought we would both enjoy.  When we got home from the library, we would immediately sit together on the couch and read, sometimes until we had read every book we had just brought home!  He had an amazing attention span! 

To my delight, one of my son's first phrases was "Let's read a book!", so early on, I made it a goal to read every book in the children's section to him.  While we never quite achieved that lofty goal, the goal we did achieve was raising a child who loved to read.  In fact, we have raised four children who love reading.  While many parents have to bribe their kids to read, we have had to limit our children's reading, insisting that they may not bring a book to the dinner table!

When my oldest was five, we began the adventure of homeschooling.  The library resources fit well into our homeschool curriculum, and we utilized the library's services on a regular basis. Whatever topic we were studying, the library had both fiction and nonfiction books to support our research and to help us experience our topic in wonderful new ways.  If we were studying medieval times, we would look for books on knights and castles.  We would look for recipes that would replicate some of the foods from medieval times.  We would create appropriate costumes and build miniature castles out of Legos, all with ideas from books or videos we got at the library. 

In recent years, the library has gone out of its way to offer programs especially for homeschooling families.  I am currently taking my youngest child (age 9) to a monthly "Book Bunch" at the library where we are doing a "Road Trip" across the U.S., studying the various parts of the U.S.(state capitals, topography, state nicknames, etc.).  Stories and crafts make this learning experience a day to look forward to!

When my oldest was a young teenager, he began to volunteer at the library on a weekly basis.  That eventually led to a "real" job as a shelver when he was sixteen, at which point his sister took over the volunteer position.  When she was 18, and her older brother had graduated from college and moved to another state, she took the shelver position and her younger brother took over as volunteer.  Between working, volunteering and school projects, I can't even estimate how many hours our family has spent at the library over the years! 

Amazing but true, it's not uncommon for the six of us to have a cumulative total of 100 items or more checked out at one time: fiction and nonfiction books, books-on-tape/CD, videos & DVD's, software, Leap Pad items, music CD's, magazines, and tubs to hold everything!  Even when we have to pay an occasional fine, we feel that it's nothing compared to the knowledge and entertainment we've received. 

Looking back, I cannot imagine life without the library.  The library in our city is so awesome,  I fail to understand why anyone would not want to take full advantage of it.  It is truly one of the gems of our community!