Read? At the library?!?

The changing role of libraries was never more apparent than when I heard my five-year old son say the words, “Read? At the library?!?”

Due to “March is Reading Month,” my son has to read for 15 minutes every night. He records his time in a log that is turned in to his teacher.

One day, while we were waiting for my daughter to get out of dance class, we completed most of our minutes.

After dance, we always head to the library. So naturally, I connected libraries and reading in my head when I said, “Don’t worry. We can finish it up at the library.”

My five-year old scoffed at me, “Read? At the library?!?” and gave me a look like I had completely lost my marbles.  I laughed.

A few days later, I reflected on my son’s experiences with the library as a place. I hardly ever browse for books at the library. I order them online and the books are waiting for me when I arrive. It’s not a big part of our library experience. My son knows what books he likes and he knows where those shelves are located. Efficiency in choosing books is definitely something he inherited from me.

Without having the onerous task of searching for books, my kids and I are free to enjoy story-time, puppets, and puzzles. But do we read while we’re there? Not so much. The librarian does, but we don’t. There’s just too much else to do.

My kids love the library. I am a librarian. It’s just so weird to me that my kids don’t associate the library with reading. Do they associate it with books? Yes. But reading? Not so much.

What do your kids think of the library? What is the library’s current role in your life?

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