I can honestly say I love books. It isn’t just because I like to read them, I do, but I love the look of them on the shelf, the smell of old books, and the fact that a book can change a person. Just being around books can change you. It’s true. You have only to think back to your school days to see what I mean. We read to learn and that always leads to change.
Children are born with this curiosity. I was blessed to have a parent in my life who nurtured this curiosity. As I grew I saw books as one of life’s real treasures. Ideas are in books. Every idea imaginable can be found in a book. Giving a book to a child is like handing them permission to dream. As a child I often thought to myself that if I could just learn what was in every book, then I would know all there is to know. As an adult I know this isn’t true, nor is it a realistic goal, but the excitement is still there.
One of my roles as a Youth Services librarian is to help parents nurture this curiosity. With that in mind we have 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten for our youngest patrons, birth until kindergarten, our Story Times for toddlers, our outreach programs for Head Start, some exciting programs scheduled for middle schoolers, movies that tie into popular books, and even a teen Pinterest/Book Club to get the oldest children involved.
Our 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is new to the county and has really generated some new activity in the Children’s Library. We have many children register for their own library cards with parents help. Even babies have their own card now and many are on their way to visiting our treasure box for a fantastic reward. Statistics show that these young people, just because they have been exposed to books at an early age, will do better in school. It’s true — babies learn what we allow them to learn. Put a book in front of them. The skills they learn, like turning a page, looking at pictures, following a finger’s path across the page, are skills we take for granted now, but they are still important. And the most important part, to the child? They get a reward for this. We are giving nice treasures to our young patrons for improving themselves.
The process of registering for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is simple. As a parent or guardian, bring in your library card or photo ID and fill out a simple form. We’ll give your child a log and help you choose their first books and they’re on their way. Come and ask us some questions.
I also want to mention another fantastic program being offered free to our young patrons, Story Time. On Tuesday mornings at our Lumberton library we offer a fun and free way to introduce books to our young people. We read family friendly books, often with great lessons, we sing songs, dance, laugh and end with a craft. It’s exciting and children really enjoy the attention. Please come and join us. Children learn how wonderful books can be and parents learn how easy it is to share a book. It’s a wonderful resource for new parents as well as parents who just want an outing for their children.
If our Lumberton library isn’t convenient for you, we offer Story Time every Monday morning at our Pembroke library, Wednesday mornings at our Maxton library and a special time on Friday mornings at our Lumberton branch for local daycares. If you’re involved in a daycare and want something entertaining for your children please call us and tell us you’re interested in our Friday morning time slot so we can prepare lots of materials and stories for you. Come to the library and get your child involved.
Lisa Bowden is the Youth Services Librarian at the Robeson County Public Library.