I can probably count on one hand the number of times I visited my local library before having kids. (Quick background: I have lived within the same few-block radius for well over a decade, and the library is an easy, five-minute walk away.) This obviously is no reflection of my love for books and reading; rather, Jeff Bezos is a really, really smart guy and completely capitalized on my deep affinity for online shopping and having packages delivered to my house. (Even though I know they’re coming, because—duh!—I ordered them, it still feels like a surprise when the UPS guy knocks on the door with box in hand. “Oh, wow! Is that a package for moi?”) In short, I bought my books on Amazon.
But back to the library. When my son, Owen, was born just over four years ago, I didn’t have a clue as to what to do with him beyond taking him for walks in the stroller and breastfeeding while watching every Food Network show televised. (Perhaps that explains his odd obsession with kitchen tongs.) Luckily, my neighborhood has an incredible community of parents who stay connected via listserv. Through this group, I found out about activities like play groups, baby yoga, and Story Time at the library.
We started attending the weekly children’s book readings and sing-alongs when Owen was about three months old. I was ambivalent at first, since he pretty much slept or ate the entire time. But I’d read all the literature about how wonderful reading was for babies, even in the early months, so I stuck around. (Not to mention, a little space from Emeril and Giada was probably a healthy thing.) Over time, I could see Owen’s interest pique, and he eventually became an avid participant in the sessions. Even better, trips to the library became regular outings for us. Whether we attended Story Time, read books, or hung out with friends, I was—and still am—thrilled that he found the library a fun place to spend time.
Owen is now in preschool full-time, but my one-year-old daughter, Sasha, is getting the grand introduction to all our local biblio haven has to offer. As for me, I have to admit Amazon still wins for its enormous selection, online convenience, and because I like to receive
presents packages in the mail. But I do regularly check out library books—mostly for the kids and, every now and then, for myself. I even have a late fee to prove it.
Find more info on your local library:
DC Public Library
Montgomery Country Public Libraries
PG County Libraries
Arlington Public Library
Alexandria Public Library
Fairfax County Library