I had a voracious appetite for books as a child and my mother would bring us to our local library, which was just around the corner from my primary school, several times a week. (I also had a voracious appetite for junk food, and the reading incentive campaign sponsored by the local McDonalds – !!! – kept me focused on finishing the entire Enid Blyton catalogue over the course of a single summer.)
My favourite thing about the library was the fact that I got to choose my own books, and I regularly came home with books my mother deemed ‘trash’: early Judy Blumes, Point Horrors, The Babysitter Club, The Bobsy Twins. It was the library. I had my own reader’s card. It was my choice.
I love to watch my boys interact with books the library (once they have stopped trying to move the attractive furniture of course). My four-year-old regularly goes shelf-hunting and comes back with something entirely inappropriate (a fantasy novel about vampires for 10 year-olds for example), and my two year-old inevitably toddles up with a book we have at home, but some of our favourite books have been chosen by them on our weekly visits to the library.
(The New Kid by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick)
We currently have 2 copies of Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick’s The New Kid on loan, which I would never have picked up for them myself, while we recently bought our own copies of Rebecca Cobb’s Paper Dolls and Aunt Amelia because we had renewed our library copies so many times it was embarrassing. Of course, the boys often present a book-bundle full of what I would call ‘trash’ – namely Star Wars comics – which I pretend to check out but sneakily slip back onto the bookshelves. Still, if they want to read cereal packets, I should proably just let them, it was how my own love for reading was confirmed.