I've taken on a new job. My husband saw it coming when I walked out the door to attend a meeting at our local library. When I returned the first thing he said was, "What did you agree to do?"
We live in a small town of 5,000 people where the very edge of suburbia melds into real farm land. Our community library is a shared endeavor at our local high school. It is a tiny little thing. Which is probably why it took us almost a year to actually visit it given the convenience of the exponentially larger libraries closer to the city which allow books to be placed on hold from the comfort of your own home and then picked up while the boys are strapped into the comfort of their own stroller.
Oh, and our local library has a 3 book limit. I almost passed out when they told me that. The librarian (sensing my disbelief) asked if that was a problem and I told her that we usually have at least 50 library books out at a time. Then she almost passed out.
After gathering a little more info, it became clear why there is a limit. There simply aren't very many books. And remember those little slips in the back where they physically write the due date (before those date-changing stamp things) that were around when I was in grade school?
That's the check-out system. It's kind of charming, except that it would take about 2 hours to check out 50 books. It still might be worth the trip to check out 12 books (if I got everyone, including the baby, a library account ) if there were great books. When I saw the entire Babysitters Club series and Spongebob early readers, my heart sank. Yikes. Maybe it would be a challenge for us each to pick out 3 books.
So I went to the open meeting of the Friends of the library a few weeks ago to see what, if anything, I could do to help our local library situation. I left the meeting treasurer of the organization and had the check book delivered to my door a few days later and was promised that I would be able to purchase some quality children's literature. Before you get carried away and remind me that I have very little free time to devote to something like this, let me give you a number. $800. This is the cash on hand to buy books and more shelving (which is desperately needed). I could spend a good chunk of that on children's books in my sleep (and probably have thanks to one-click). Every book the library purchases gets an entire article in our local newspaper.
So my question to you all is this: If you had to buy one book for the children's section of your local library, what would it be? It would need to be engaging and beautiful and thought-provoking, to inpsire all the senses and make the child (and adult) want to come back for more....