It is National Library Week and I don’t know what I would do without the library. As a child, I spent lots of time making my way through the books in my various local libraries and now it is a happy place for me as an adult. When I think about how much money I would spend every year if I didn’t have access to a public library, it is mind boggling. I’ve written about libraries and librarians before, but that doesn’t stop me from looking for new titles. So in honor of all of the wonderful libraries and librarians out there, I give you a few more books on the subject.
“The rain is pouring, Dad is snoring, and the same old stuff is on TV – boring.” So starts The Library Book, a very sweet book based on Tom Chapin and Michael Mark’s classic song, The Library Song. Chuck Groenink took the ode to the power of the library and brought it to life with a little girl who fills her rainy day with a trip to the library and the sheer joy that she finds in the books and their stories. A wonderful read aloud.
For some, the library might be intimidating. After all, there are so many shelves full of so many different books. How do you find one that you like? In A Library Book for Bear, by Bonnie Becker, Mouse wants to take his friend Bear to the library, but Bear thinks the 7 books he has at home are just fine. But he had promised Mouse. He maintains that he doesn’t want or need any other book. But when he overhears a librarian reading a book about a bear during story time, his opinion just might be changed. It wasn’t so much that Bear was against reading other books, it was just that he felt overwhelmed by the size and scope of the library. A great concept to encourage young readers.
Not everyone knows the true joy found in books. That’s why No Pirates Allowed! Said Library Lou, by Rhonda Gowler Greene, is so fun. In this silly tale Pirate Pete barges into the library to find treasure. The librarian says that she will help him if he goes home, bathes, and comes back the next day. What Pete doesn’t realize is that Library Lou is going to teach him to read so that he can come to the ultimate discovery himself – the library books ARE the treasure!
Libraries have lots of rules when it comes to how to treat the books and how to behave. Karen Casale gives kids a fun look at all of these rules in Never Let a Ghost Borrow Your Library Book. This book features a list of the VOG (Very Official Guidelines) issued by the LSS (Library Secret Service). Most of the rules are those that we already know, but told in an exceptionally silly manner. Rule #15, however, is of course my favorite – READ THE BOOK! Checking books out of the library is an awesome thing to do, but we should all follow these guidelines so that other can enjoy the books as well.
Another great book about library rules is The Library Pages, by Carlene Morton. In this book, the school librarian, Mrs. Heath, is out on maternity leave when she gets a DVD from one of her classes. They tell her how much they love her and miss her, but that they are all now Library Pages who are making sure that everything is kept in order while she is away. As the video progresses, the kids are doing the exact opposite of every rule, and Mrs. Heath is getting more and more worked up. One kid organized books by how thick they are while another organized them by color. They have put plastic wrap on them so kids can eat while reading and fixed books using colored tape. Just as Mrs. Heath is about to call the school to freak out, they all scream “APRIL FOOL!” A fun way for kids to look at library rules.
Given that April is also National Poetry Month, Please Bury Me in the Library is especially appropriate. This book is page after page of poems about books and reading along with wonderful illustrations. My favorite is “Necessary Gardens,” but I also can relate to the request in “Please Bury me in the Library.” Just the right length and silly enough to engage young readers.