Libraries for Life: A Story of How They Serve People at Every Age (Part 1)
From birth to death, libraries strive to improve the well-being of individuals and communities. Instead of demonstrating how and why through an impossibly long list, here’s a story I hope you enjoy…
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Even before she was born…
Christine was a library baby. Her parents, struggling to break the cycle of their own difficult childhoods, checked-out all of the pregnancy and parenting books from the library. Before Christine was born, their Friday evening ritual was to order a pizza, pore over the books, and discuss what they’d learned.
As soon as tiny Christine was able to focus, her parents took her to baby storytime at the library to begin developing her early literacy skills. Christine was transfixed by the finger plays, songs, and stories performed by the charming children’s librarian. Much too soon (as all parents know), Christine was a toddler, attending toddler and then preschool storytime, where she loved to sing and dance as much as she adored the stories. It was from the repetition of library storytimes and at-home reading with her parents, that Christine began to grasp letters, numbers, shapes, colors, emotions, and more. She was an adorable and outgoing toddler.
Because they couldn’t afford to live in the best school district…
Christine’s parents especially appreciated the STEM programming at the library. There were robotics workshops, coding classes, and science talks (one of the speakers even brought in a full-scale model of a T-Rex skull!). These events expanded Christine’s ideas about the world and taught her about hands-on exploration.
Despite being curious about many things, it was around this time that Christine’s reading began to slip. Though not noticeable right away, over time her parents saw that she was not plunging into the easy chapter books her teachers recommended. Actually, she was initially be excited about them, but it didn’t take long before they were found laying around the house unread.
Christine’s parents desperately wanted their daughter to be a reader because they knew how important it was. They made sure to model reading for her, put audiobooks on in the car to get her hooked on good stories, and encouraged her to love books. Yet, for some reason, it wasn’t happening.
Finally, it was Christine’s school librarian who suggested that she get tested for learning disabilities.
By high school…
Christine had mastered the strategies to overcome her reading difficulties. But her real passion was dance! In fact, her parents often found Christine unwittingly prancing around her room with her head buried in a book — combining the two things she loved into one.
It should be no surprise then that after high school, Christine was awarded a dance scholarship. That scholarship offer was tied, in no small part, to her good grades, talent for dance, and extracurricular activities including volunteering at the library as the leader of the Teen Advisory Board. Obviously, it was bittersweet for the librarians who had watched Christine grow from an enthusiastic storytime participant to mature young lady, to see her go. Tearful hugs were involved.
Thank you for reading part 1 of Christine’s story. Click here to continue on to Christine’s life after high school in part 2.