While I was drafting this blog post I learnt that two of our favorite authors has died.
I am a big fan of Stephen Covey. While most people associate him with his first hit book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," it is his book "First things First" that affects me most. It provided me with a high level framework for managing my life.
The other author is Donald J. Sobol of Encyclopedia Brown fame. When I told my children that the author of Encyclopedia Brown died, my 7-year-old said, "Oh no, Donald Sobol died!" I frankly did not expect her to know the author by name, which brings me back to Cary Library.
It is no secret that I am a huge fan of public libraries. I am on the board of the Friends of the South End Library in Boston. The Cary Memorial Library, of course, is a much larger library, and the children room is wonderful. Once my children understand that the fiction section is arranged alphabetically by author names, they know where to find their favorite book series -- Encyclopedia Brown. And that is why she knows him by name.
One day last week, my daughter ran up to me and showed me a book from the Boxcar Children series. Secretly, I am happy that she is branching out. I asked her how she found the book. She told me, as she was browsing around the bookshelves, she saw the word "mystery" on the side (spine). So she picked out the book, read it and liked it.
This is an example of the importance of libraries. The actual library browsing experience is very different from browsing and searching online for books and ebooks. While Amazon has its recommendation engine, there is something different about running your hand down a alphabetized row of books. I have discovered many wonderful books that way.
The second story is about magazines.
After our move, I brought my 8-year-old to the children's room for the first time. He was all excited once found the magazine section. I told him that he can check out magazines from the library, but not the current issues.
Now fastforward two weeks. After we came home from the library, he had a big grin on his face. When I asked him, he pulled out a magazine. I instantly knew why -- he waited and waited and finally he got to check out that current issue that caught his attention two weeks ago. You can guess what held his attention for the next few days.
This is why, while Google and Wikipedia are part of today's young children's vernacular, it is still important to spend time visiting libraries. There are lots to gain from the process of discovery and anticipation.