"books aren't necessarily the (library's) draw."

Last Thursday's WSJ article really rang home with me. Being the parent of a 5 and 7 year-old, I can attest to the article's point, that "books aren't necessarily the (library's) draw." -- at least for many young users. Despite my own best efforts, neither of my girls like to borrow books from the library. But give them opportunity to own books and they'll bug me for days to spend the last of their piggy bank savings on titles from the twice-annual Scholastic book sale. :)

Next week is the second book sale of year at Katie's school and already she has two series (Cronicles or Narnia & Disney Fairy Series) and three other books on her "must buy" list. What seems most attractive to her is not only the idea of owning the book, but the fact that once she's done with it she can pass it on to friend or donate it to her school. I love that she sees books and reading as a gift that should be shared, so I'm no longer pushing the "borrowing" from the library idea. Instead, I'm taking clues from my children and realizing that library's future is not about books, -- Sorry OCLC Perceptions report, I know your survey indicated that library was about "books, books & more books". But how many actual library users did you survey under the age of 10? -- its about so much more ...

I blogged about this last year in a post title The Library Experience (without even one book) and I still find it amazing that almost every weekend my daughters ask pleed me to take them either to the Library @ ImaginOn or to our local branch at Unversity City. To them the library is a magical place for discovery ... creativity... and FUN!

Yes, it's the "experience" that's important and the ability to engage in creative activities that "bring stories to life." ... And personally, I can't think of better legacy and lasting impression for libraries to leave. Can you?

Read the full article here while you can: (I'm sure it's also available through Ebsco)
Of the Places You'll Go, Is the Library Still One of Them? WJS, 03.15.07

PS: Flickr set of the Library Experience @ ImaginOn

1 comment: said...

Yes! The Library is a place that you can both borrow from AND give to! This summer at South County Regional Library we offered an opportunity for kids and adults to GIVE(not just GET prizes for coming into the library for the summer reading program). We partnered with the local animal shelter and kids and adults willingly stopped by the library to give food and supplies to adoptable animals living in the shelter. One group of kids even had a lemonade sale at their house and gave the proceeds to the animal shelter bin we had in the children's library. One young girl had a birthday party in which kids coming brought donations for our animal supply drive instead of gifts. And this all happened at the library! Your girls sound like they are well on the way to the wonderful world of adult responsibility and showing a giving and caring nature--what YOUTH DEVELOPMENT is all about. And the Library is a part of that! Let's do it more!
T. Tallent