by Jennifer Shakeel
My most favorite place in the entire world is the library. When I was a kid I lived in the library, not really but if I could’ve believe that I would’ve. I was so excited when we moved into a neighborhood that had a library a few blocks from our house. I would spend hours there. I can thank my grandmother for that. She made it important for us to go to the library so she would take us every week. The library is one of the most magical places in the world, each book an entryway into a new world. More importantly though for children heading off to school, it is a valuable resource for research and learning new things.
Do not kid yourself into thinking that just because your child is in kindergarten or first grade they couldn’t possibly need to do research. Research projects really start in the first grade. It may be as simple as talking about important facts of their favorite animal or favorite super hero. Each child needs to know how to walk into a library and get the information that they need.
I apparently failed at that as a mother to our oldest child. Though we have spent countless hours in the library, checking out hundreds of books, creating our own magical world in the aisles… I didn’t teach her how to use the Dewey decimal system or how to properly search for a book. When she was younger we would stroll the aisles, or I would look for the books that she liked or even ask the librarian. It didn’t dawn on me to teach her how to do a search on her own, until recently.
We were at the library and she was trying to find books on photography. Instructional books on how you would go about capturing the perfect image when it came to photographing nature. What she ended up with were books filled with pictures of nature. I asked her what she searched for and I explained to her that she had to be more specific when she typed in the search. Which we did together and I gave her the call numbers for the books. That is when she asked me for help. I told her where in the library to go to find the book and she said, “But I don’t really understand the Dewey decimal system.” She is almost 15.
This brings to light another point; you can’t count on your child’s school to teach them everything. It doesn’t matter how old your child is right now. You can still teach them how to use the library. They need to know the different sections of library, such as reference books, non-fiction, and fiction and so on. If you are not comfortable going through the library with your child talk to one of the librarians and ask them if they could give you and your child a tour.
Next you can either teach your child how to do a search or check your local library to see what classes they offer. Most offer classes either for free or they charge a very small fee. They cover everything from using the reference section to using the internet and everything in-between. I know, you are sitting there thinking that we now have the internet so who needs the library. Frankly we all need the library.
The internet is great, but not all of the information you find on the web is accurate. Plus the further your child advances in their studies they are going to need more academic sources when they are doing their research. Instead of having to go buy the book from the local bookstore they can check it out at the library. Plus, when they need to get away and can’t leave… they need to be able to find that book.
That one book that when the open the cover, the smell of the pages awakens something in them. That book whose words draw them in and transport them to destination unknown.
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