Monday, June 8, 2009

The Library: My friend and foe

I love the concept of the library. You know, millions of books all free for the reading. Adventure and knowledge just waiting to be unlocked!

I love books. I don't get to read my books as much as I'd like, but I do daily get to read The Book (the Bible) and children's books, and I am thankful for that.

It brings me great joy to see my children loving books. My daughter, in particular, loves books and can recite many of her favorites, w
ord for word!

But the thing is, in actuality, the library and my children don't really mix well.

I have yet to have what I would consider a really good library experience with my children. Maybe the library + one of my children would be fine, lovely, enjoyable even? But I am usually in the situation of the library + 3 of my children and that = chaos!

Imagine toddler wildly pulling books off the shelf, standing and bouncing on the various stools, attempting to scale the fish tank! Older kids running and yelling in a place where that sort of behavior is very frowned upon. Not to mention I am usually trying to find a particular book I've wanted to share with the kids and that distracts me from their behavior long enough for things to go very bad very fast!

This past week's library visit our downfall was the discovery of the movies you can check out from the library for free. I mistakenly pointed the kids to the roundabout rack with kid movies and said, "Let's find one that would be good to check out!" Suddenly, the rack was spinning around so fast, kids were grabbing movies, and movies were flying. I'd pick a few up and return them to their proper place only to have more movies fly off! It was quite the scene before I was able to get things (kids) under control and get us over to the check out desk.

But the check out desk has its own commotion. And do you know why? Because about a year ago I thought it would be such a neat idea for the kids to have their own library cards. I loved the image of them carrying their own book choices up to the counter and handing the librarian their card to check them out and, of course, thanking her after she scanned their card and books. But in reality it is not so idyllic and I just know those librarians breathe a sigh of relief when we finally leave!

The library should also really have stricter limits on how many books they allow us to check out because I apparently cannot enforce a reasonable limit. "Sure!" I say as my kids pick out more and more to check out. But when it comes time to return over 20 library books, it is not so fun trying to find them all within our house!

Give me a swim meet or running a marathon, but the library? It wears me out.

But still I solider on. In fact, we are going back tomorrow. Why? Because I am determined to have a good library experience with my children.

Find more Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers, What I Learned this Week at Musings of a Housewife, Tackle It Tuesday at 5 Minutes for Mom,Talk About Tuesday at The Lazy Organizer.


  1. We used to deal with that! I always felt like the horrible mom who was constantly saying "no" but then I realized that it was their ages and they did outgrow it! And they have a love of reading! They will learn!! And one day you will have a marvelous experience with them and you will be so overjoyed, I guarantee it!

  2. Your not alone, sister! I remember last year at the library with my then two-year-old--books were always flying off the shelves! And I couldn't ever put a limit on them so it was always a hunt to find the books to return. But, oh to see the joy on the girls' faces when during story hour and getting to climb up on the bench to hand the librarian their books! Worth all the trouble with little ones. But, I can totally relate!

  3. Great post and an honest one. But I'll tell you....the library is my friend and foe because I can't say no to books and movies! I come home with WWWAAAAAYYYYYYYY more than we can ever read or watch. I'm like a drunk turned lose in a bar! And they they are all over the place and I have guilt because I'm not reading-watching-listening to everything and someone else could be. AHHHHHH!! I feel your library pain but in a different way. :)

  4. Your post made me chuckle. I have always LOVED going to the Library, and I HAD hoped to enjoy going with my children... we just haven't reached that point in life yet, for many of the same reasons as you. Thanks for the giggle...

  5. Hmm I don't really take my children to the library very often. Perhaps we should start practicing so i can teach them proper library behavior.

  6. My daughter (7) loves going to the library. Oh, not for the books, although she always wants to take a stack home. No, she wants to go there for the toys. And if a library is going to put a bunch of toys in the kids section, then they're just asking for what comes with it. Silly library.

  7. What if you did the library one on one with the kids and explained practiced library rules and library manners. Then they would all know how to behave and what is expected of them and you won't have to be an octopus keeping all hands on all kids at the same time.

    Someone suggested once that the key to getting kids to behave in the store was to find a quiet aisle and have a training session with the child...when you don't have to hurry to get the milk and get home to make dinner. Explain to the toddler you aren't allowed to touch and then move along the aisle watching for the child to reach out for something and then train their little hands as you see fit. This would most certainly apply to a library setting.

    We found having one bag and one card for the whole family reduces chaos and we take turns checking stuff out and returning. An added benefit to one card that even my teenagers use is that we log on to one account and can quickly see who has what out so no worries about overdue books.

    Since I am on the library topic...we also have the rule that little kids can only read their books in the living room where the bag is kept to reduce chances of a missing book. Of course, the exception would be if a big person were reading with them and thus responsible for the book.

    Limiting the number of books to the child's age is a good way to keep a reasonable amount of check outs too. Ellie is 1, she gets one board book, Samuel is 3 he can get 3 picture books and so on.


I'd love to hear what you think!