Teaching your children to love reading is one of the greatest life skills you can give them. And one way to build their love of reading is to introduce them to all the wonders that the library holds.
Gone are the days of the physical card catalog – they are gorgeous, so gorgeous in fact, that I have one in my own home. We use it for art supply storage now – but at some point in time I know it served its noble job well.
The card catalog isn’t the only thing that has changed with our nation’s libraries over the years. In honor of National Library Week (April 13 -19) I met with my local librarian, Kiki Harduvel, Head of Youth Services at the Palm Harbor Library in Palm Harbor, Florida, to hear her take on the changing role of libraries and librarians.
The theme for this year’s National Library Week is “Lives Change @ Your Library,” and that statement has never been more true. “Libraries are community centers offering interactive experiences,” says Harduvel. She fancies herself as an event coordinator, as well as a librarian, always planning new events and activities to interest children. Her goal is to get children in the door and after that give them a reason to stay. You won’t hear her telling young library patrons to be quiet because she wants them to have a memorable and enjoyable experience and after all, it’s hard to learn how to use the library if you aren’t allowed to speak! Whether its a traditional story time, a Yoga Kids class or a Dr. Seuss Celebration, there are plenty of activities to pique your child’s interest. Harduvel feels that librarians are “public servants, serving books and knowledge to the community.”
Before becoming a librarian, Harduvel was a teacher who worked with students that were struggling with reading. Her advice for parents that have children that don’t enjoy reading yet, “find something that peaks their interest, this will help build up their reading stamina and get them over that initial hump of their resistance to reading. Don’t focus so much on what they are reading – that can come in good time. Do you want them to love reading? Then let them read what they want.”
Tips for Teaching Your Children How to Use the Library
Visit your local library for a schedule of upcoming events. Libraries aren’t just for books! Participating in library events will help your children become more familiar and comfortable there.
Play library at home with your children. Organize their book collection by subject or author to help them understand how the Dewey Decimal System.
Introduce them to the librarians in the Children’s department so they don’t feel too shy to ask for help themselves.
Let your child get their own library card, they feel so proud putting their own card on the counter to check out books that they selected.
Create a special reading nook and a reading time at home to share the books they picked out together.
If your child finds a particular genre interesting, foster that by researching other books in that genre. If they are old enough, have them come up with their own story that fits the theme.
Explore the non-fiction section. Harduvel noted that many kids who think they don’t like reading, actually enjoy non-fiction books.
Let your child see you search for and checkout your own books – modeling this behavior for them is a great way to reinforce the message.
For Book Suggestions – See some of our Book Lists: