Sharing a Time Capsule with My Toddler: The Public Library in a Small Town.

My daughter will be three in two weeks. Wow. Three years of her little life have already flown by. They say time flies when you’re having fun. (AND IT HAS COMPLETELY BEEN A BLAST!) She has been in a preschool environment since she was 18 months old. She LOVES it. Starting last summer, we decided to REALLY become hands on in teaching her at home as well. We had already been learning songs together and reading books and practicing our ABC’s, but I purchased a large preschool workbook and we began to work on it together as a family. Some times we do arts and crafts, others we do work sheets, and then on other occasions we dedicate time to do a bible study (all age-appropriate, of course.) I bought her this cute refurbished wooden desk. The person had even painted the top with chalk board paint. She thinks it is the coolest thing ever to sit at her desk and do “homework.” I am going to remind her of this homework enthusiasm in about 10 years. Ha!

This is the desk. How cute is that for a toddler?!

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Not only does she love to learn and do “homework”, our daughter loves to read. She definitely got her book worm gene from her Mama. I still love to read, when I have time! When she picks a book to read at home I read it to her, she “reads” it to me, and then Daddy has to read it to us. Every book she picks is read a minimum of three times during each sitting. We have so many books. Most of them are actually mine and my brother’s books from our childhood. Yeah, my mother was “that mom.” I am not complaining now, though! She brought two storage tubs of books to my house last year after Khloe’s second birthday. I ended up donating some of them, but a lot of them we kept!

Over the last year, I have been trying to be creative in the way we explore and teach her. We’ve taken a trip to the zoo, built birdhouses, had LOTS of free paint time that included our hands and feet (and clothes), trips to the park to look at the fish under the bridge, visiting the local pet store just to see random animals like ferrets, goldfish, turtles, birds. We even do a “Build and Grow” event once a month at our local Lowes Home Improvement Store. It’s free and the children get to build something with their parents and earn a patch in the process for their little workshop apron. (There are even safety goggles.) It’s totally adorable. The list could go on. I try not to be boring, for her sake and ours! Lately I’ve thought a lot about taking her to our local public library. It has just been an “I really would like to do that” thought but not a very pressing matter. A few days ago, I found myself with the opportunity to be off work for half a day, so I made the spur of the moment decision that we were going to take our first trip to the library! When I told her we were going to the library and we would be able bring some books home, she jumped up and down saying, “Books! Books! Books!”

My heart just smiled again thinking of how happy she was in that moment.

When we got to the library she was in such awe, and so was I. I had not been to the library in a while, probably since graduating high school. It looked exactly the same as it had since I was a young child, and I mean exactly the same.

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I believe the ONLY thing different is the new signs hanging from the ceiling. I’m not sure that I was really expecting a state-of-the-art modern renovation or anything, but when I walked in, I felt just the same as I had when I came as a kid. Oh wait, there were DVDs now, but there were also the forever existing VHS tapes. My daughter did not even know what they were. At 23, I am not old and I do not try to pretend to have a sudden amount of life long wisdom and knowledge just because I have a very settled adult life; however, in that moment when she said, “Hey Mama, what this?” as she picked up a VHS case, I felt for the first time.. older. I was acutely aware of just how long it had been since I was sent down the street to the public library to work on a research paper for a class my senior year of high school. As I definitely chose not to dwell on that, I urged Khloe to venture around. I was excited at the thought of sharing this experience and love for reading with her! Because it was a new place, she couldn’t pay attention to one thing for very long. She just wanted to go from place to place and one thing to the next. She’s such a learner and wants to take it all in right then and see it all. I love that. I hope she never loses her curiosity for new things in life.

We eventually made our way to the children’s book room. This room was like book heaven. She just ran from one table and stand of books to the next. I eventually had to do a little damage control, as she was so excited that she wanted to pick up a book at every step. We had to look at the computer. Sit at every table and on the couch. There would be no sitting together and reading together that day. Everything was way too exciting for that! She literally never paused for even one minute. We finally decided on three books. It was so cute watching her peep over the counter as she placed her books up there for the librarian to check them out for her. After we were home and settled on the couch reading our brand new clear plastic crackling library books, I quickly realized I had made a serious mistake. We should have picked more than three books. I read her those three books at least six times each. She asked to call Granny and Granddaddy to tell them about her trip to the library. During this phone call, it was deemed necessary to bring them to Granny’s house after preschool tomorrow and read them. She has still looked at all three of them, and we have read them again for a few nights. I think it is time to take them back and get different ones. Maybe even get 6 books this next time.

I cannot wait to spend this time with her and take these trips maybe every other week. The joy on her face is irresistible and irreplaceable. I want to take her when we can sit and read, or use the LeapFrog audible reader. I want to let her explore the books available in the children’s room without rush. Some of the books from when I was a child are still there. I love it! When I opened some books she had brought to me (and this may seem weird), but the smell of the older pages was still the same as it was when I first started going to the library for reading challenges during the summers as a kid. I hope to share this memory with her over the years and let her know that, yes, technology is moving far forward, BUT there will always be something about holding a book in your hand and getting to reach for the next page.

This is the children’s room. I guess on larger funding scales it is not spectacular. But i just adore it and so does Khloe. (We do live in a small town. One of those small Southern towns where this month has actually seen the end of production at the paper mill that had provided 1100 jobs since the 1970s. One of those towns.)

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Here we are checking out with our first three books. They told her when she turns 5, that she gets her very own library card. Her mouth fell open. Haha!

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