February is National Library Month. Many of my early memories are of trips to our public library with my dad and two siblings on Saturday mornings. I'm sure the tradition was started to get us out of the house and give my mother some peace, but it was a highlight of the week for me. Some of that might have been due to my also getting a whopping five cent allowance Saturday mornings. So after going to the library we would walk down an alleyway to Kresge dime store (I doubt they are still around) to spent my five cents on candy. That meagar amount would buy equal to what a dollar does today. This was in the late 60s after all.
My first big accomplishment came when I could write my first name by myself allowing me to get my very own library card, a square of cardboard with a small metal plate in it. Years later a librarian gave me the form I'd signed to get that card, but it was lost in our many moves with the USAF.
The limit was five books checked out at a time. I probably drove my dad crazy looking at every book on the picture book shelf and then most of the time checking out the same Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr or Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka books as I had every previous week. Yep. Those were real books, and they are actually available again. I imagine my dad could recite them by time I outgrew them.
Later I moved up to books like Hank the Cow Dog and The Box Car Children, a series that thankfully had a lot of books.
And after the trip to the library and dime store, it was time to go home and read the books. Over and over and over. But my dad never grew impatient with it.
When I became a mother, my children also went to the library often. We didn't have a set routine like my childhood Saturday morning routine, due to sports and other activities, but they all had a library card and found their own favorite books. Those included The Magic Treehouse books, the A-Z Mysteries, and the Cam Jensen books, later replaced by Harry Potter and The Hunger Games.
And before Covid, my daughter would take her daughters to the library for story time, something that wasn't around during my Saturday morning trips.
In an age of technology and e readers, library visits may have diminished, but I doubt libraries will ever be closing their doors. There is something about holding a book in your hands, especially when reading to a child, that an e book doesn't provide.
Do any of you have memories of library visits or early favorites? What was your favorite childhook book?